Let’s get this out of the way.
Medtronic has let me use one of their new insulin pumps (530G with Enlite), a CGM transmitter, and a Bayer glucometer as a trial. When it’s over I will let them know how I feel, fill out a survey, and be on my merry way. No payment is received (I guess you could count the supplies for said equipment as payment since I didn’t have to buy anything) and every opinion is my own. I am a pretty honest ninja but also not a complete jerk so I will let them know what I think without being too harsh.
As much as I would love to drag this out into a week-long batch of posts I am going to cut to the chase.
So first let me tell you about the pump.
It’s fine. Just fine. Is that good or bad? I dunno. It works. It does its thing. On its own it is pretty much the same pump as my Revel so yeah, it’s fine.
Of course I would love a serious make-over almost more than an upgrade. Software is just not pretty enough for me to get excited about. I wish it looked sleeker or stylishier (made up word alert). And the body of this pump is pretty much the same as the other two pumps I have had so I would say, the pump is fine and that is good!
Now let’s talk about this CGM. I have tried the sensors with my Revel and I did not like them so much. This new sensor is smaller, easier to insert, more accurate, and can stop delivery of insulin if it senses you are low and do not clear an alarm.
Let’s break down those features shall we?
That last sensor hurt every time I inserted it. The gauge of the needle was thick. I would describe it as an upholstery needle to people which was probably a bit of an exaggeration but it didn’t feel like it. Ouch it hurt! It hurts just thinking about it! This sensor has never hurt. Ever. Every insertion for me never hurt. Each time I waited for the pain and I never felt it. Crazy right? So that is a point for the CGM!
The other thing about that metal straw of a needle from before what how difficult the inserter was to use. Really the best way to describe it is “how easy it was to insert anywhere into anything!” It always looked like it was missing a cover or a safety shield or something. The needle was exposed and the feet that rested against your skin were at a 45° angle but it was easy to mess that angle up since the feet were small and I never had a protractor handy to help.
This new sensor was simple to insert after you figured it out. Like multiplying by 11’s. At first it looks scary but once I figured it out it was easy as pie! I really like the inserter after I figured out that the needle goes in when you let go, not when you push the button! So tricky! And if that is some weird magic that keeps it from hurting then so be it! Mark another point for the sensor! Woohoo!
Accuracy for me using the old sensor was nonexistent. My numbers were all over the place. So bad I wondered sometimes if I actually switched pumps with someone or something. Annoying!
The new sensor seemed to be just as accurate as my Dexcom. Now I know this may not be the same for everyone but for me I see about the same swing in numbers. The accuracy is much better from my experience. Could it be better? Of course but this is a huge improvement and as you probably figured out, another point for the CGM!
And now the biggie, the ability for the sensor to tell your pump to stop insulin delivery. This is something I feel really takes this pump to the next level. That first step towards an artificial pancreas! But will it work? Can I trust it? Will it make my wife not as nervous when I am out of town and have an overnight low that she is not around to help me with?
I am here to tell you that it does work, or at least did for me. I had a few really low lows and the pump shut off. Once I slept right through the alarm and woke up to an alarm that had been going off for a while. My pump screen said, “LOW SUSPEND.” I wasn’t shaking and I wasn’t covered in sweat. I felt a little funky but not a terrible low. It worked like it was supposed to!
That first time I woke up seeing those words on my pump screen I thought about all of the people who have been lost to an overnight low. I felt awful for those left with that loss but also felt so thankful that this technology is finally available to us. This is clearly another point once again for the CGM.
That is a lot of positives about the CGM and Pump right? I really am impressed and would suggest people consider it when choosing a pump, that is for sure.
But I have one major frustration and annoyance that I cannot get past.
In all the upgrades and changes to improve the sensor it doesn’t seem anything was changed in the transmitter. Why should that be a big deal? Well, I really had problem with the old system losing signal and because of that transmission hiccup, the sensor would not log anything until you “reconnected” the sensor to the receiver. This happens almost every night. I should say most nights. There was probably 2 nights it didn’t happen.
I am not one who tosses and turns in bed but I do sleep on my side so if the pump falls behind me it will lose signal. I have gone so far as to sleep with the pump in my hands and of course I will let go of it, turn over, and bam it’s disconnected.
My Dexcom can sit on my nightstand next to my head and never lose signal. And when it alarms I hear it well.
The alarm for a lost signal is becoming so annoying I am not even paying attention to any alarms at night. LIKE THE LOW GLUCOSE ONE!! I can clear them in my sleep because I have to clear the signal one so much. It’s like a car alarm that no one reacts to anymore because they hear it often. Not good.
So my big giant problem with this system is the transmitter which is ultimately the CGM, which is what makes this pump stand out, which means once again it is not for me.
Prior to this trial I really hated the sensor. That is not the case. I LOVE the sensor, I like the pump, I hate the transmitter.
It drives me nuts because I see how awesome this system is and how important it is in the advancement of pumping technology. So many people I know love this thing and I want to love it too. I really truly want to but I can’t. It just doesn’t work for me.
So there it is.
If you have had a good experience with the transmitter or have NOT had the issue with it losing signal please let me know. I don’t want people to assume it will be the same for them as it was for me.