How much do you really know about your pump?


as i have been on this site, i have learned invaluable info regarding how to live with the best D control as possible. i have been on my MM pump for 14+ years, and as i am learning, i recognize that i know only the very basics about my insulin pump and its many functions.

i have learned that eating pizza is something only a very few have “mastered,” i have learned that despite my cde info, i am not alone in having to bolus for protein. i need to bolus for most fats that are in foods i was told “you don’t need insulin for that” i have learned about trial and error/experimenting w/ things like dual blousing. i have learned, most importantly, that we are ALL different. many of us prefer the MDI, while others, like myself prefer to use the pump. it all takes education. correct info, info that works. as others on this site have shared w/ me, there is a surprise reaction that i am slow to know the multitude of the features on my pump. are there any of you out there that have this similar situation? am i alone in not knowing all the features that the pump has? i have to peddle backwards and read the darned instruction manual, i know; but the best info i get is from all of you.


To be fair, I can’t read the print in the instruction manual. It’s too small and light colored to be able to read by my diabetic eye disease eyes.


I use the Animas Vibe and as part of the training my doctor requested I go through the five week Blood Sugar Management program Animas offers. So for five weeks, via phone and e-mail, I am accountable to a diabetes RN who helps me to manage my blood sugar and learn all the ins and outs and tools of my pump.

At first I was a bit indignant at the thought of going through a blood sugar management course. “I know how to control my blood sugar just fine, thank you!” I thought to myself. But it’s not learning how to manage my blood sugar, it’s learning how to use my pump to help me manage my blood sugar.

And I am very grateful for it. :smiley:


You are definitely not alone! As a fellow Medtronic user I can attest that it’s by no means the most user-friendly interface. There are a lot of things down in the sub-menus that take many clicks to get to, and I’ve had a number of these pointed out to me from more expert (or patient) pumpers here on TuD. I don’t think anyone is trying to make me feel dumb when pointing these out, but it can feel that way just because “D’oh!”

There’s an expression in the tech world, RTFM (Read The Effing Manual), but that expression wouldnt exist if we weren’t all a bit lazy–and if tech writers were better at their jobs.


I know all the features of my pump, I read the manual twice before I even started on my pump. That way I have as many tools as possible when dealing my D and I know how t trouble shoot by myself if I need to. Other things (my phone, computer, tablet, etc.) I have not read the manuals for. These devices are not life and death, though. Life and death may seem dramatic, but that’s the way I think about it and that thought keeps me diligent. I also had SO read the manual and he went with me to my pump start so that he can be my back-up and help me.

Edited to add: I have the T:Slim and it’s incredibly user friendly, which is one of the reasons I chose it. I feel that there are right and wrong pumps for everyone. I wouldn’t buy a phone if I wasn’t able to use all the features because it is too difficult or not user-friendly enough.


I have read the manuals of all of my pumps, but I’ll admit I read the manual on most of the stuff I plug into my life. For sure one that is going to deliver insulin! I also read the label on any prescription that is dropped in my hands.

My first pump was a MM506, the manual was not nearly as big or wordy since the pump was quite limited in operation and technology. Back then, you did not get to put the pump on until you went to a three day stay in a diabetes clinic for pump training. Since then each new pump required that on-line training be done and a certificate of completion be issued before supplies could be ordered. That training indicated that the pumper understood the pump, the settings, and even the reasoning. I find the manual to be quite helpful, certainly if I run into an error, or alarm with it.

I may just be lucky but in my life with diabetes my docs and support system expect me to manage my diabetes. No one has ever made changes or told me what changes to make in my pump settings. I’ve never found a need to ask though…probably because I KNOW how to do it (thanks manual and training!), and why, and when to test before I make a change.

The manual is not designed to teach how to bolus for pizza for cryin’ out loud! It is also not designed to teach you how to manage your blood glucose. THOSE things need to be understood before you ever slap the thing on your body. I am learning that pumps are being distributed far and wide and folks like them because now they can eat pizza. That causes me worry, if folks don’t even understand the basics of insulin and how to use it for their food choices - how on earth will a pump help?

I strongly believe that anyone being prescribed a pump needs to understand how to use insulin in the first place. It’s great that you do “know only the very basics about my insulin pump and its many functions.”, but when I roll in to TuD every day and the first thing that pops up is another Daisy_Mae pizza thread it causes me to think that you don’t know the basics of insulin use and the effects and timing and how to determine when and how much and what to do it that didn’t work. The pump won’t tell you those things! You really need to know them to set the pump up, it looks to me like your settings could use some revision.

There are some excellent books that I will now recommend (in addition to the manual / and the MM training modules on line) - Pumping Insulin: Everything You Need to Succeed on an Insulin Pump 5th Edition by John Walsh, Think Like a Pancreas: A Practical Guide to Managing Diabetes with Insulin by Gary Scheiner, and the ageless Using Insulin: Everything You Need for Success with Insulin by John Walsh.

I have asked more than once and continue to wonder if you have done or know how to do the necessary testing to see if those things you do know “only the very basics about my insulin pump and its many functions.” - are even set up properly.

Seems like this topic pushes my buttons LOL! The veiled poke makes me chuckle!! The best info available in my opinion is in your own hands. I have learned how to bolus for pizza because I like pizza very much and it’s worth taking the time to figure out what works. I also know how to bolus for an apple, an egg, an egg sandwich, a bowl of strawberries, a BLT and beer at the pub, and if I goof then I know how to fix it! The pump training did not tell me how to do all that, I had to know it before I could use the pump at all. We were taught nutrition and cause and effect of our choices in addition to the bells and whistles of our pump. Times are sure changed…when I got my pump there was no DOC (that I knew of), the available resource was the manual / or CS if a pump problem, and some experience and willing to try something new :+1:


When we each face our diabetes diagnosis, we continually answer, “How much resource in time, energy, and attention, will we allow our diabetes?” This is not a one time question and answer, but is subject to update.

Some people say that they don’t want diabetes to take over their life and crowd out family, job, and hobbies. I get that, but diabetes is an insistent SOB! Give it too little attention it it will make you pay. Give it too much attention and you miss out on some of the sweeter things in life.

I’ve lived with diabetes for 32 years and it wasn’t until year 28 that I decided I wasn’t paying enough attention to my diabetes. I used pumps and CGMs but I learned just enough to not be too dangerous. My basic philosophy all those years was, when in doubt, add more insulin. That left me fat, insulin resistent, and facing a brand new diabetes complication.

So, I decided to give diabetes all the attention that it demanded. At first it seemed like a bottomless pit but its demands grew fewer as I leaned more and grew much more adept at using my pump, CGM, and the data that they all threw off. Curiosity and tenacity became my best allies.

What I’m trying to say is that the most important thing to control your diabetes is you. Pumps and other tech are simply tools that you employ. Do not limit yourself by simply dismissing new ideas and tactics as too complicated for you. Try to understand them. Don’t sell yourself short. Sometimes you need to read a book or manual twice for things to sink in.

I don’t know every last feature of my pump but I can make it do what I need it to do. I can respond to diabetes’ endless changes. I can do extended boluses, super boluses, well-timed pre-boluses, and temp basal increases and decreases. What I know is way more important than what the pump can do. When it comes to diabetes, I am more like the conductor of an orchestra, not the tuba repair man.

Invest in yourself. Take the time to learn everything you can. Writing about what you learn is a sophisticated way to really cement in that knowledge. Don’t dismiss yourself as incapable of this challenge. You are worth it but you must do the work!


Very well said, Karen57! I’m new to pumping, started in June of this year. A year prior to starting on the pump, I started doing research. I wanted to know what I was doing wrong on MDI (I was on MDI for 26 years!). This led me to a whole new world of information. I learned everything I could about insulin, nutrition, activity, hormones, everything! Then I did testing. I tested everything I felt I should and more. My whole MDI plan was changed. My carb ratio was wrong, my Lantus was wrong… and then it was right. I did all of this BEFORE getting a pump, but after making the decision to pursue a pump. I’m very impatient, I’m just that type of person. When it comes to D, though, only one things can be changed and tested and learned at a time.


thank you for all of your suggestions in regard to educating myself about my pump. if you don’t like reading about Daisy Mae and her pizza obsession, than don’t read the thread.
i happen to love pizza and have tried hard to figure out a formula that works for me with the use of my pump. others have kindly made suggestions and others have admitted that they have yet to find a solution that works for them. so many responses i have gotten are : “just eat the pizza and correct later.” i may not be as smart and educated as you, but i know that my goal is not to spend my post meals correcting too many careless mistakes.

i came on to this site to educate myself. i came on this site for support, not criticism or judgement. i came on this site so that i could find a community of people who are likewise challenged and can identify w/ others problems and the solutions that they have found.

please stop proselytizing. there is a long road ahead of me and i am eager to learn how to navigate it. i see my CDE and endo in 2 weeks. i will be certain that i do not leave their offices until i am close to being as educated as you are. congrats to you. hopefully my future will be filled w/ useful information and people who will gently direct me towards solutions.


Hey, hey, hey, can we all get along? :slight_smile: This is a place to learn from others (or not), or to give advice that may or may not be taken. Once ya’ll have had your say, let’s not antagonize each other, PLEASE! Shake hands and be cool.


i have no problem w/ that astute and insightful suggestion.


just got off of the phone w/ medtronic customer service. they are sending me a brand new user manual which i intend to read cover to cover two or three times over. hopefully i will glean some priceless information about my pump. i will go to Barnes & Nobel tomorrow and purchase some of the books suggested to teach myself about pumping and insulin.

currently, i am doing a basal test. i ate lunch at noon. my BG was 97. its been 7 hours since then, and my current BG is 127. i think that seems w/in range. i am about to eat dinner. i will be eating pepper roasted turkey with 1/2 C of peas w/ Lite Helmans Mayo (1gm per Tbs). i am pre-bolusing 15 minutes in advance. total units for this meal are 21. we shall see what happens.


You are bolusing 21 units? You are either eating a high-carb meal and/or have a very low I:C ratio. I used to bolus a lot and that was because I used to eat too many carbs. The more I bolus, the more out-of-whack goes my bg’s. Take care, Daisy.


I was taught a different way to basal test. Eat your last meal and take your last insulin 4 hours before the test begins. After the four hours, at the start of your test, check your blood sugar. Do not eat anything or do anything out of the ordinary during the test. Check your blood sugar every hour for the next 6 hours. I was taught that you should stay within 30 points of the original number. It’s easiest to break up the tests into times that make sense (overnight, morning, midday, and evening). It sucks, and it takes planning, but it is SO worth it make sue your background insulin is correct.



what i meant was 21 gms of carbs. my i:c ratio is 1:10, so i bloused 2.1 units.


ah. big difference! :slight_smile: I’m also 1:10


this is getting so confusing. i am going to the library tomorrow morning. my post meal BG is 97. i’m comfortable w/ that. still, this is one heck of an education. everyone does this differently. how does anyone decide which rule of thumb to go by?


Guess what? It’s IN THE Manual :grin: May I ask how you determined your basal(s) that are set now? Do check out the pumping insulin books while you are there. Here is an excellent resource and a well trusted one by the TuD crew:


I wouldn’t consider a 30 point swing to be the mark of success for setting basals. I’m sure others are less demanding than I am. :slight_smile: