JDRF Meet-up & Tandem

Last night the JDRF Metros group met at a bar/restaurant and got to do a Q&A with our local Tandem T-Slim pump rep.  As much as I have read about the T-Slim and know people who have it, it was extremely informative and very cool to get to play with the actual pump a bit.  A few items of note (well for me and these are in no specific order, just how my mind recalled them):

  • I got to grill the rep on the finances of the company.
  • I did not realize that the developers and financiers are from the same company that created Symilin.  I had a horrendously BAD experience on Symlin.  Like really, really bad.  Like dangerously bad.
  • To my objection that there is no back-up battery for the T Slim (it’s rechargeable which scares the shirt off of me after losing power for 6 days during hurricane Sandy), the rep suggested getting one of those mini portable chargers you can get at the drug store (they take 2 batteries).  Almost like having a portable battery back-up, I guess.
  • The charging time for the T Slim was much shorter than I thought and it does NOT need to be almost drained before you charge it (like old cell phones).
  • I was impressed by ALL of the features that make the T-Slim advantageous to other pumps while on airplanes (cabin pressure issues).  I found this part super interesting (and although I didn’t totally understand it, the differences in the venting system were cool… get it?  Venting?  Cool?  That’s 3 cups of coffee making these jokes people!).
  • Alarm for the pump getting too hot and possibly compromising insulin.  I think I’ve had this issue in the summer months and this is an advantage to me.
  • FONT:  On some of the screens I found the font a bit small (and I was wearing my glasses).  The font size can’t be changed.  Insert bigger-is-better jokes.
  • Cut off: If a piano fell out of the sky and landed on me, I’d probably have problems far bigger than my pump getting crushed.  The maximum amount of insulin I ever have in my pump is approximately 110 units.  My total daily does ranges from 18.5 to 24 units a day.  According to the rep, if my pump were smashed, I could possibly get injected with 110 units at once.  I’m fairly certain 4 days of insulin all at once, could be the end of me.  With the T-Slim, due to how the reservoir works, it would apparently be impossible for it to give all the insulin at once.  I didn’t totally get that part but weird stuff falls off NYC buildings all the time so safety is important.
Incredibly dark space.  We used flashlights on phones to snap this pic.

Incredibly dark space. We used flashlights on phones to snap this pic.

  • I think reps believe we all want to hear that a company isn’t in it for the money.  Tandem just made their first profit this previous quarter.  That doesn’t sell me.  I want a pump from a big profitable business.  I want to know if something goes wrong, they can afford to fix it.  I also want to know a company is investing in “what’s next” all the time.  I want to know they can afford the patent process.  I want to hear they have lobbyist.  This DOES not mean they can’t handle these issues, but there is a comfort to ME knowing a company like Johnson & Johnson is diversified and not just making one product.  Yeah, I’m a nerd but a pump is a huge investment and something we need to rely on completely.
  • When statistics are rattled off to me about a pump having larger growth (in the market place) than any other pump available, I think to myself “No shirt, Sherlock”.  If your pump is brand spanking new, your sales figures (percentage) started at zero.  If your growth percentage is NOT the biggest, you’re in big trouble.
  • Sitting in a bar with 4 other young women learning about the T-Slim from a rep who demonstrated from both from a T Slim pump and from his IPad was interesting.  Occasionally I would forget where we were, look up and see guys staring from the bar.  Gotta wonder what they were thinking.  A bunch of ladies pouring over some sort of technology sales presentation in a loud and very dark bar.  Sexy, smart?  Or weird and possibly illegal activity going on in the corner?
  • I was impressed that the rep sat there for 3 hours answering our questions (and he ordered food but never got to eat it).
  • Another item I appreciate is that the basal rates go to the thousandth decimal point.  That was a factor in my Animas pump decision.  My regular weekday basal rate runs at .425, .475, .600, and back to .475.  I think that those fractions are helpful for me.
  • The Tandem rep is not T1D, but has members in his extended family who are.  The NYC 1/2 Marathon is this Sunday.  There are 33 runners on the JDRF Team.  This rep is one of them.  Does that make me like the T-Slim more?  Yes.  Should anyone be using this logic to make a decision about a pump?  No way.  I do however think (to me), it gives the T Slim a bonus point.
  • I am not due for a new pump any time soon however I would consider the T-Slim much more than I would have before.
The worst photo ever taken.  No, I was not in a moving vehicle.

The worst photo ever taken. No, I was not in a moving vehicle.

4 thoughts on “JDRF Meet-up & Tandem

  1. Alecia, great summary! That’s a lot in just 3 hours. My warranty is running out soon, but I may stay with what I have for a year or so just because it’s working for me. That might give me time to gather more data on t:slim and other manufacturers. Thanks

  2. ok, i trialed it last november, so this is my 2 cents worth. While some of the minute fine detailing on basal and bolus is fine, the set up is annoying as hell. So many parts and steps to prime and to give a bolus. Definitely can’t be done driving or walking down the street. I can do the complete MNMD set up in less than 6 minutes….and with the pump in my pocket, I can program in a bolus and deliver it without looking. Granted, I know it takes some time to learn, but there are just too many extra steps, and the UP arrow on the minimed, you can COUNT how many times you push it and know how much insulin you get – not so with the tandem,. Priming takes FOREVER too.

    I am not that impressed with, the pressure problem. I have been pumping over 20 years and fly ALL the time – it has NEVEr been a problem or you can bet they wouldn’t be able to sell them…and I live in Arizona. I don’t worry about my insulin getting too hot, so I honestly don’t think you should fret…i mean unless you are taking it in the sauna with you.

    On the PLUS side, it looks cool as hell. and Tandem (I think) will be the company to integrate a dual chamber pump with glucagon/insulin in the artificial pancreas in the next decade or so. They “say” they will be submitting their pump to the FDA to be integrated with a next generation of Dex…..but Animas is farther along in that process.

    Now if only my Animas rep had been able to work with my insurance company last december, I might have strayed from 20+ years with MNMD…but I guess I hold on to my cracked pump a few more months…

    Is it just me, or do pump reps who DON”T actually wear pumps annoy the crap out of you?

  3. Interesting bit about Symlin. I had a BAD experience with it as well. I would not try it again without a very, very accurate CGM.

    The Tslim is not for me. I like my Apidra too much to use a pump that it probably clogs in.

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