Looping and failed pods

I’m looking a lot closer at Omnipod lately, as I’m losing faith in Tandem delivering on the Mobi before my long-out-of-warranty pump gives up the ghost. Looking at the pros vs cons of Looping (I’d probably do AndroidAPS as I’ve absolutely zero interest in an iPhone) vs Omnipod 5. The biggest selling point to me is that Omnipod 5 pods are guaranteed, and they replace failed pods, whereas you’re on your own while looping with no support. I’ve learned with Dexcom that free replacements are really valuable to me!

So… For everyone looping with Omnipod, how do you manage failed pods? How often do you have to eat the cost? Are there any tricks/loopholes to getting them replaced?

@Robyn_H, I have a script for 2 day wear. Often enough I get more than 2 days out of a pod. This provides some flexibility.

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There are no tricks at all. They are not going to ask you,
“Were you Looping?” :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

Why would you volunteer it?

You call them and say you had a pod error, and you give them the error number.

They will ask for your PDM serial number too. You can give it to them. They don’t ask if you were using your PDM, they only ask for the serial number. (Even if your PDM is out of warranty, it does not matter to them unless you are trying to get the PDM replaced.)

Anyway, most pod errors are the fault of the pod, not Loop. The only issues you should not call them with are 049’s, pairing errors, and priming errors.

If the pod has any other issues like an occlusion or if it falls off, that’s not Loop’s fault. You should get that pod replaced.

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This is news to me. I haven’t actually built an app yet. So the app throws the same error code the PDM would? Is this information easily obtainable? Omnipod doesn’t look at uploaded data from the PDM/pod, or ask you to go looking through the history for specifics? (Tandem tech support used to ask you to upload your pump data to the cloud so they could see what was going on, but don’t anymore. At least not in my experience. But they will ask you to go to many pages through the pump history to give them time stamps and multiple error codes.)

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Insulet will ask you for the error code, how long you were wearing the pod, and the PDM serial number.

(Sometimes they will ask things like where you had the pod on your body, or what you were doing when you got the error, or if you were doing a bolus. They might ask if it affected your BG, or what your BG was. Sometimes they ask you what type of insulin you were using. But those questions are most likely for their own troubleshooting data collection, they don’t really matter as far as getting it replaced.)

I don’t ever tell them it affected my BG, because that only creates more questions. It’s because they are required to report things like that to the FDA. I just say, “Nope! No problem!” If they ask what my BG was I tell them I don’t know!

They are super easy for replacements. I don’t think I have ever had a pod replacement denied by them!

I have had a pod replaced in only 4 minutes before. That counts everything - the phone ringing, their answer, identifying myself, explaining the issue, verifying my mailing address, the entire call!

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Just once: when I fumbled the pod and dropped it on the floor (cat fur, anyone?) before I could attach it. Go figure??

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Thank you so much! You’ve mostly eased one of my biggest concerns. Can you tell me what version your running, though? I haven’t gone far enough down the rabbit hole yet to know if this is common amongst them all.

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I am using an older version of Free APS.

I don’t rebuild it all the time just because there is a new release. Once it’s working, I tend to leave it alone until I actually want to change something in it.

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They mostly ask name, address date of birth. Did you need medical attention and the pod serial number. And most of the time the PDM serial number but not always.

I write on the pod in felt the date, how long I wore it, 12hrs ,18 hrs etc and the number of BG level I reached. Then they will sometimes ask a random question, what kind of insulin or maybe where you were wearing it etc… Your answer can always be I don’t know and they take that as an answer. I stockpile them and call in 5-10 at a time. They only ask for the pod back if you go over a certain BG level or if something was very strange.

My script is written for a pod every 2 days and that gives me flexibility. I rarely have been asked error codes, I usually don’t have error codes because they get switched out as soon as I notice my BG level going up higher than it should be or staying higher. So I just tell them I switched it out because I hit 180 or whatever and I shouldn’t be that high. They never say anything about it. I think they only ask for a error code if you say you got an error code.

But unlike Eric, I think it’s a hassle to call. Part of the problem from going from 1 pod failure every 3 months to a bunch in certain batches. I seem to have more of an issue with certain lot numbers, but it’s definitely becoming more frequent and I have always thought it’s a me and certain lot issues problems. But the me part is getting worse and starting to look like my body might not like the pods, especially certain lots of pods anymore. Why I can wear some weeks in a row and then be switching them out constantly the second day I have not figured out yet.

But they make it pretty easy even when you are lacking information.

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I wish they offered an online report form for replacements like Dexcom does.

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I agree with Eric2. I think I have told them that I was looping before, but they didn’t care. I would not volunteer the info, though, if I were you because it can only create problems that might be avoided.

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It’s a matter of the UI and how much work you want to put in. O5 is slap it and ignore it; there’s very little you have to do to loop and very little you can do to control the loop. I’m saying that from the docs and other reports. I’ve been using AndroidAPS for a couple of weeks now. Building AndroidAPS is no problem but it has a nightmare user interface. If you are happy working through it you will have more control in the sense of having more buttons you can switch and more knobs you can turn - even to 11!

Read the user manuals FIRST:

https://androidaps.readthedocs.io/en/latest/

The Omnipod manual starts off with soft porn. The AndroidAPS manual is overbearing. The tech in both is good. It’s the implementation which will force your decision.

You do have to work through the AndroidAPS objectives. I’m sure I mentioned that it is overbearing but that is not the only example; it’s a religion, just like the porn in Insulet’s material. This, alone, will be a deciding factor for many people.

I’m in the US, so I have to have a prescription to even obtain pods; I cannot buy them myself. I run the pods to 80 hours which invariably means the failures don’t leave me podless and I am also able to get a new supply at about 25 days.

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Yes, thank you! I think I’ve already decided on AndroidAPS. Got the app built today and installed. I want to at least work through the first few objectives I can do with the virtual pump setting before I actually order any pods. I’m wearing a demo pod at the moment and I still haven’t even decided if I can handle the bulk of it. It’s so weird when I’m used to the nearly-flat tubed infusion sets.

It’s definitely overwhelming right now, but I know I’ll catch on fast.

And for the record, I’m absolutely the geek who reads through the manuals cover to cover… Even the systems I’m not using! It’s a big part of what helps me decide how I feel about the systems I’m considering. And the more I learn about Omnipod 5, the less impressed I am with it. I want all the control!

What really concerns me at the moment is the sucky 3ish weeks of open looping and AMA closed looping. What I really want is SMB with UAM, because I’m terrible at counting carbs! They say to put in at least 2 weeks on AMA before going SMB, though. But I put it the same work to monitor and measure everything before I first started a pump, so I understand there’s value in re-evaluating the basics. I’ve become pretty dependent on Control-IQ, and hate to go back to to a fully “dumb pump”, at least until I can close the loop!

I think I’m pretty excited overall!

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You’re assuming that “7 days” counts from the start of the given objective. This is an adventure game, as in Adventure. You have to learn how to find the hidden things, navigate the twisty little passages and pronounce xyxxy. Assuming the authors can communicate is unnecessary.

I honestly cannot remember how long it took me to get to level 9 (I can’t see any point to going any farther) but I think I’m still on the same G6 sensor (I’m doing BYODA).

I do admit I hacked the code. I changed “1” to “0” to pass objective #3; I never could do those things. Spending 15 hours when I could spend a couple of minutes lacked merit.

One word of warning; never assume that what the advertising material apparently says you will get is what you will, actually, get. The lawyers, being they FOSS or Insulet, will say you misunderstood.

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Ha! I love it.

I, on the other hand, an looking forward to starting objective 3 tonight. I assume I’ll learn much by researching all the questions. I oddly enjoy the research and learning curve associated with it. It’s going to be my bed time reading for however long it takes.

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As a CIQ user, I’m selfishly sorry to hear you’re making the switch Robyn. It’s my feeling that you understand CIQ (and Tandem pumps and Dexcom sensors) better than anyone.
I hope you’ll continue to give your input on CIQ when there are issues/questions, even if you’re won’t be a user anymore.
As someone who has never managed to read a manual, it’s great to hear from someone who has.

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Awwh Thank you for the kind words.

I promise I’m not forgetting about Tandem. I’ve had my heart set on the Mobi (formerly T:sport) since 2018. I’m just not sure how long I can’t hold out for them to move forward. I’m already 14 months out of warranty on my T:slim, what are the chances my clutzy self can go another year without anything catastrophic happening to it? Not to mention that I don’t want to be forced into paying another $1,000 later to upgrade to the pump I want to buy now, because my only option is to buy a pump I DON’T want to buy now. (I’m so happy I chose the X2 when I did, but it feels like outdated hardware after 5+ years. Software updates can only go so far.) It’s been forcing me to make some hard decisions. It’s also one of the selling points of a DIY system. If I can get the pods through the pharmacy channel, then I can come back to Tandem (or whatever other pump technology I feel is best) later.

I have a sneaking suspicion I won’t want to give up the control of DIY looping and the accessibility to new algorithms after using it. I’m still a technophile, though. I’m just fascinated by the evolving medical technology and love to learn about it. I’m just expanding my knowledge base a little further now.

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@Robyn_H I too am looking forward to the T-sport/Mobi from Tandem. That’s why I am trying to nurse along staying on the Omnipod even though I am having more issues with it… I definitely like patch pumps.

You really will forget it’s there. I know I’ve told this story before, but my past endo when telling me about the Omnipod went to show me hers, and started patting all over her body to find it. I laughed. But now I find myself doing the same thing. If it’s too far away it will not be able to communication when you go to give a bolus. So I find myself patting all over to find it to move the PDM closer.

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How did it go?

As someone who made a similar decision five years ago, I don’t think you’ll regret your choice to move to DIY. Enjoy your better control and quality of life.

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