Category Archives: Diabetes

Pump start, 2006


This started out as a comment to Chris’s blog post yesterday, asking for stories on how we were first transitioned in to using a pump.  Because I rambled a bit longer than is appropriate for a comment (as I tend to do), I decided to share it here.  Have your own pump-start story? Please post it over there, on A Consequence of Hypoglycemia.

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Measure point-1u pump

My first pump: The Medtronic/Minimed 515 with the ugly blue button.

From the time my first pump-ever insulin pump arrived at my door to the time I got to pop in the battery and start using it  was about a month. BUT – there was good reason for that. I was preparing to go on a European vacation, and then was starting a new job when I returned. For obvious reasons, I didn’t want to “plug-in” and leave the country, and also for obvious reasons, I didn’t want to start my new pump on Day One, Week One of the new job; thing would be too hectic and I wanted to be “settled in” for a bit. So I waited until Day One of Week Two to begin my training. (Meanwhile, during that month, Medtronic had introduced the first pump with an integrated CGM – the 522 – leaving my brand-new-never-used model obsolete. I figured it was just bad luck, and didn’t know enough to see if I could trade mine for the newer one).

The CDE from my endo’s office, who is also a Type 1 and also a “certified” Medtronic trainer, came to my apartment to train me and get me started on saline. Previously in the office, she had counseled told me about what a pump can do, but not yet on how to make it do it. This is what the training was for.

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Six word essay

Everybody’s got something. I have diabetes.

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What’s this all about? Read this.

Ten things


A few months ago, I asked an older gentleman working at Home Depot for help finding detergent for my power-washer so I could do some outdoor cleaning. After showing me to the appropriate product, he asked if that was an insulin pump on my hip. He told me his doctor was pressuring him to get one, but he is resisting and using shots (just one type of insulin, he wasn’t sure what). He has lots of lows as a result. Not wanting to be presumptuous, I asked if he was Type 1 or Type 2. He told me he didn’t know. That makes me sad that he’s being pushed to use this kind of advanced treatment without even being told what it is he’s treating. I feel there aren’t enough doctors who explain the condition before jumping to the treatment, and if doctors spent more time making sure patients understood, everyone would be a lot better off. (BTW – that detergent bottle is still sitting in the garage — unopened).


A few weeks ago, I was at a water park and saw a kid, maybe eight years old, with a QuickSet on his upper arm (tubing and pump disconnected) and a Dexcom G4 on his belly. He was with his parents and seemed a bit shy. After some hesitation (on my part), I approached him, reached into my pocket, and decided to show him my pump (without the official hashtag). He didn’t care. Rather than express some sort of connection at seeing someone else with an insulin pump, I think he was ashamed that someone proved his paraphernalia was noticeable. He then put on a life vest (I got the sense it was to cover everything up, not to help him with buoyancy) and went towards the water. His mom and I chatted briefly, then we parted ways. I learned that if someone is uncomfortable with their diabetes-stuff, pointing it out may not always be a good idea.

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Have you seen me?


I removed my old CGM sensor this morning before my shower, and planned on inserting a new one afterwards.

Only, my inserter has gone missing. I tore the bedroom and bathroom apart trying to find it, and… nothing. (But there’s a lot of clutter, it still could be hiding somewhere).

And you can’t put these things in manually. So right now, I’m flying blind without a sensor.

It’s terrifying.

I can’t state enough how terrifying it is, even though I lived for decades without one, and lived to tell about it. But times are different, and my level of control is tighter.

Looking back (all the way back to yesterday), every one of those thirteen vibrating alerts that grabbed my attention was a cue that I’m drifting. Those rumble strips* are the reason I took action and ended up steering my trends in a (relatively) straight line.

Without them, I might crash.

*”Rumble” strips are those indentations on the shoulder of a highway which cause a car to buzz and shake when a driver drifts out of lane. I first heard the metaphor of CGM thresholds as rumble strips from SixUntilMe’s Kerri, but she heard it from someone else…but I can’t remember who. I’d like to attribute proper credit, so if someone knows the source, please leave it in the comments. UPDATE: Gary Scheiner is the genius who came up with the metaphor. Thanks, Kim, for the credit and the link!

How to build a better Enlite

A little over a year ago, I wrote a post on How to build a better insulin pump, based on the Medtronic Revel. Since very little has changed from the Revel to the 530G, those wishes/recommendations still apply. But now that I’ve had some time to play around with Enlite, I’ve got some wishes/recommendations on how that can be improved upon as well. My reason for posting this is simple — if nobody knows, nothing will change; but if someone (or some-two, or some-many) makes noise, it’s more likely to be heard. With the goal of being taken seriously, I’m keeping my recommendations somewhat simple and realistic.

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The new Enlite and Enlite “Serter” are a vast improvement over the predecessor. In nearly every way. That goes without saying.

When I first saw the Sofsensor, I concluded that this must have been designed in-house by Medtronic, and not by Unomedical, the Masters (and manufacturer)-of-all-things Infusion Set related (and whose website appears to be out-of-commission at the moment).  Medtronic’s first CGM lacked the characteristics of something being designed by the Masters.

Enter Enlite. It’s better, and it took into account all the feedback received from Sofsensor users. It, too, has been designed in-house. And  sadly, it too lacks some of the characteristics of something designed by the Masters.

Let me be clear: I do think the Enlite is a good product, and this in no way is meant to be criticism worthy of driving someone away from using it. My reason for writing it is so that Medtronic – or perhaps another manufacturer – can learn something and make improvements the next time around. My hope is that they’ll take a look at some of the “little things” that can leave a big impression. And maybe, just maybe, the current product can undergo minor improvements while still being the current product.

Allow me to explain.

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