Three years ago on 25th January 2010, I hooked up to my insulin pump for the very first time. How time flies when you are having fun. I have barely looked back since, save for the occasional pump break or frustrated tubing-catching-on-door incident. Better blood sugar levels, results comparable to the effort I put in and a complete halt to progressing retinopathy issues were among the earliest benefits I saw when I started the pump.
That said, as I enter the last year of my four-year pump warranty, a time when I need to consider what pump I might like when I renew, thoughts of the last 3 years and the pros and cons of my particular pump begin to feature more and more often. I love Medtronic and have found their customer service second to none. This is no secret. I have also always been clear that for me, how 'sexy' the pump appears is far less important than the company behind it; if the pump fails to work at 4am, its va-va-voom will seem worthless when you are trying to reach a company who operate a 9-5pm 'daytime only' customer service line.
But there are elements to my pump that I would look to improve on:
1. Waterproof. My husband and I got together because of a surfing holiday in Cornwall; a holiday we treasure so much that when we got married we took 70 of our dear friends and family there with us. When I went onto an insulin pump surfing became a lot harder because unlike many of the other pumps my Medtronic Paradigm VEO is not waterproof. In fact it seems barely water resistent when you mention water and the pump in the same sentence to a Medtronic rep, actually. Following my weekend at Loughborough University last year, I have given a lot of thought to how much I would love to swim, but am unable to for more than 30 minutes or so. I also find myself questioning whether that post-gym spike is down to the fact that I have been showering and changing after an intense workout, when every last bit of insulin is key. So I have reached the decision I need a pump with some guts to get wet.
2. Tubing. It has been 3 years since I was able to sleep pyjama-less. This may not seem like a big deal, but having tried it once in 42 degree heat in Thailand, almost completely tieing myself up overnight like a cartoon baddy, being tubing free and able to sleep 'al fresco' again, would be devine. The stares at the gym I can deal with but the tubing, as I've said before, is something of a growing bug-bear.
3. Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) capability. In the next four years it is very likely that J-Dizzle and I will be wanting to start a family. At the ripe old age of 30 babies, family and future take up every available waking moment. While I am not funded for CGM and am unlikely to be, Jamie and I have reached the decision that this is a key part of the pregnancy control puzzle we won't do without and will be funding it ourselves. Because of this, pumps with integrated CGM, Dexcom in my case, are of much greater interest.
As Medtronic are not yet rocking a waterproof version and are only able to have their own Enlite CGM sensors integrated, I feel I am almost certainly approaching end of my Medtronic journey. Instead, my eyes now wander regularly to one of two pumps in particular: