Johanna and Nick, both age thirteen, were making a new pump choice last year.
They were both interested in Insulet's OmniPod pump system, and since OmniPod pods were recently reduced to a smaller size looking like a tiny flattened computer mouse, it was even more appealing to them.
Their other pumps had served them well. However a situation last year prompted Johanna to want a less conspicuous pump. While working as a counselor with young children she was repeatedly asked about the tube running to her pouch containing the pump, "What is that thing?" and "What does that tube do?" Johanna is not shy about her diabetes but she realized she didn't want it to be the first impression about her.
The timing was right for a change.
For the most part the newly designed pods have been fantastic. Notwithstanding some failed pods here and there, the transition to the OmniPod has been in the kids' words, "life changing": No more pouch worn around the waist, fear of the tube being caught on anything. Now they change their infusion sets on their own.
It's been about six months since they've gone tubeless.
Some of the changes were big such as they wear their pods during sport and swimming instead of having to remove their pumps and miss important basal insulin during the removal.
Other changes are smaller. One has to suspend the Omnipod's PDM to make any changes and resume afterwards.
Here are some takeaways from our experience.
- The PDM which looks like a chunky smart phone is the center of the system. This is where the pump settings are programmed and blood sugar tested. It's the only way to program an insulin bonus.
- The Pods need to be changed every three days. If not changed within the allotted time, and after much warning the pod will shut down so you are forced to change it.
- The PDM has a light for nighttime blood sugar testing.
- The kids feel freer which can be good in some ways and not in others. Sometimes they feel as if they don't even have diabetes and forget to test their blood sugar or give themselves insulin before eating. This happened soon after the changing to the OmniPod. They aren't forgetting to test anymore.
It's wonderful we have many pump choices for our kids. If you're deciding on a new pump for the first time or changing to a completely different system as we did I hope this blog was helpful! If you've gone tubeless or thinking about it please share your experiences or questions in the comment section below.
Here's a youtube video showing how the new omnipod system works.