I am giving up the Omnipod. Omnipod lovers please skip this discussion

I asked that those who love the omnipod not to read this because I know how defensive people get about their pods and I truly need advice and don't want to be bashed and blamed for the lack of success I have had. I am also not bashing the Omnipod system- just sharing my experience and disappointment. I really need help. Thank you. I think it's great that some of you have great success with the system, but I haven't.

I have been on the Omnipod for 3.5 years and it's been a tough journey. I had it working well on and off and when it did it was amazing. The last 6 months have been horrible. I have a 30% failure rate during priming. Here and there I'll have only one pod fail out of a box of ten- 10% rate. They also fail while I am wearing them. The PDM also has failed three times in a year. It's not user error. I have had reps, technicians, and my doctor all confirm that I am doing everything right. I've had a few months go by and everything was great. Then with no change in diet, exercise, or application the pods go bad and malfunction left and right. Yesterday customer service told me that the pods may be expiring even though there is more than a year left until the expiration date. They also said they have had quality control issues in the past and maybe I have old pods from that time period. My A1C has gone from 5.9 to 8.1 incrementally. 5.9 was on MDI

So I have to give it up and am very nervous. It was my first pump in 23 years of having diabetes. Now I am going all the way and getting a tubed pump and don't know what to expect and feel very depressed about it. The thought of being tethered to a tube makes me feel like I am a sick person when I have always maintained a positive attitude about having diabetes and not made it who I am, just something I have. I love the freedom of the Omnipod and the idea of it is brilliant. it just hasn't been reliable for me. I am so amazed and impressed how many people here get it to work so well. I try so hard and just don't understand it.

so I am writing to find out what to expect. Those of you who have gone from a tubed pump to the Omnipod- can you help me understand what I am going to experience? What to prepare for? Has anyone else gotten to where I am with the Omnipod? Anyone else close? I am really scared about the insertions of the cannula. I hear they hurt a lot more than the pods. Is that true? How much is my life going to change?
Thank you so much.

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Replies to This Discussion

Hi there.

I know, as an OmniPod user, that I was supposed to skip this, but I was using a tubed pump before (Disetronic products). The cannula insertion with those was definitely tougher than the OmniPod insertion, but it was not torturous for me by any means. One nice thing about the tubed pump is that if you do disconnect it, you have (generally), a small "plug" covering the lock with the infusion set, instead of a half-egg-sized thing on your body. I generally used the shortest tubing I could get, to cut down on the chances that I would get the tubing caught on something. It didn't always work. Doorknobs were a particularly annoying enemy of mine. Also, if an occlusion occurs, you're tossing out a (relatively) cheap thing, rather than a whole Pod, with, potentially, hundreds of units of insulin.

On the negative side, though, you can still have occlusions, bad sites for insulin uptake, and inflammation at the infusion site.

I've had some bad experiences with the OmniPod, as well. I've had some priming failures, mostly from one box in particular. I've had sites that did not deliver insulin well. I've even had Pods suddenly stope working and make the constant beeeeeeeep noise that is impossible to get rid of. But, I like it better than the current alternatives for me.

I think that medical technology for diabetics could use a serious overhaul. I thought that the OmniPod was a good start.

Good luck!
After high rates of pod failures when I started, I now have about one every 4 months or so from occlusion, and I can't remember when I last had a priming failure. I know you've probably read this before, but I can't emphasize enough how scrupulous you must be about bubbles.
1) Insulin at room temp. Gasses have higher solubility at colder temperatures, so if you prime with cold insulin, gasses will come out of solution as it warms during the process.
2) When drawing up the insulin with the needle still in the vial, flick and inject as much of the air bubbles as you can back into the vial. Let the bubbles rise to the bottom of the vial and the solution clear. Repeat until you have the dose you want. Withdraw the syringe from the vial and point the needle to the floor and flick and tap the bubbles free for a minute or more so they all collect up at the plunger. At this point the volume of bubbles should be so small that when you inject into the pod, any residual bubbles should reside in the dead volume of the needle and have no chance to be injected into the pod.

I also mentioned earlier about finding that my bluetooth phone was causing communication issues when I 1st started with the pods.

The devil is in the details, and these devices sometimes seem they are manufactured in Hell...
Thanks for the reminder about the actual injection of the insulin into the pod. I also found myself throwing away fewer pods if I took more care in managing the bubbles in the needle. After my initial draw, I'll tap and reinject the bubbles back into the vial as much as possible. When I withdraw the needle from the vial, I'll turn the syringe upside down to see how many bubbles there are, and to see if I can get them to form together. Then I turn the syringe upright again and flick the top of the syringe to move those bubbles up into the needle, if possible and then push a small stream of insulin to "burb" the needle. It seems to work because i've had fewer occlusions.

