Hi folks, happy weekend!
So, per the title of the post, I’m starting on Omnipod in about a week after doing MDI for the past several months. I’m feeling a combination of excited and petrified. I was a little hesitant to give it a try, mostly because I was afraid of not liking it or it not working right for me, but ultimately decided I’d never know if I didn’t try it out. And if there’s something out there that might be beneficial to me in managing this, I feel like I owe it to myself to try it. I was shocked my insurance paid for it, but they did, the box of pods and stuff arrived last week, I meet with the trainer next week, and so here we are!
I feel like I’ve read every word on various Internet forums and blogs about pumping and Omnipods as well as a book or two, but so much information gets hard to boil down to just the most relevant, important stuff after a while. So, I am wondering if those of you with pump experience or specific Omnipod experience can help me with some basic “getting started” advice.
What do you wish you had known when you started out? Any favorite tips or tricks you can pass along? Anything I definitely should or shouldn’t do in the beginning?
I’m prepared for a learning curve and for things to be a bit rocky for a while. If there’s anything I can do to smooth the transition, I’m all ears!
Hi folks, happy weekend!
Congrats! I started on the Pod just over a year ago and love it! Being able to bolus smaller increments for corrections/adjustments and create temporary basal rates for exercise is awesome!
Things that took a learning curve. How to insert the site correctly. Mistakes can and will be made here.
If you smell insulin after bolusing and/or even suspect a site isn’t working well, you are probably correct. A number of times we let a suspect site go too long wreaking havoc with my son’s blood sugar when we should have just changed the site.
During the learning, have a backup way to deliver insulin. If you have a suspect site and don’t have time or supplies to change it out right then, a syringe or pen of fast acting can reduce the frustration level. We always carry a couple of syringes and a pen vial for large boluses (we have issue with boluses >10 units) or when you are frustrated by your sugar and want to ensure you have enough insulin onboard.
With all this said, pumping is awesome, and we are glad we are doing it.
The first thing I would suggest is pretty simple.
The PDM has a reset on it. You can go through the setup process by yourself several times, and see all the menus and see all the setup options, like your insulin:carb ratio for different times of the day and all the correction factors for different times of day and your BG targets and basal numbers. All of that stuff.
So if you walk through the setup several times, you will see all the things it uses.
When you are done, you can reset it, you are back to the beginning, so you haven’t really messed anything up.
Do that a few times to learn it. That will make your training much better!
All kinds of things! But let’s save those for after you have been using it for a couple of weeks!
The best piece of advice I was ever given (I think it was @Eric that made the recommendation), is to change your “home screen” message to make sure you click “confirm” button before doing a blood check…we wasted so many test strips at first with the POD because we forgot to push the button to start the process.
Thanks, those are two of the biggest reasons I wanted to give it a try! Glad you are loving it!
Thanks for this tip… I’ll remember that.
I have a bunch of pens left to go through, so I’ll definitely have the ability to use those when needed as well. Good suggestion.
So, I read this advice, probably from you, elsewhere on this site, and gave it a try already! The setup seemed easy enough, but it did succeed in stressing me out a little about some the stuff I realized I don’t know
Because I still have a semi-functional pancreas, I rarely get super duper high BGs (so far). I know a unit lowers me a lot, so I’ve not had much opportunity to test correction factors. I’ve added a unit after a while when I can see I under-bolused a meal, but haven’t truly tested how much one unit will lower me with no food and no other insulin on board. Anyway, will they just use some kind of formula to start with or am I supposed to know this?? Same goes for insulin duration. I have no idea how long the stuff works in me…
Pumps are easy, if you don’t know what the answer is, your care team will help you set up a very conservative value, and you will just dial that up over time. Don’t stress at all.
The beauty of pumps, is you don’t need to deliver a unit or 1/2 unit to correct something, you will be able to deliver tenths of units which gives you more freedom to treat highs, that aren’t high enough to treat with MDI.
The highs will be along soon enough, enjoy the sputtering pancreas until it gives out. Eventually you will get the highs and can figure out what your correction factor is.
They will do all of that for you, based on your input. They will talk you through it. They have generic formulas they use based on weight and total insulin use and all of that.
