Home  |  Contact Us  |  Site Map  |  Staff Tools  |  Classes  |  Newsroom

  Chat Transcript
Open Q & A and Insulin Pump Basics - Karen Baker, C.D.E. and Annette Bovenzi (patient), June 4, 2013
 KarenB@Unity:
Welcome to the Unity Diabetes Online Community! I’m Karen Baker, a certified diabetes educator from Unity Diabetes & Endocrinology Services, and I’ll be hosting today’s chat. I’d like to introduce Annette Bovenzi, who has been using an insulin pump for 5 years, and agreed to share her experience with us tonight. We’re glad you could join us today and we’re excited to answer all of your questions.

Before we get started let me just tell you how we’ll address your questions and comments today. I answer questions one at a time, in the order that they are posted to the site, and there might be a slight delay as I respond to each question. It may take a few minutes for me to type answers to your questions, so please stay logged-in to the chat to see my response, even if it takes a few minutes. And you might need to refresh every few minutes to keep up with the latest posts in the chat if you switch to another application on your computer.

Let’s get started.

 Sharon@Unity:
 Hi Karen and Annette, If you are considering going on a insulin pump what would be the top benefits, and what would I need to do to be considered?
 Annette:
 Hi Sharon. I have worn an insulin pump for 5 years. I see the top benefits as - no more needles, no more guessing about mealtime coverage (the pump figures everything out for me and delivers it.) It is small, smaller than a cell phone. It's portable and I have found my control to be excellent. When I visit my doctor, he is able to upload all of my information at a glance so that he can see how I've been doing since my last visit and make any changes to my pump settings as needed.
 KarenB@Unity:
Annette, what process did you go through to qualify for the pump? 
 juanitajolley:
 Welcome to the both of you. I can read my insulin pump very well in the dark but can see nothing on the screen in the sunshine. On the other hand, my meter screen is only visible in the light. Any suggestions? I'm especially concerned that I couldn't bolus at a picnic the other day.
Annette: 
My endocrinologist and diabetic educator evaluated my history and we discussed that a pump might give me improved control and lessen my risks for complications including kidney disease, eye disease and vascular disease. The doctor's office completed paperwork which was reviewed by my insurance company. The whole process took less than a month between approval, delivery of the pump to my home and training at the doctor's office. I know that costs vary with different insurance coverage. 
 Annette: 
 I was fortunate to have a policy that covered my pump in full. I do, however, have a co-pay for supplies each month, but it is quite reasonable. I find it very helpful that the supply company sends me automatic refills on supplies. I never need to call or think about it.
  KarenB@Unity:
 Annette, what were your concerns before going on an insulin pump?
 Sharon@Unity:
 Now that it is summer, can you swim with your pump on? Are there special attachments to keep it protected?
 Annette: 
 Well, I guess I didn't know if I could manage it myself, although that proved to be a non-issue. I am a Registered Nurse and I have seen patients well into their 80's with no medical background who can manage their own pumps just fine. I had questions that needed to be answered. For example, when can I remove the pump, traveling with the pump, what kind of support I would have once on the pump, where do I insert it and clip it to my body, will it be visible through my clothes?
 Annette:  
 Sharon, I love to swim at the YMCA or beach. I simply remove the pump itself from the infusion site, cover the small cannula opening with a little disc (it's about the size of a quarter), and go for my swim.
 KarenB@Unity: 
The pump can be removed for swimming, showers, medical tests (some tests don't even require removal) or other circumstances for up to an hour and very easily reattached. 
sassy35:  
What happens if someone who uses an insulin pump needs to be hospitalized? 
 sassy35:  
 Or have surgery?
 Sharon@Unity:
Karen, that pump that looks like a pod – is that an easy one to use? 
 KarenB@Unity: 
Hi juanitajolley. Unfortunately, many of the pumps that have been on the marketplace for the last several years come with the disadvantage of a somewhat hard-to-read screen under certain circumstances. Technology has advanced very quickly, and some of the newer pumps and many of the new meters in the marketplace are more like cell phones in that they are very bright and easy to read. Annette, have you found this to be a problem and, if so, any suggestions for juanita?
 Annette:  
Hi Juanita. I have found this to be an issue also. When I am outside or at a picnic, I try to find a restroom or shaded area (under a tree) or even go back to my car so I can see the screen.
 juanitajolley:
 Thanks Karen and Annette.
 KarenB@Unity: 