I also found that I have better success if I wear the pod on my thigh and arm, the thigh being safer from my own clumsy self than my arm which does have a natural affinity for running into doors.

Jan
Going from 5.9 to 8.1 is definitely unacceptable. Obviously this is not working for you. Hope you have a better experience with the next pump.
Same here- I just want to offer you encouragement and pray for success in any choice you make. My daughter (10 yrs old) is on the Omni Pod and so far, it's a fit. I hate that you weren't able to have success with a tubeless pump and that there are no other tubeless options. So, you are doing the right thing for YOU. Moving on to another product. I will pray for much success in the next step of your journey. You are a hero to a mom like me who does not know the full effect of T1 and the reality of living with it.
Brooklyn- I mainly use tubed pumps. I train people on pumps so I have had the oppurtunity to use the Omni quite a bit.
The best thing about the Omni is the auto insertion. I only say this because it means for me more sites are accessible to use. Otherwise Omni vs tubes is either neutral or tubed wins (in my book anyway). The insertion for tubed pumps does not hurt anymore than Omni- I sometimes get very painful ones from either Omni or tubed. Heck I used to get quite painful injections too!

The tethered buisness is not all that bad either. Like you had mentioned elsewhere you have pulled the Pod off by hitting doors etc. I actually find I am far less likely to pull out a tubed pump than the Omni. I just make sure that ALL my tubing is tucked in to whatever clothing I am wearing and I rarely have a problem.

Yes you will still have sites go bad but you can completely take away the possibility that it is the pumps fault.

I am sure you will find your own negatives and positives of tubed pumps but overall it seems for you it may be a good switch.
Thanks MossDog. I too find the Omnipod insertion painful- well about 3/4 of the time and when people started saying the tubed pump insertions hurt more I got nervous.
Brooklyn,
I just started on Omnipod on June 10, 2011. I was on the Deltec Cosmo for 4 years until march 2010. I was having a lot of trouble with infusion site failures. i would put in new infusion set and 3 hours later my BS would be 300. Change infusion site/set and go back down, then 1 day or maybe only a few hours later, BS going high. i was going through infusion sets 5 times a day when I stopped and went back on shots. I was mad and very frustrated by my experience with pumps. Then in January of this year I started rethinking my failures and realized I was using the same part of my body for the insion sites, my stomach. It was the only spot I could easily reach for the tubing. More thinking and I figured out out I had injected insulin into the same area for 20 years ( a lot of scar tissue? sensitivity to the adhesive?) I do not know for sure, but this time with Omni, I am using all of the areas available to me and have not had much trouble (I just don't use that part of my stomach). I too have had the pod scream at me on filling (the first one at startup), but I was using cold insulin. I also had some that alarmed and would not shut off. I took them apart and they stopped. I do help the pod stay on by putting 3M Durapore tape over the pump. Everyone is different, so I agree with the comment about doing what is best for you, so I am certainly not going to argue with you. IT IS YOUR DECISION. Make the best desion for you. Good luck Hank
Hank, that is a great point, and one of the good reasons your doctor can use to justify the Omnipod to your insurance company if your run into coverage issues. I use back of upper arms, much larger areas of the belly, like under the ribcage that I normally wouldn't use, thighs, and lower back (haven't tried that).
Hi Hank- yes I skip my stomach now altogether because I used it so much for 23 years while on MDI. I use my legs and arms a lot on the pod and occasionally my back though it seems to occlude more often there. Do you think or have you heard that pumps cause scar tissue to form faster than MDI? I have considered that I am having a scar tissue problem though my doctor doesn't believe this is the case- could play a role though.
Brooklyn,
I am no expert but. having lived with this crazy disease for 20 years as T2 and taking insulin the whole time, nothing about diabetes sounds strange. I have figured out we are all different and the things that may or not affect me, someone else is ok with. I can go low in 1/2 hour from being ok, or high in the same time. Sometimes nothing makes sense. Go with your intuition and do what is best for you. The only thing I would suggest (strongly) is do your homework and research your solutions (seems like you're doing that). I at first had no problem with tubed pumps, but I had a lot of infusion sets fall off in the summertime heat and humidity here in North Carolina (I work outside a lot and sweat). Omnipod seems a little less susceptible because I can use more spots that sweat less and I always use tape on top. As I said earlier, I think I have a lot of scar tissue in my stomach, although your doctor may not agree. I also use the fatty area on my upper chest, even though that is not on recommended chart. Keep searching Hank
Hank- are the available sites for a tubed pump that different than the omnipod? Can it be worn on the arms and legs? This is how little I know...

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