As for duration, you just kind of have to figure that out over time, but if you don’t know they will start with a “safe” number like 5 or something. And eventually you will change it yourself to 4.5 and then 4, as you become more confident and then eventually cocky. But longer duration’s are considered “safer” because it reduces insulin stacking.
They will also lower your beginning basal a little bit to be “safe”.
By the way, as far giving tips, I was not trying to be snooty about it. But sometimes too much stuff can be overwhelming. So just get your feet on the ground with it with the basics. You can use it right out-of-the-box as it is.
And then once you get comfortable, hold on tight! We can give you all kinds of cool things to do with it, like how to bolus without looking at it.
Totally agree with you - Like I said, I think I’ve read every post with “Omnipod” in it on this forum and others, and at a certain point it all becomes mush and I can’t remember any of it. I’m totally content with the basics for now, else I’ll drive myself crazy.
You’re starting out the smart way by asking questions early, before your training. I started pumping (with Omnipod) almost a year ago and these pieces of advice from FUD experts really helped me out:
During your initial pump training -
Ask all the questions you need to ask, this is your time with the trainer, so ask away.
Be hands on. When the trainer says “here’s how to set your insulin:carb ratio“, have them tell you what actions to take but with you physically pushing the buttons on the PDM (thanks @Eric for this gem).
Ask your doctor to write your POD and insulin prescriptions to allow for “learning curve”.
- POD RX changes every 2 days (instead of 3).
- Insulin RX (vials) - for example, 10% more units per day (or month) to account for POD errors and syringe corrections. Others here may recommend another % based on longer D experience than mine.
- My state requires an RX to purchase syringes so I asked my doc for one when I started pumping.
One thing I wish I’d known in the beginning is that Insulet will replace basically any pod for any reason if you don’t get your full three days’ worth out of it. I went about six months thinking they’d only replace them if the pod had a fault – not if it was uncomfortable or came loose or you leaked at your site. Then when I finally called them about a legit malfunctioning pod, we went back over other problem pods and I ended up getting nine replacement pods. So don’t be afraid to call Insulet.
Thanks for all the great advice! Another question I might ask… you read so many complaints about the beeping/screaming/screeching alarms with the Omnipod. I’ve also read enough positive reviews and people saying these alarms are pretty rare that I’m not that concerned. However, when it does happen, can you not just use the PDM to shut the thing up?
I was watching a YouTube video in which someone’s Omnipod started screaming while she was demonstrating a bolus. She was surprised, said it had never happened before, and it looked like she just used the pdm to recognize the error message and turn off the pod, and the screaming stopped (and she replaced the pod). Is this usually the case with pod problems? Or are there issues that can’t be quieted with a few button presses?
Yes, the PDM can quiet every single pod alarm with the exception of one where the PDM can no longer communicate with the pod. But you would know that if you tried to bolus or adjust a basal, so it would probably not surprise you.
That situation would be extremely rare. It has never happened to me.
Can’t say it could never happen. But it is fair to say you would probably never ever see that happen. So it isn’t something to really worry about.
It used to be that if I was just leaving the house for a short while and didn’t expect to eat, I’d leave my PDM at home. Having experienced the screaming alarm just once (while at home), I now never leave the house without my PDM.
Ok this is really good to know. I’d wondered what most people do with regard to bringing it along whenever they leave the house, so I’m glad you brought this up!
Along the same lines, what about extra pods/insulin? I was thinking about leaving an extra pod and supplies in my office, just in case. Does this sound reasonable? To what extent do most people bring pod change or pump site change stuff with them when leaving the house??
We had a pod ripped off my son with a play at the plate, (He is a pretty physical catcher) and it started screaming, and we weren’t proficient yet with the PDM, and I will say it was pretty amazing how much abuse it took from me before I finally smashed it enough to just shut up while a baseball game was going on 20 feet away. Would have been good to be proficient with a PDM first.
Yes, a good idea.
3 things I wish I knew.
Highs after new pod. Could be air bubbles settling out, could be site saturation. Although it doesn’t happen everytime, I usually give a tiny bolus before taking off the soon to be expired pod.
Don’t inject bubbles. When filling, don’t push plunger 100% so you aren’t pushing in air.
Cannula injection. I’ve gotten in the habit if slightly pinching the area to be inserted because it seems to allow the cannula to be set better (you’ll hear the clicks).