Over the time that Madeline has had T1, I have found myself slowly accumulating a wish list of technological interventions that would make my life easier as her Chief Pancreatic Officer. Yesterday was the perfect storm, a convergence of circumstances that provided real-time justifications for the kinds of tech wishes on my list. Now, perhaps some of these features are available on other kinds of insulin pumps, or perhaps some are incorporated into pumps currently in trial… I have no idea really, since I can’t seem to find the sources providing the inside scoop on what’s out there or what’s coming down the pike. At any rate, by the time we have to get Madeline a new pump in the next few years, I am hoping that some of these features will be available.
I am beyond frustrated with the monochromatic, hardly-detectable-to-my-colorblind-eyes display on the Animas Ping meter/remote. Even in full light it’s hard for me to see clearly, and without a backlight or high contrast feature, trying to use the meter/remote in darker conditions is very difficult. Last night, while trying to program a bolus for Maddy in a dark movie theatre (it was Madagascar 3—save your money!), I was ready to chuck that meter/remote down the aisle.
Variable insulin program options based on BG range
All studies of Madeline’s response to insulin doses have told me that her “regular” program only works when her BG ranges between 90-140. When she is lower, her basal program and i:c ratios are too aggressive; when she’s higher, they are entirely useless. As a result, I am constantly using the temp basal feature. And while I’m grateful for that, it’s frustrating that I cannot simply set up a dosing program that works best in correspondence to specific BG ranges.
I admit that I am spoiled by the magnificent touchscreen technology on my iPhone. I want that on a meter/remote. Navigating countless menu options using up/down arrows that freeze on occasion is aggravating for me and for Madeline too, who is beginning to learn how to program her boluses. Frankly, navigation challenges are a main reason why I don’t use many of the features that the Ping has to offer.
Programming through the meter/remote
I want to be able to set up basal programs, temp basal programs, i:c and isf ratios using the meter/remote. I especially want this option when setting up temp basals, which I do frequently, and most often when Madeline is sleeping or is engaged in some activity and can’t be bothered, Mommy!
Custom entry option
On the Ping, there are options to make notations about particular BG readings, if desired. For data freaks like me, who like to understand the variables intervening on BG levels in as much detail as possible, this kind of information can be really valuable. But the process of entering that information is so cumbersome that I don’t even use that feature on the Ping. Not only that, but I often find that the info I want to note is not even included in the menu of pre-programmed choices. So, I want to be able to enter the information I want and need, with reasonable ease.
Food information option
One of the big marketing points for the Ping is its pre-programmed database of food carb counts, drawn from the Calorie King book. It’s also possible to make custom entries as well. I thought I would use this feature constantly, but threw in the towel within the first week of having the pump. Between having to set up the entries through a PC-based program and then downloading them to the pump, to actually trying to navigate the menus associated with programming said carb counts when trying to calculate a bolus, the Calorie King feature is one I never use. There has to be a more user-friendly approach here. Pretty please?
This download-by-dongle system might just push me over the edge, people. I have this thing, this dongle, that plugs in the the USB slot on my laptop. Then, for an aggravating 10 minutes or so, I have to strategically hold the dongle against this tiny little spot on the back of the pump so that info can transmit from the pump, through the dongle, into the online data program. How hard can it be, right? I cannot even begin to explain how difficult it is to get the stupid dongle to stay in position against the pump–they don’t even nest well against each other–and wait while the dongle may or may not even register a pump download. Like red-hot pokers to the eyeballs, people. I now download the pump rarely– really only in the immediate weeks prior to an endo appointment. Otherwise, I just rely on my handwritten data, kept in intricate detail every single day. I want a plug-in connection between the pump and the USB port: is that too much to ask?
What would you add to this list? Are there pumps out there that already have these features (or will, in the near future)? Do tell!