Having 2 active pods with only 1 PDM

I wanted to post how to do this, but first I wanted to describe some possible scenarios why someone might actually want to do this.

I would not consider this a standard daily treatment idea. If you do this all the time, you would probably run out of pods. But I want to share it as an idea and also just give an example of thinking outside of the box, which can be very useful for diabetes in general.

There are some situations where it might be useful.

For example, if you are taking a lot of insulin and your site is overwhelmed, you could have a basal pod and a different bolus pod. That would split the amount of insulin getting delivered in any single site.

Or imagine going on a camping trip or hiking trip, where replacing a pod is not easy. If one pod dies, you still have the other pod. So if you are in the woods or away from home, having a backup-pod already on might be useful.

Or if you are doing some activity that might lead to a pod falling off. Surfing or sailing or spending a few days in an outdoor activity.

Or being in a situation where changing a failed pod is extremely impractical, like being in a big hurry driving across country by yourself or whatever.

Or in any situation where an occlusion would leave you in a bind. Having 2 pods means you can still get insulin.

In those situations, an extra spare and active pod on your body might be useful.

Describing this whole thing and how to do it might be a bit confusing, so I am going to refer to the 2 pods as a “basal” pod, and a “bolus” pod. But first, a few points to make and a few limitations.

  • The “basal” pod can not be used to bolus. At all. This can’t be changed.
  • The “bolus” pod can be used to bolus, but can also be used for basal, if the “basal” pod falls off or has an occlusion.
  • The settings on the “basal” pod can not be changed. It will deliver your preset basal for 3 days. If you want to stop it, you have to take it off.

(Sidenote: This is where it pays to think out of the box to come up with different stuff. You find stuff by pushing all of the buttons and trying things differently all the time. Ever try deactivating a pod that was out of range? I did! )

How do you do it?

  1. Load a pod with insulin and put it on and activate it. If you want to keep track of it, take a sharpie and write “basal” on it. Whatever basal program you have on it will be active for 3 days. Don’t use a temp basal on it, because those only last a maximum of 12 hours and that will make it more confusing for you.

  2. Take another pod and fill it with insulin. Take your PDM out of range of your “basal” pod. If you are doing this by yourself, you can use a Faraday bag to cover your pod to block the RF signal. Or have someone help you do this. I actually propped my PDM against the wall and used a long wooden dowel to push the buttons, so it would be out of range! It is necessary that your PDM not be able to communicate with your “basal” pod.

  3. On your PDM, go to “More actions” > “Change pod”. If your basal pod is out of range as I described in the step above, you should see a message “Communication error”. Now press “Discard”.

  1. Your PDM now has no idea about the first “basal” pod. And your “basal” pod has no idea about the PDM. Those two can no longer communicate. But if it was out of range, it means your “basal” pod will still deliver basal insulin according to whatever program it was set for. It will do nothing but deliver basal. If it occludes, it will alarm. After 3 days, it will alarm. Other than that, it will just blindly deliver basal. It will not recognize any commands you send from your PDM. It does nothing but deliver basal according to the program it was set for.

  2. Now apply your “bolus” pod as normal, and activate it.

  3. THIS STEP IS VERY IMPORTANT. Create a basal program that is minimal (0.05 units per hour). Turn it on. Now your “bolus” pod will only deliver that minimal amount. If 0.05 units per hour extra is going to mess you up, then you will need to have a different basal setup for your “basal” pod, that is 0.05 units less, and apply that in step 1) above, before you “disassociate” it from the PDM.

I can clarify the above steps if needed, but here is what you have now:

  • If your “bolus” pod dies or falls off, at least you will still have basal insulin being delivered from your “basal” pod. This is a benefit, a spare pod that still works. :wink:
  • If your “basal” pod dies or falls off, you can turn on a basal program and your “bolus” pod will now be back to delivering both basal and bolus.
  • The alarms on both pods still work. You will know if there is an occlusion.
  • You can not decrease the basal on your “basal” pod or turn it off. But you can increase the basal you are getting by just adding a temp basal for a certain number of units and time on your “bolus” pod.
  • At the end of 3 days, when the alarm sounds on your “basal” pod, you will not be able to turn it off with the PDM. You will need to turn it off with a paperclip.



That’s pretty bad ass.

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That is excellent @Eric ! This opens up a whole new ballgame for higher dose people to use the pod too, where basal and bolus coming out of the same pod would deplete insulin too fast.


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That is bloody incredible. Damn Eric… You’re borderline savant. Lol

I can see how this could deplete a supply of pods in a hurry though!