Things I have Learned on T:Slim

Seems the T:Slim delivers insulin in a slightly different manner than some other pumps. I have myself noticed that a reduction across the board of my Basal-rates were in order. 

Before, on my other Insulin Pump, I was on 1.30 u/h to 1.35 u/h. I would still have some higher than liked blood glucose values. I was always ‘spiking after eating a meal, be it Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner. My Basal rates equaled 66% of my Total Daily Dose (TDD). A bit on the high side. Most people would have just under half of their TDD in Basal rates.

With the ease of programming my pump, I have been able to reduce my basal rates by .10-.20 u/h. One’s Basal rate should NOT bring them into a state of Hypoglycemia, as mine were. But, in arguing with my post-meal spikes, I have lowered the basals and have altered my I:CHO ratio to 1 unit for 5g CHO eaten. I was on 1:6g and would still spiked after meals. So this is being addressed. I am sending data to my Endo and CDE’s who are with me on the transition of the T:Slim.

Lock & Load:

Filling the cartridge of the T:Slim is easy as pie, not pi. It is second nature after filling it 2 times. Some people in our user group are paying outright for their supplies and have already asked if the cartridges can be re-used.

I will say emphatically, that in a case of emergency, they CAN. But in all fairness, cartridges are usually the cheapest in the line of Pump supplies. I try to not re-use these. Although the Pump does not care or recognize if a cartridge is re-used, YOU might when it may get wonky after a couple of times of doing that. My insurance has covered my supplies true. BUT for 3 years I had no insurance for the pump, and I only re-used cartridges about five times in that 3 years. I’m worth the money to buy fresh cartridges.

This is the T:Slim cartridge

This is the T:Slim cartridge

I also would not willingly reuse the infusion sets. In the older days, The buffered insulins like VelosulinBR was less likely to ‘crystallize’ in the infusion line, but it could happen. Not worth the risk to be moting along and have occlusions.

I also will mention, as has been mentioned in other sites, that Tandem would consider making the “Tail” for the Luer Lock on the cartridge a bit longer. It is short, and even with longer tubing, One will not be able to ‘hide’ the connection when tucking it into their waist band. Another inch or two can make a large difference. Perhaps in the next order for cartridges, they can ask about that to the Manufacturer.

A word (or two) about Infusion sets:

MY beef is with the makers of the infusion sets, of any sort or “brand”. Unomedical is the Chief manufacturer of Insulin infusion sets et al and the companies -I guess- pay to have their name put onto the labeling: They recommend changing your cannula every 3 days. Fair enough to prevent infection, but why in the name of the Lord, do manufacturers NOT give us, the consumer, the OPTION of ordering an infusion set with 2 (TWO) cannulas to one infusion line??

It was, if I recall correctly, done a few years back. Would this not SAVE MONEY and plastic? Environmentally, and on practical terms this would make sense. Especially with all these ‘Inserter’ style sets. The spare Cannula could be in a ‘button’ style cap to simply be pressed onto one’s new site, the current infusion line could them be attached to it. No wasting of precious  analog insulin to Prime new tubing. *I* prefer a 42-43″ tubing, so that goes to about 20-25U to prime it.

Boxes of the Insets they at first sent me.

Boxes of the Insets they at first sent me.

Give me the Manual Insertion…..

“Inserter” style sets, which have (usually) a spring-loaded gizmockus to ‘fire’ your cannula into your arm, leg, abs etc, are simply the BEST for kiddoes, and those who get the heebie-jeebies at self inserting. Some of the sets, (I’m looking at YOU, “Comforts” and “Silhouettes”) could scare the britches off the feint of heart …. *I*, however am not fearful. When I started on pumps close to 18 years ago, we did not have all that. I use most any set without the inserter which –if you needed it– you could buy back then. In fact, some of the newer inserter sets would pull my site right back out. Taking the introducer needle with it, and my (expensive!) set would be wasted! I don’t care that insurance pays for them, *I* am Scottish, and therefore a bit frugal.

