I recently had an opportunity to try the Medtronic mySentry product for a few months.
Because I wasn’t using one of their pumps, this trial meant I had the opportunity to experience the whole suite of their products. A paradigm pump, their CGM transmitter and sensors, the One Touch UltraLink meter, the mySentry, and their CareLink reports. I also had to be trained on all of that and spend some time getting used to how things are done.
The trainer I met with was fantastic (Medtronic, Courtney deserves a promotion and a raise). I was up and running on the pump and a couple of weeks later we met again to add the CGM into the mix (more to come on that in later posts).
As I started this trial I had a clear bias against Medtronic stuff. I think my time spent as an inside sales rep for Cozmo is responsible for that. Having spent so many years on a Cozmo, it took me a few days to get used to how the Medtronic pump works. But after that initial break-in period I was pumping along as if nothing had changed.
Other than my unfortunate ceiling fan incident, I didn’t have any technical trouble with the pump during my trial.
There were a few minor things I needed to adjust to.
The bolus process on a Medtronic pump takes longer to program than on my Cozmo. There are more steps involved and some extra confirmation screens to jump through. With the pump set to vibrate, it took forever to get through everything. The pump would give a vibratory confirmation each time I jumped through a step in the process. I prefer vibration for my pump alerts, but couldn’t stand how much it slowed everything down. On the suggestion of the trainer, I changed to an audible signal which cut the programming time way down.
I also got tired of “double correcting.” Cozmo has a feature that isn’t available on any other pump (yet?). You can set a series of thresholds for blood sugars that increase correction doses by a percentage the higher you get. For example, if I’m over 250 mg/dl, my Cozmo is programmed to increase my correction dose by 5%. If I’m over 300 mg/dl it will go up 10%. And so on. As my blood sugar gets higher I am less sensitive to the insulin, therefore I need more than just what the correction math says.
So on any other pump, it requires multiple correction doses. I test, I’m high, I take the recommended correction bolus, then test again later, am less high, but still need another correction bolus. I understand that as my sensitivity changes things get less and less exact as far as the math is concerned, but I quickly tired of the double corrections.
The maximum amount of insulin this Medtronic pump would allow at any single time is 25 units. That probably seems like a lot of insulin for many of you, but I’m a big guy and I need a lot of insulin. I would often exceed that 25 unit maximum and have to deliver another manual bolus to get the total amount of insulin needed.
I know it doesn’t sound like a big deal, but think through the process. I’d program all of my information, get a dose higher than 25 units, have to remember (or write down) how much over 25 units, deliver my 25 unit bolus, wait for that to complete, then go back in and manually program a bolus for the amount over 25 units.
Guess how many times I either forgot to do that, or just plain ignored it because it was such a pain in the ass?
Guess what that did to my blood sugars?
Speaking of blood sugars, the meter that talks with the pump doesn’t have a backlight. What year is this?! No backlight? Really?
As of this writing, Medtronic has switched meters and this is probably not an issue.
My only other gripe about the pumping side of things comes from the belt clip. It lasted about three weeks.
Not a Bad Experience
I know the majority of this post sounds a little sassy and comes off as if I don’t like the Medtronic pump. Which I do. I do like it, minus the few inconveniences I mentioned above.
The next posts about this are going to dive into the sensor aspect of this system, along with the MySentry component, and then I’m going to talk about their secret weapon, the CareLink reports.
Overall my experience was definitely positive, and I’ll get into more of that in the coming posts.
Next post in this series: mySentry Trial: Wearing the Sensor
I received all of the pump supplies, components, and training from Medtronic, free of charge. I was not asked to write or say anything about my experience, I was not given any limits around anything I did write or say. I did not receive any compensation other than the opportunity to try their products.