I have officially been using my Tandem t:slim insulin pump for a week as of this evening, so I thought it would be a good time to share my thoughts on this new technology of the pumping world.

As stated in my prior posts, Tandem was very smart when they designed this pump. They went after simplicity and usability as well as great functionality. They have brought pumping into the 21st Century by using a touch-screen for pump operation, as well as making it rechargeable verses the use of batteries.

Doing anything with the pump is very easy and simple. Just a few taps and you’re done. One statement I see a lot of people making is that they don’t like that you have to unlock it with the 1-2-3 code. While it does take a few seconds to do, it honestly doesn’t take long at all in the grand scheme of bolusing. I can truly bolus faster with this pump verses my older ones because there is no scrolling to do. Even against the Minimed Revel that has the BG readings automatically sent – it’s still much faster. And, if you need to “pocket bolus”, you can still do so with the Quick Bolus feature of the t:slim using the ONLY button it has.

Changing the cartridge – which was the scariest part for me – was actually pretty easy to do on my own. The on-screen instructions make it SO simple. People who switch to this from the OmniPod or Minimed (I don’t remember if Animas has them or not) will feel “at home” with the screens because they are very similar in how they walk you through the process. The only thing is that the screen seems to time-out pretty fast if I keep it on my usual 30-second time-out, so last time I did a change out, I switched it to 120 seconds (2 minutes). I did this simply because even though if it times out and you unlock it, it takes you back to the screen you were on, unlocking it multiple times during a cartridge switch is not fun. (Though it is a VAST improvement because that was my biggest gripe with my Animas – it always timed out on me and I had to go back through the screens to get to what I needed. BIG pain in the butt.) This makes it easy and I didn’t have to unlock it at all during the change.

Charging. This was part of the system that had my curiosity up, and I know it does for a few of you as well. I have to say, this pump keeps a charge very well…. much better than I expected since this device runs all day, every day, without end.  I have only let it get down to 85% once, and otherwise, I usually “top off” the battery every other day. Since it uses a micro USB connection, you can pretty much charge this thing anywhere – with a computer, wall outlet, or car charger. Granted, the car charger they sent is funky because mine “whines” while it’s charging my pump. Usually, though, I charge the pump when I’m sitting at my desk because I know I’m going to be there a while, and it only takes about 5-10 minutes to charge it. I have even charged it just taking Kip to daycare. The only thing is that if you choose to charge while you’re connected, you have to remember that and not just jump up and go. That’s why they suggest charging it while you’re disconnected and in the shower. I’ve just not done it yet because I’m leery about having something plugged into the socket while I’m in a steamy shower. I know it shouldn’t cause any problems, but I’m also not going to try it out myself.

Oh, and I know some of you have wondered about the waterproofness of the pump. While, yes, it’s only rated for 30 minutes at 3 feet (IPX7 rating – as are most pumps now except the Animas), I think others have tested it longer. And some even wonder about the charge port – I know I did. From what I was told, the port is sealed from the inside against water damage. Now, I’m not a tech/electricity expert, but I’m just going to trust them on that one. I test the ability of a lot of things, but that one I’m not going to. I’ll trust their word on it.

Otherwise, me and Mr. Pump (I haven’t gotten a name for it yet) have been getting along great. As a matter of fact, I have had to readjust EVERYTHING (basal rates, bolus calculations, carb factors, correction factors….) more than once to a lower setting. I don’t know why, but the only thing I can figure is there has to be a correlation between how my body absorbs insulin and how this pump delivers it. I’m not the only one either. Jenny from sugarbeat111.wordpress.com also has had to lower her rates too.

My only complaints are the case and the screen protector. The case is bulky and unattractive. I have been working with Donna from TalleyGear to make a custom case for it that can be used on a belt, though not a clip. The screen protector? Well, I got a 2 pinholes in it the first time I tried to take the cartridge off. Apparently I had something on my table that I didn’t see and it punctured it or else put pretty small dents into it… either way, they bother me. I called Tandem and the rep that I spoke with said he was going to find a couple to send out to me. YAY! Until then, I may look around to see what I can find. I have always been a HUGE fan of BODYGUARDZ screen protectors for my devices, and they custom cut pieces  but they don’t round the corners off… and I’m a terrible cutter. We’ll see… that part is still out for debate on what I want to do.

Do you guys have any other questions about the t:slim? Leave them in a comment below and I’ll answer ya as best as I can. :)

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