So, I have learned that I do not want or need the “Inserter” style sets.

I am trying a couple of sets which are good. The Accu-check “Ultraflex” and the Orbit 90. I only have 1 Orbit to try, so I’m begging for another ‘sample’ so I have a site change in 3 days. I’ve asked Unomedical and will call my Supplier, Solara Medical Supplies for another.

I will mention, both Tandem and Solara sent me a few sets to try… Their support and quick response is wonderful! Tandem sent me Cleos. Inserter type. Oh, dear. Inserter pulls that set RIGHT OUT. and the tubing length is for the very petite; 24″ tubing.

When I use short tubing like this, it’s a bit constraining. Having your site in your upper arm and the pump clipped to a belt, Do not be hasty and get to the ladies’ room, and “drop Trou” rapidly. You could pull your infusion site out! OUCH….

When and if I use these, I’ll be keeping my pump on my bra, or will use my upper hip at the front a bit. I am endowed in the chest area, so I shall look like that woman with “Something extra”, but better that then pulling my set out. 28 years of IDDM has left my abdomen a “No Go” area. I can move to my upper bum on the next site change later today or Monday. With the Inserter thingies I can’t use that back area (Big grin).

Get A Charge Out of Life!……

On the T:Slim, when your battery says “90%” it means you have depleted it by 10%. Each percent of depletion is equal to 1 (one) minute on the charger. Tandem says one can ‘top-up’ every day. This could mean only 5-10 minutes ‘plugged in’. I did that last night while at the computer. I have a UPS battery block w/ 6 plugs right here, so EZ-PZ!! Bear in mind, if you let your battery get to 20%, you will need to spend 80 minutes ‘plugged in’ to get it to 100%.

I have an iBGStar iPhone dockable glucose meter I use periodically, and I found their charging ‘block’ and the T:Slim’s are the exact same! Details on the back and all. So I have one by my TV chair, One at my night stand and scored another block from the iBGStar folks at Sanofi for my computer area. As I don’t drive, I have the Car charger in my guy’s Ford if I need it. 

I have more POWER!

I have more POWER!

So, I have no excuse not to give my Baby T:Slim a bit of juice daily. I love the recharge. No more freaking out over AAA batteries! I stocked up on batteries, and usually, I would put a fresh one into my Minimed pump, to have the pump tell me “WEAK BATTERY” when the battery was right out of the package (!!??) I certainly do not see a top-up as an ‘Inconvenience’ when I’m sitting here at the iMac, “Installing Java” (read: Drinking Coffee) and reading emails. 

I got extra USB–>Micro USB cables of 6′ long at amazon.com for about $2.00 each. No brainer!

Getting the Download….

Tandem’s T:Connect software is soon to become available. Apparently it will be web-based, similar to Minimed’s “CareLink”. This will be great for Windows AND Mac users. I, as well as my Endo, are anxious to have this feature. It is the ONLY thing I ‘miss’ about the Minimed. The easy downloading at the Endocrinologist’s office.

I’ve been diligent in record keeping. Emailing my ‘diary’ of sort which I dictate into my Notes app on my iPad Mini, also entering the data to my Telcare app. I’ve sent my reports to my CDEs, Tandems’ trainer and copied and pasted into my Endo’s secure webmail.

I am absolutely in love with my insulin pump! It calculates my bolus into a figure like 3.147 or 6.173 U. It’s great! On a VERY COOL note, yesterday I was getting ready for work, I was getting dressed and had brought a pair of Carhartt scrub pants in instead of my Dickies Scrubs. I was ready to go put the Carharts back because only 2 months ago I was not able to even fasten them! But, I thought…. “Hmmmmmmm….” and slid them on!!! THEY FIT!!! This means a loss of at least 3″ from my hips and waist!

I Literally ‘floated on air’! I wore this pair of scrubs, with my belt, my T:Slim on my belt like the Badge of Honour it is to me. Thanks to all who helped and are joining me on this venture!

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