I Have a New Pump! (Sorta)

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I was happier than a snail with the wind to its back to have my insulin pump kick up its little feet, clutch a lily to its chest, and die. Because it was still under warranty, the company sent me a “new” (reconditioned) pump. I was thrilled! It gave me more time to search around for another pump.

You see, I have a Cozmo. I love my Cozmo. Of all the insulin pumps I’ve had (three), it’s my favorite. I’d buy another in a heartbeat.

Sadly, I can’t. The company got out of the insulin pump business after it lost a patent infringement lawsuit brought by another company. The outcome of the suit was that Cozmo’s company had to shell out several million bucks and would have had to pay a royalty on every pump it sold.

Hence, the end of the Cozmo pump — and the beginning of my dilemma. The only other pump I would consider only holds 200 units of insulin and, as somebody with Type 2 diabetes, I use a lot of insulin. Depending on what else is going on in my life, I can use as much as 150 units per day just for basal insulin. Two hundred units wasn’t gonna cut it. And I didn’t much care for any of the 300-unit pumps available.

Then I attended the American Association of Diabetes Educators Annual Meeting last week and saw what’s coming. Oh, my! None have yet been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration, but I can wait thanks to my “new” (reconditioned) Cozmo.

While my warranty expires in December, I’ve never been one to buy a new pump just because I can. Some of that may have to do with the fact that my insurance company sets a $2,500-per-year cap on durable medical equipment, leaving me to pay the rest. Pumps cost around $6,000, although there can be deductions.

If something breaks, or if the pump starts coughing, I’ll get a new one. But I don’t wait until then to choose my next pump. In fact, I’m already beginning to choose my next one, whenever I may end up needing it.

At AADE, I found three pumps I could fancy: One from Roche, one from Tandem Diabetes Care, and one from (as near as I can figure) D. Medical Industries.

Roche currently has the Accu-Chek Spirit, which I don’t care for. Coming, however — as soon as the FDA says it can — is the Accu-Chek Combo, which holds 315 units of insulin. It comes with a wireless Aviva Combo meter that can operate the pump (or the pump can be operated on its own), as well as with an emergency back-up pump. Among the features is one that calculates a bolus based on a number of factors, including insulin on board; carbs to be eaten; current blood glucose level; whether the meal is high-carb, high-protein or whatever; and variables such as exercise levels, stress, and such.

If you buy a Spirit now, or if you bought one after Februrary 15, 2009, you can get a free upgrade to the Combo.

You might get the Tandem Diabetes Care’s t:slim pump confused with your smartphone. It’s about the same thickness, as well as being the same size as a credit card. A rechargeable power source (the once-weekly charge takes about 10 minutes — just plug it into a USB port, take your shower, and it’s done by the time you dry off) and innovative delivery method makes it possible for the color-touch-screen pump to be tiny and still hold 300 units of insulin.

I didn’t find out much about the Spring Patch Pump at its booth. While there was a pump on display, the company was promoting its new Spring Universal Infusion Set. I did find out that it holds 300 units of insulin (which meets my requirements) and later tracked down the information that it can be worn with an infusion set or directly on the skin. Oh — and you can use it with or without a remote unit. It’s one to keep an eye on.

As I said earlier, none have been approved for sale yet, but I can wait. In the meantime, I’m pumped about what’s coming along.

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