Frank still can’t believe that he has a t:slim tucked away in his left pocket.
It feels so surreal.
(In his determination to get a t:slim, Frank has even began referring to himself in the third person in his own head, which he really should stop doing now).
As trusty and reliable as my late Animas Vibe was, it was definitely outdated. Quite frankly, it looked like a game of tetris from the ‘90s. It wasn’t particularly attractive. The skin quickly began to peel. It wasn’t particularly easy to navigate, when compared to the smartphones we use today. Animas had failed to throw research and development at that pump to bring it into the 21st century, which is likely a big part of why they decided to exit the market.
I know all of these things may sound superficial, but when you’re talking about a $9,000 device that is attached to my body 24 hours a day, it really does matter.
I’ve only been using this pump for a little over a week, but quite honestly the transition has been seamless. The t:slim combines the features that I’ve come to rely on in my Animas Vibe, with many enhancements that I’ve been longing for in quite some time.
The bright touch screen on the t:slim is so much more convenient and sophisticated (although not exactly easy for oversharing bloggers to photograph). I am no longer reliant on up or down buttons to navigate through the pump. I no longer need to scroll to reach my desired number to input into the pump. I can simply touch the menu item on the screen, and type in my numbers.
Another feature that is proving useful is the basal profiles. Within each time segment, I can also set custom carb ratios and correction factors. So when I’m on my feet at work at 9am on a Monday morning and more sensitive to insulin, I can set a custom carb ratio to reflect that, rather than having to manually adjust every single time. Thoughtful little things like that really do make a difference to my life.
I’m also really happy with the wearability of the pump. When I’m at work, it truly is slim enough to tuck into the waistband of my trousers, leaving my pockets completely free. While it is a little heavier than my late Animas Vibe, it’s hardly noticeable thanks to its size and sleekness.
A big shift from Animas is the rechargeable battery. Unlike a smartphone, I have been told that I do not need to worry about damaging the battery with my charging patterns. I’ve been plugging it in before I jump into the shower every day. It charges super fast, and so far that ten or fifteen minutes in the bathroom keeps the pump battery topped up at close to full capacity.
I’m really happy that I can continue to use the Animas sets that I’m most comfortable with, so no massive adjustment needed there. The nobbly luer lock connection, which was concealed on my Animas pump, is a little annoying when I go to tuck the pump line away or pull it out again. But it does guarantee me lots of options should I need to switch infusion sets in the future.
Filling an insulin cartridge is a little different as well. Insulin is basically drawn into a syringe, and then injected into that little white hole at the top of the cartridge (next to the line). Given that I can’t see inside the black insulin cartridge, the key is making sure there are absolutely no air bubbles in my syringe. I’ve only filled a cartridge twice so far, but it seems simple enough.
I also like that the cartridge can hold 300 units of insulin, which conveniently uses up a whole penfill cartridge in one sitting. Although apparently I’m only supposed to be filling three days’ worth to minimise the risk of insulin spoiling? I’ll leave you to guess what I’m doing with that one…
Most of my bolus deliveries take a good minute or two to complete, due to a back and forth motion happening inside the insulin cartridge that slowly infuses bolus deliveries. It’s just something to be mindful of when delivering a larger bolus.
The one thing I dislike about my t:slim is the pump clip, which I have been unable to use. The clip is attached to the rather chunky t:case, rather than the pump itself. This doesn’t exactly make the t:slim all that slim!
Another irritating thing about this pump is how demanding it is. The screen blacks out with three mis-taps. I’m frequently alerted when I don’t complete a bolus, or if I’ve been running a temporary basal rate for a prolonged period of time. While these may be helpful to some people, my pump should be able to realise how switched on I am.
While pump data can be uploaded to Diasend for review, I’m also looking forward to the t:connect app eventually launching here in Australia. Just like wireless blood glucose meters, it’ll be great to wirelessly sync my pump data to my iPhone for instant review.
It’s still early days, but it’s hard for Frank to find much fault in his t:slim.
It’s nice to finally have an insulin pump as modern as my smartphone and the other devices that I use to manage my diabetes.
Disclosures: AMSL Diabetes bumped me up to a priority transition to the t:slim after seeing all of my cheeky #TslimForFrank comments on social media. As an existing AMSL customer using an in warranty Animas Vibe, I was eligible for a free upgrade to the t:slim as per their transition program. The upgrade was treated as a replacement for my late Animas Vibe, which I was required to send back. I have not been asked or paid to write about the t:slim, and these opinions are entirely my own.
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