Friday, December 4, 2015

Medtronic vs Animas

    I have been thinking for a while now that I should put down what I think about the difference between the Medtronic insulin pump that we used to have and the Animas insulin pump we have now. I have no affiliation with either company so I am just telling you what I think based on use and not because someone is paying me to do so. I will list some pros and cons for each system and tell you the things that I think are important when making this decision. I am an equipment development engineer and I design testing systems, wire the electrical systems and develop the software for automotive testing for a living. 

Insulin pump evaluation:
    My overall impression is that Medtronic has a better pump just based on software and controls. Both pumps do the job they are designed for and blood glucose is maintained well by both. My problem with the Animas pump is the software hangs and is unresponsive when starting and stopping the pump. It can also be unresponsive when starting the continuous glucose monitoring system (CGM). When entering the carbohydrates or blood glucose number the pump overshoots or undershoots badly and it is very annoying. After using it for six months I thought it would get better but it is just annoying and very frustrating at times. I do like the all of the information that the Animas pump displays. It is good for someone that knows what they are looking at but it can also be intimidating to someone that is just trying to help out like a school nurse, the secretaries at the front desk at my sons school and daycare workers. The Medtronic pump seemed easier to explain and I didn't have to tell them to just ignore things all of the time. It is also easier to edit the basal rate information, sensitivity number and  the food ratios on the Anmias pump. I am disappointed by the Animas pump as it feels that they just added the circuit board to the pump for the Dexcom CGM and really did not work to integrate it with the pump. Having both systems in one small package is awesome, especially when you have a seven year old that is responsible for it's care. The Medtronic pump has a few different meters that send the blood glucose reading directly to the pump. This is a nice feature that I really miss with the Animas pump. Medtronic clearly wins with the careful integration of the CGM and blood glucose meter systems, smooth software flow and simplicity. If I were solely choosing an insulin pump I would pick Medtronic over Animas everyday of the week.

The Continuous Glucose Monitoring System: (CGM)
    Dexcom is hands down the best when it comes to CGM systems. They are more accurate, the sensor wire is smaller and more comfortable and the sensor pad is much larger so it is easier to keep on a seven year old. The CGM is integrated into both pumps but the Animas pump feels like two different systems. The Medtronic CGM is fully integrated into the system and it feels like one harmonious system working together to give the user a seamless experience. The blood glucose number populates with what the CGM on the Medtronic pump while the Animas pump always start at 80 no matter what the CGM is reading. The trend graph for the CGM is always on the front panel for the Medtronic pump. The Animus pump you have to click through three different windows just to see this graph. This further highlights the feel of two different systems. The Medtronic CGM was less accurate for the time that we had it. It was also much harder to keep on a seven year old and he told me it hurt more when I put it on him. I also like having the separate Decom receiver to have by the bed at night to warn me when he is trending high or low. The extra reliever was $500 and I do not have to by my seven year old a phone vs the $2500 it would cost for the "night watch" system that Medtronic had. Plus the receiver is small so I can put it in my pocket and take it with me when we are going somewhere. Also a big bonus!!! The Dexcom 5 has integration with the IPhone. When William gets older this might be an option but for now I am glad that I can keep the receiver with me and not have to pay a phone bill for it.

If I had to pick again I would still pick the Animas but only because it has the Dexcom added, because I would not say integrated. If things stay the way they are now I would look at the T Slim now that the Dexcom has been added to this pump. I would still be looking to see if the Dexcom was integrated or just added to the package. It should feel like one seamless system no matter who you go with. Medtronic has this feel but the CGM is not as good. The CGM to me is the most important part after the insulin delivery.

Just my thoughts

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Christmas is Coming

    Well we made it through Thanksgiving. We had a wonderful time at Jen's brothers house with great food and good company. It feels a little strange for me not to be in the middle of helping make dinner but it is also kind of nice to just sit back and relax for a holiday too. William told me that he went to his grandmothers house for Thanksgiving and he got to see his older sister. I was glad he got to see her again so quickly. He really misses her and he was excited to see her again. Now it is time already for his birthday and then on to Christmas. 

