t:slim touch screen

I mentioned in my first impressions of the t:slim that I was underwhelmed by the responsiveness of the touch screen. However, I want to add that I am thoroughly impressed that I can operate the pump while wearing gloves. And not those special conductive gloves you need to use your iPhone, but regular gloves that render my iPhone useless.

I’ve been attributing this (both traits actually) to there being a different touch mechanism in play with the pump verses the iphone.  An iPhone is a multi touch system that uses a capacitive material to sense touch.  This material is only activated by conductive materials (like your finger or a conductive glove) and most gloves (ie insulation) stop those signals from transmitting.

The t:slim seems to sense touch via pressure via a resistive screen. This means that it only registers a single touch at a time (which is all we need to operate a pump) and can be activated by anything capable of delivering pressure, be it conductive or insulating, thus there is no need for conductive gloves.

I haven’t taken the time to seek out Tandem’s patents or specs to know if I’m right (maybe someone else has this info?) so I certainly could be wrong.  I’m just glad that I won’t have to purchase special gloves (!).

I hate needing special equipment to use my special equipment!

More info on how touch screens work, etc: http://electronics.howstuffworks.com/iphone.htm


T:slim – first impressions

It’s Thanksgiving and today I’m thankful for life-sustaining medical technology that’s also nice to look at and easy to use. My new touch screen pancreas t:slim insulin pump arrived on Tuesday and after 24 hours of patience, I ran out. So I opened the box, unwrapped my new toy durable medical equipment and began my d-life again without the hassle of dialing in carbs and BG values. It’s been a measly 18 hours since I first plugged her in (name pending) but I’ve already identified a few pros and cons about the newest member if my diabetes team. Since today’s a holiday I’m leaving this post in bullets but I assure you I’ll do my best to update this post as my experience with the t:slim evolves.

• Touch screen!!! Hello 21st century.
• Back button and Home button
• Bolus calculator – as in “I had 10+6+32+1+7g of carbs, bolus please!”
• Pretty, shines, modern, relatively small
• Copy/paste basal program – build a new basal program without having to start from scratch.
• Basal program includes ISF, I:C, and target BG
• I:C can be entered in half grams
• IOB on home screen
• 75 xtra units – see cons for explanation.
• Great history menu includes entered BGs, blouses split by type and if the calculated dose was overridden.

Cons Less awesome things:
• Touch screen less responsive than I expected
• 9 button key pad, as in three letters per button. But you only need this for naming basal programs so who really cares?
• Very slow priming and insulin delivery. Ugh!
• Only corrects for low blood sugars under 60 so I need to be a bit more conscious when dosing food with lower BGs
• Clip is a bit poorly placed on the case – only slightly north of center so the pump hangs forward while clipped to my pocket.
• Leur lock connector in awkward position and I can’t seem to hide it.
• Uses close to 50u to ready cartridge and prime 23in tube ( as opposed to about 25 for the ping) so the xtra 100 units I fill are really only and extra 75.

• Wall charger – I was directly connected to the grid for about 10 min this morning
• Multiple confirmation screens before bolus initiates.

And that’s all I got for now.

Shapeways 3-D Printed “Brixometer” Dexcom Cover

After having (and wearing out) a couple of silicon sleeves I adapted to cover my Dexcom G4 receiver, I started looking for another, even sturdier option.  Eventually I stumbled across a TuD convo about 3-D printed Dexcom covers.  For under $15 (plus shipping) I now have this form fitting hard plastic cover that was 3-D printed just for me.  (Well, it’s made to order so that’s kind of like it was made for me, right?)

Dexcom Cover

It fits my receiver like a glove, has a slightly textured surface giving it a pretty good grip, and is open on the end to allow easy access to the charging port. (Or, if your sliding charger port cover has fallen off like mine has, you can simply turn this case around and it will fit in the other direction and cover the port when it’s not in use.) Plus it has this nice pattern of holes intended to lighten it and add grip which also give it a nice black and white polka dot look (that I kind of love).

