Thursday, 23 July 2015

Pump upgrade: Medtronic 640G

Since I last posted on my blog, a few things have happened...I turned 18, booked my first driving lesson, and yesterday I got my new insulin pump!

June 14th marked exactly four years with my purple Medtronic Veo, or as I liked to call it, Maurice. Maurice and I had a good four years together, there was a slight love-hate relationship going on but on the whole I loved my Veo. It had been through a lot...I dropped it in the bath accidentally a couple of times, dropped it on the floor countless times, let it swing from my body many times, accidentally bashed it on cabinets and door frames and experienced the dreaded 'Button Error' which thankfully did not amount to anything more. Through all the rough and tumble, it survived all four years with no replacement pumps! I did return a very scratched up pump to the hospital, but it was my original pump and it proved to be a very robust pump indeed.

I've moved on from my purple Veo, Maurice, and have a new insulin pump- the Medtronic 640G! I went to the hospital yesterday to get the pump along with a couple of other people who were also upgrading their pumps and we spent from 2-4pm learning all about the 640G and it's different features. In general, I love the look and feel of this insulin pump, it's sleek and it looks modern and the buttons have a nice 'click' to them, if that even makes sense! The colour screen is a huge improvement from the older Medtronic pumps, it no longer looks like an old Nokia phone with the game 'Snake' installed. The fact that it is waterproof really excites me, I mean, my old pump did come into contact with water more times than it should have done...but it was ok, and so I like to think that the old pumps are water resistant to some extent. I'm looking forward to plunging my 640G into the sink one day to really test out it's "waterproof-ness" (That's not a real word I'm sure), but I won't be doing that any time soon, it's too new!

In terms of the actual functions of the pump, they're also pretty cool. I love that you can stop a bolus. If you change your mind about how much you're going to eat or if you want to eat more then you can stop the bolus, the pump will tell you how many units it had already given you, and then you can go ahead and set up a new bolus. On the old pumps if you wanted to cancel a bolus you had to suspend it which in turn suspended everything, including your basal rates, whereas with the 'Stop bolus' feature, it just stops the bolus, nothing else...your basal will continue and won't stop either. Whatever it has just given you, will go straight into your 'Active insulin' which now shows up on the home screen, unlike on the old pumps were you had to press 'ESC' to bring up the screen and then scroll down to see your active insulin. You can also change the volume of the alarms, and set it to vibrate or's a bit like a mobile phone in the fact that you can see what sound setting you have on in the status bar. To save battery you can make it "sleep", so you can make the screen go off and it won't suspend insulin delivery or anything. If you're wearing a sensor then the home screen will display the sensor graph, if you're not wearing a sensor then it will show your most recent BG for 12 minutes, the Medtronic rep told us that they chose 12 minutes as the time frame to display your BG because after 12 minutes you might have checked again if you were low and after 12 minutes your BG will have most likely changed.

The buttons light up which makes it so much easier to use in the dark, the carbohydrate and bg screens are all on one screen now, whereas with the older pumps you had to enter your BG, then press ACT and then move onto the carbohydrate screen and if you wanted to go back a step it would make you re-enter the carbs. If you're on the menu you can just hold down the back button and it will take you all the way back to the home screen, but if you don't want to go back to the home screen then just press back and it will take you back a step...but if you're changing insulin settings or anything like that you just have to make sure that you press 'Save' before going back to the home screen! I also enjoy the fact that it has little icons up in the status bar such as an insulin vial icon that is green and turns red when you're low on insulin, it also has a green battery icon that will turn red when you're low on battery.

Last but not least, this insulin pump has 'Smart Guard' on it. This feature is activated when you're wearing a sensor with the pump, it will suspend insulin delivery when the sensor detects a downward trend in your blood sugar. You set a 'Low limit' on the pump, which is something like 3.4mmol, and the insulin delivery will be suspended when your blood sugar is 3.9mmol above your low limit and it detects that your blood sugar is will then resume insulin delivery once your blood sugar is back to normal, or your can resume it manually once you know your blood sugar is back to a safe range. What I learnt yesterday during the upgrade that this is a very sensitive sensor and it can fail or end early. For example, the Medtronic rep at the pump upgrade told us yesterday that if your blood sugar is not stable at the time of calibration it can reject a calibration and will tell you to do it again, two rejected calibrations in a row will make the sensor end because it will suspect that something is wrong with it and tell you to put in a new sensor. Another tip the Medtronic rep told us yesterday was not to calibrate it too much or it will get confused, the best times for calibration are before meals or at a time when you know your blood sugar is stable. My sensor ended yesterday after two failed calibrations and so I am yet to experience the Smart Guard feature as that was my last sensor until I order more, but I will be sure to blog once I have a sensor on and once I experience the Smart Guard.

That is all I have to say about the pump and it's features so far, but overall I really like the pump and I think the fact that it still has tubing is made up for with it's really cool features.


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