    We put up the tree on Sunday. Jen and I put the tree together and put the lights on. We waited for William to get home to help put the rest of the decorations on the tree. We bought a lot of new decorations last year to add to the memories of old. It is nice to be able to look back over the years and see William and his older brother through the years of Christmas. William asked all kinds of questions about the pictures and the frames that they are in. I need to get a new frame from the craft store and have him paint one for this year and add a picture. I do not want to lose the history of Christmas with William. I will not have William for Christmas this year. It makes it a little harder to get excited about Christmas but I want to make sure that William has the best year ever. Santa will just have to visit a day early.

    It has been a good year all the way around and I am thankful for the blessings that surround us this year. School seems to be going better this year and William does his homework and spelling with little help. He has been doing great on his homework and seems to care about getting them all right. I am glad to see that he is starting to take ownership for his effort. He had a spelling list for this week that we started yesterday. He was disappointed that he got four wrong. I was very glad to see that he only got four wrong on the first day of trying the new list. We are making progress and I do not get any fight from him to get him to sit down and do his work anymore. We sit down, I give him a word, he spells it and then repeats the word when he has completed the word so I know to move on. When the list is done we check his test and he spells the words seven times each for the first day, eight for the second day, nine for the third and ten times on Thursday. On Thursday we also keep going until he has a perfect score. We take a test and any that he got wrong he writes ten times and we take the spelling test again. We keep doing this until he gets them all right. He used to complain about that until I sat down with him and explained that I want him to do his best and that I want him to be proud of himself. I want him to know that he has the capability to do what ever he wants to but sometimes it takes a lot of work to get there. He doesn't complain anymore. In fact we celebrate when he finally does get them all right and he has the biggest smile on his face. He is proud of himself and that is worth everything to me.

    I had William tell me that he is so smart yesterday. It was good to hear him say that. He can be tough on himself for his actions. He comes down really hard for some of the choices that he makes and that is hard to hear. It was nice to hear him say positive things about himself. I have been trying more lately to get him to say good things about how he feels and what he does. Maybe I will start making this something we do before bed every night. Tell me one thing that makes you feel good about yourself today. He needs that extra boost of confidence in himself. I think it will make him stronger as a person. 

    This year diabetes was held at bay for the most part. William's A1C's were below where the guidelines say he needs to be. Lower is better for those that do not have this as part of their life everyday. We have a few new tools to use to make life easier and I am glad that it means more sleep for me at night. He is due for his yearly blood draw and I am not looking forward to that. I guess I will try to take care of that while I'm off for the next month. William hates getting his blood drawn. It takes multiple people to hold him down. I remember when I was younger I was the same way. I remember when a nurse threatened to kick me back if I kicked her when she was trying to poke me with a needle. Now I give blood every two months. Life really does change.

    That is another thing I am blessed with. This year they gave us five weeks of vacation but didn't tell us until July. I was used to only having three weeks off. Now I get most of the month of December off.  I am ready for the break from work. I think I will try to spend some time working with students over the break to get them ready for the upcoming robotics season. We still need to officially launch the new technical center but the community support has been heart warming. I have been involved with robotics a lot this year and I am lucky to have someone that supports those efforts. I have gotten to see every level from K-12 this year. I have also helped the middle school group with programming their robot and figuring things out. I am lucky to have one of my brightest programmers from the high school level there giving her time to help get them running. We have worked together to figure out the new programming language and hardware and we have a moving robot.  

    As you can see I am a blessed man. My heart is filled with love from those around me and it make it easy to give that love to others. 

I am proud of you buddy,

Your Loving Dad

A Story by William

William's letter about Lucky     William sat down yesterday an wrote a letter about Lucky our dog. He wanted me to publish it. So ...