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goodbye hello

Goodbye Ping.

Hello t:slim!

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.

Questions? Ask!


About Heather Garcia Queen

I am… a mother of 3 spectacular children. A wife of an architect extraordinaire. An MSW. A psychologist in an elementary school. A (wishful) writer. A protector of family and spirit. A worshipper of the natural world. A seeker of knowledge. A lover of the arts. An introvert. A silver-lining kind of girl.


5 thoughts on “goodbye hello

  1. We have been planning to switch from Ping to T this winter. My concern, and I’ve only realized it this week, is this: fragility. The Ping feels like it’s in an Otterbox. And if it gets banged up, who cares? It wasn’t beautiful to begin with. The T, I feel every scratch will show…that, if it falls on the bathroom floor, it will smash like an iPad (we’ve smashed two this year)…that it will just feel TOO beautiful. Do the screens ever crack? If so, would it be replaced? I guess I like freedom to be kind of hard on gear. Anyway those are the kinds of questions I have.

    Anything like that in your experience?

    Posted by Katy | 08/26/2015, 7:57 pm
    • I heard that at FFL a couple of years ago, Tandem had kids throwing the pump down the hall to see if they could break it. It’s a sturdy pump, feels sturdy and not delicate like a smartphone does. The case it comes with is a rubberized thing, which makes it easy to grip. The clip is like a wide clothespin so it really holds on well. On the FB page people have said that Tandem will replace the pump if the screen cracks because they stand by the durability claim. You have to tap firmly on the screen so butt-dialing doesn’t happen but even if it did there are 3 levels of confirmation for bolusing so that you’re sure that bolus is what you want to do.

      Posted by Heather Garcia Queen | 08/26/2015, 8:26 pm
  2. Thanks for this post! I was considering the t-slim for our 7-year old who is using medtronic now but our peds endo practice doesn’t recommend it (though they will work with us on anything we choose). They cited the lack of a connected meter as one issue — mainly looking at teens not entering BG numbers from their meter so that the bolus calculations can work properly. Their other main concern had to do with the luer-lock; one of the CDEs who is a T1 did a trial and actually got disconnected from the pump somehow without noticing & ended up with v high bg. Have you run into either of these things?

    Posted by lesleykimball | 09/15/2015, 9:03 pm
  3. Hi Lesley,
    We have not had any problems with the luer lock at all. I tighten it pretty firmly and it stays that way. I don’t consider the lack of a connected meter as a problem. It’s a nice convenience but actually we are used to having a disconnected meter– we used the Ping before and although that remote is supposed to work as a meter as well, we had a lot of problems with that feature so we stopped using it and went over to the Verio Sync. You can also manually enter the BG into the pump, so that this data is shown through the t:slim reports.

    Posted by Heather Garcia Queen | 09/16/2015, 7:36 am
  4. Hey Heather! We started the t:slim today! I wonder if you will write more about it. I would love to follow in your footsteps.

    Sucking the air out of the reservoir is w e i r d. The rest seems pretty nice.

    Posted by Katy | 01/02/2016, 5:32 pm

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This work by Heather Garcia Queen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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