We switched over to the t:slim in early August. Having pumped with the Animas Ping for four years, we grew exhausted by billing department frustrations and annoyed by plain tech features. I have to say, though, that the Ping did its job. It helped keep Maddy alive, and that’s why we used it.
But, onward. The t:slim caught Maddy’s eye over a year ago, when a rep from Tandem Diabetes visited the Clara Barton Camp during her stay and invited her to explore its features. Several of her counselors had the device, too, and raved about its wonders. We kept a watch on Tandem since that time, monitoring it’s R&D and listening closely to the controversial no-upgrade policy. Initially, we really wanted a device that had CGM integration, and had planned to wait until the Dexcom/t:slim integrated pump hit the market. However, strings of hypos shoved us into the CGM market earlier than planned, so once we got the Dexcom G4, we figured we might as well jump onto the t:slim too.
Just for the record, I’m not important enough to be paid or otherwise rewarded for sharing my opinion about the t:slim on this blog. My opinions and experiences are my own, nothing else… and most certainly not medical advice.
We .love. the t:slim. As an experienced artificial pancreas, I was able to set it up tip to toe quite easily, and Maddy was live with insulin in under two hours. About four days later, the trainer called… I had no idea we’d even get a trainer… and she was taken aback when I told her we were already using the pump. No, I didn’t get permission from Maddy’s CDE before using it. We know what the F we are doing around here. The touch screen feature makes everything about this pump so much more user friendly. No more scrolling endlessly: keypads are used to enter all data. No more hunting around for menus. Setting up insulin programs is uncomplicated, and the time-driven program format makes so much more sense. Being able to see the current status in one glance, including IOB, cartridge balance, active basal rate, active temp basal, and active carb and correction ratios helps me see the big picture and make situational decisions so much more easily now. All of these features helps Maddy to be more independent, too. She knew her way around the Ping, but was poorly motivated by the device and often turned it over to me when it came time to bolus. With the t:slim, though, she’s all about being in the driver’s seat.
Drawbacks? Only two at this point. One: it’s a little tricky to get the hang of filling the insulin cartridge. Having to remove air from the cartridge before loading the insulin was confusing at first, but I’ve got the hang of it now. Two: even with the 300-unit cartridge, the pump sometimes needs a refill before the three-day set change. Refilling a cartridge is frowned upon, though I do it anyway… but the pump requires at least a 10-unit prime before it will become functional. That’s a lot of insulin down the drain. And yes, the infusion speed is s.l.o.w. compared to the Ping. I think, though, that it’s helped Maddy’s skin to absorb more insulin, making her doses a little more effective.