Dexcom cover

As of now, I haven’t had it long enough to comment on durability but I’m feeling pretty good about it so far – the girl who originally posted about it on TuD claims she’s had hers for a few months and it’s holding up well.

To get your own, follow this link to the listing on the Shapeways website.  I bought the “White Strong & Flexible” variety but it can also be purchased in a few other colors and a slightly smoother texture as well.


Switching to the t:slim

http://www.tandemdiabetes.com/Products/t-slim-Insulin-Pump/It’s been nearly 9 months since I last posted anything on this blog.  Either this post will the turning over of a new leaf or maybe I’ll neglect the blog for another 9 months.  Only time will tell.

Until then, I’m here to tell the world that I’m making the change over to Tandem and should receive my new t:slim within a couple weeks.  I’ve been using an Aimas pump for nearly 12 years.  I stated on their IR1000 model (a brick with a cord), switched to the IR1250 (for the carbsmart calculator and the free iPod mini that came with it), then my beloved Ping.  As far as I’ve always been concerned, no other brand was even worth looking at – Animas is and always has been fully water proof (I’ve worn it under waterfalls, and in lakes and pools), has easy (enough) to navigate menus, and great customer service. (Although it was better back in the day when everyone else was on minimed and I was Animas’ only customer.  Not really, but that’s how it often seemed.)  I remember fighting my doctor to subscribe Animas over minimed.  I knew it was the pump for me and I couldn’t be convinced otherwise.  And to this day I have always had great experiences with my Animas pumps.

Then one day there was Tandem.  The t:slim is smaller, holds more insulin, is rechargeable (no more expensive lithium batteries insurance would never pay for), has a touch screen which allows carbs and BGs and boluses to be typed in instead of dialed, and the ever ellusive back button.  I was instantly twitterpated; it’s like Tandem knew all the things I wanted out of a pump and poof there it was!

Yet I remained reluctant.   Tandem does not offer pump trials; the t:slim is not water proof (merely water resistant); and perhaps most importantly is a start up company just breaking into the market with a first generation product.

And then my Ping’s warranty expired.   Do I sign up for 4 more years of Animas or do I take a risk and give this new company a try?  They have a 30 day return policy (from start-up day) and the only way they make to the next generation is by having customers willing to give them a chance.  Plus they’re teamed up with both Dexcom (integration, please!) and the dual-chamber-bihormonal-closed-loop-pump people at Mass General so they have a bright looking future.

I got word of my approval today and I’m pumped (excuse the pun).  Let’s hope it’s worth the gamble.

Dexcom Skin, sort of

After stumbling upon this thread at TuDiabetes, I went ahead and purchased an Insignia Pilot silicon case for my new G4 Dex.  The dimensions of each are pretty similar (Dex G4 = 101.6 x 45.72 x 12.7 mm, Insignia = 100.0 x 49.20 x 11.1 mm) and each has a rectangular screen with circular controls.  I held the G4 receiver up to the screen to visually compare, and I figured the circles wouldn’t line up perfectly, but it looked like they’d be pretty damn close.   (I’d also like to note that I ordered this one specifically, and it came with a second case in black, pictured, and a removable belt clip and arm band all for only $4.87!)

Dexcom G4 in Insignia Pilot case

Close, but not good enough!

As you can see in he photo, the alignment is somewhat worse tan I had hoped for.  I lived with it this way for about a week, and then this happened:

Dexcom G$ receiver in modified Insignia Pilot case

Take that!

The result is a somewhat wonky solution that adds traction to the receiver so it stays firmly planted in my jeans pocket, and cushions it a bit when it does manage to fall.  Since the case is made for an entirely different device, and I’ve cropped out a bit of the structure, the receiver is very easily removed, but that doesn’t really bother me.  Plus there’s the added bonus of a conveniently located window perfectly framing the charging port.

Dexcom G4 receiver in Insignia Pilot case

Another happy coincidence.

I’m still hoping Dexcom will get there act together and sell a snugly fitting case designed just for this receiver.  But until then, this may be the perfect solution.