Review: Two Months with the Tandem t:slim x2
It’s hard to believe that I’ve only been using my t:slim for two months, because it already feels like much, much longer. In the short time we’ve been together we’ve enjoyed pizza nights, springtime basal adjustments, travel, work and will soon be celebrating our first Christmas together.
I thought I’d follow up on my last post (initial impressions here) with a few more thoughts now that the enthusiasm has waned.
The biggest adjustment from my late Animas Vibe has been the insulin cartridges. There were times over the first couple of weeks where my blood sugars felt like a struggle to manage – the kind of difficulty that can only be explained by spoiled insulin. I also had a lot of paranoia after learning that insulin is at greater risk of spoiling inside those uniquely designed black cartridges.
To sum it up, insulin gets drawn into a syringe, and then injected into the black cartridge. Little did I know that the cartridge also contains air, which also needs to be drawn out prior to filling (I partly blame myself for not properly watching the videos that were sent to my inbox…). So this explained the harder to manage blood sugars.
I’m also finding more air bubbles pop up during the fill process than I did when filling my Animas cartridges, while using room temperature insulin as instructed.
The cartridges can’t be reused as easily as my Animas ones, either. I don’t think I’m game enough to try refilling the cartridges, given that I can’t exactly ‘see’ what’s going on in there. I’ve been filling with the recommended 3-4 days worth of insulin, and am slowly working my way up to filling the cartridge with more as I gain confidence in the fill process.
My other issue is that the pump is WAY more alerty and annoying than Animas. (Speaking of, I really appreciated this post from Laddie at Test Guess and Go last week). Some of the pump’s alerts are just an insult to my intelligence and years of lived experience. Incomplete bolus alert? That’s because I decided against doing so. Temp basal that has dropped below half my normal rate? That’s because I know that my blood sugar is going to drop during my walk.
There are also SO many different screens to flick through when swapping out an insulin cartridge.
Change cartridge. Tick. Stop insulin. Tick. Is the set disconnected from your body? Tick. Changed cartridge. Tick. Fill tubing. Tick. Fill cannula. Tick. Finished. Tick.
Just yesterday, I received a vibrating alert well after a site change because I had tucked my pump away before reaching the ‘resume insulin’ screen. When factoring in my prior shower, I had been without insulin for some time.
Gripes aside, I still maintain that the adjustment from my late Animas has been fairly seamless. The t:slim has some much needed upgrades and modernness, while not asking me to change everything I know about pumping insulin. More on that in my earlier post here.
For me personally, my favourite thing about the t:slim is its wearability.
A mere few months ago, I was feeling really frustrated when it came to dressing with my insulin pump. Moreso when I was dressing for work and just wanted my pump out of the way. It was far too chunky to wear on my waist, but kept getting in the way every time I wanted to reach into my pocket.
Today, my new pump is so slim that I can simply ‘tuck’ it into my waistband with my shirt, and it doesn’t bother me there one bit.
I’ve been dreaming of this pump coming to Australia for a long, long time, and I’m happy to say that it is indeed everything I had ever hoped for.
When it comes to a device that is attached to my body 24 hours a day, it’s nice to finally have a sophisticated pump that looks and feels great to use.
Disclosure: Aussie distributor AMSL Diabetes bumped me to a priority upgrade to the t:slim, because, #TslimForFrank. As an existing customer using an in warranty Animas Vibe, I was eligible for the free upgrade as per their transition program. This included no agreement from me to write about the pump, and as always these thoughts are my own.