Hi Sharon. My opinion is that all of the pumps are quite easy to use once trained. The omnipod has certain advantages over other pumps in that there is no tubing. The insulin is contained in a pod and attached to the body. It can hold up to 200 units of insulin and needs to be changed after 3 days, just like the other pumps. Disadvantages include higher cost associated with the pods (supplies). Also, some patients find that the pod is heavier and a bit more bulky than traditional pumps.
 lucyblue:
 Annette, do you have any issues with the pump irritating your skin where it is attached? How many days do you wear it?
 KarenB@Unity: 
 Sharon, continued – infusion sets are a little less comfortable. One of the biggest disadvantages is that the omnipod is not covered by many insurance plans to date.
 KarenB@Unity: 
Hi Sassy. Thanks for your question. At Unity Hospital and many other hospitals nationwide, patients are allowed to continue to wear their insulin pumps under most circumstances throughout their admission if they feel well enough to continue to use it independently. Also, pumps are often continued throughout short surgeries (those lasting less than 2 hours.)  
 sassy35:
 That's good to know - thank you, Karen.
Annette:  
 Hi Sassy. As a nurse in the hospital, I have seen many patients continue to use their pumps with great results. Patients test their own blood sugar using their own meter and report the results to their nurse along with how much insulin they are bolusing with the pump so that the information can be put in the medical record.
 Sharon@Unity:
 Thanks Karen, great information.
KarenB@Unity:  
 Annette, you mentioned traveling earlier and I know you enjoy visiting those grandchildren of yours across the country. Have you experienced any issues with travel?
Jane@Unity:  
If you are on a pump and you skip a meal what do you do? 
sassy35:  
Annette – so a patient can just plan on bringing their supplies, etc. when they go to the hospital? 
 Annette:
 Yes, Sassy, a patient can bring their insulin, infusion sets and meters and should be encouraged to do so.
 sassy35:
Thanks, Annette! 
 Annette:
 Hi Jane. If I skip a meal, I still test my blood sugar and the pump calculates how much insulin it will be providing to me. The pump always knows if I have insulin still circulating in my body, so I don't have to worry about giving myself too much or too little.
 Sharon@Unity:
 Those pumps sound amazing! Will they balance my checkbook too?
 Jane@Unity:
 If I wear a pump and am under stress, will the pump automatically give me insulin?
 Annette:
 Karen – here are some tips I have found helpful for travel: Plan to arrive at the airport in plenty of time before your flight (2-3 hours.) Remove your pump before you enter the security line (I put mine in a ziplock bag) and notify the security screener that I am wearing a pump. Make sure the security screener takes the pump and examines it visually (versus putting it through the scanner, which can damage the pump). Never put the pump in your purse or carry on luggage because it will be exposed to the scanner's magnetic force, which will damage the pump. I have never had any problems or questions in terms of taking my insulin supplies with me.
 Annette:
Sharon – LOL! I wish they could. No stress relief for the checkbook balancing at this point, but at least I can feel a great sense of relief that I am managing my diabetes much easier and much better overall. I feel so much healthier and have so much more energy now that my diabetes is under such good control. 
 KarenB@Unity:
Annette, thanks so much for all of the fantastic information! Any last minute thoughts?
 Sharon@Unity:
Thank you Karen and Annette for the great conversation.
 juanitajolley:
 Thank you, Annette and Karen, for answering our concerns tonight.
Annette:
 If your physician offers educational classes for pump uses, try to attend. You will meet other pump patients and the staff will help you brainstorm any problems. I learned something new from every class.
 KarenB@Unity:
 Annette, you mentioned support as one of your initial concerns. Do you feel you have been well supported overall?
 lucyblue:
 Thanks Karen and Annette - very good info!
 KarenB@Unity:
 That’s all the time we have for today. I’ve really enjoyed our conversation and hope that I was able to provide some insight for you. If we didn’t get to your question today or if you think of another question later on – feel free to jump into the conversation in the forum, or submit a question using our “Ask an expert” feature. Be sure to join us for our next chat on Tuesday, June 25 at 8 p.m. with Dr. Bingham, an endocrinologist at Unity Diabetes & Endocrinology Services. He will be holding an open Q&A session to answer all of your diabetes questions.
 
 
Diabetes events and classes to help you get the support you need. Diabetes classes and diabetes events
November 25, 2014
3:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

 
Monday – Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Phone: (585) 368-4560
© 2013 Unity Health System, Rochester, N.Y.