My first week on the Omnipod

Hello everyone, my name is Zak and I've been a diabetic for 30 years. I was diagnosed when I was 5 and used MDI for the first 26 years of my diabetic life. I started pumping with the Minimed Paradigm 722 in 2006 and recently made the decision to "Cut the Cord" with Omnipod because I want the freedom to hop on a kayak if I feel like it without leaving my pump (pancreas) in the car. I might want to kayak once a year, but knowing that I can't started to eat away at me...

I wanted to write my story of how it's going, the positives, the negatives, and the issues I've had with switching. If I write something that you can help with, I'd love to hear from you.

I'm a control freak with my diabetes and a lot of the issues I have with the Omnipod stems from:

a) it's different than Minimed

b) it doesn't handle numbers the way I expect and want it to

I have a stated goal of having an A1C come back at 5.9. I've reached 6.0 before, but I haven't broken the barrier. It's my 4 minute mile, I just haven't been able to get there yet. Hopefully my work will pay off in the coming months...

So here goes...


My pods arrived and I put them in the closet because I know you're supposed to be trained first. I heard from my pump trainer and she told me it would be 2 weeks before she could see me. I told her that I wasn't happy with this and I proposed that I start using the pods and come to our education session wearing a pod and be able to ask any questions I had during the session. She agreed and I went home that night and put in my first pod.

PDM Setup:

Worked about the same as setup on the Minimed. Lots of menus, lots of information that needs to get put into the device, but no problems.

Pod Insertion:

The pods are easier to put on than the Minimed infusion sets. The big benefit with the pods is that the catheter insertion is painless (it's only my 3rd pod, but so far no pain). It actually feels (and sounds) like an alternate site BG prick to my forearm. It couldn't hurt less. It's wonderful. It's not that the Minimed infusion set insertion process hurts (some a bit more than others), but it involves more steps than the pod does. I wouldn't eliminate Minimed because of this during an evaluation process, but

Omnipod gets a big thumbs up for the setup process.

The PDM:

I must say that when I first saw the pod size, I wasn't upset. They were actually smaller than I expected them to be. However, I can't say the same for the PDM. The PDM is huge and it looks like it was designed in 1990. My first thought was - so this is what they're doing with all of the old
Palm Pilots that people are throwing away, but then I realized that my old Palm Pilot was smaller... In this day and age, there is no excuse for poor product design. I know that the PDM is designed to perform a function and for the most part it does that (more on this later), but the look of it screams
"Outdated Technology." Compared to the cool looking Pods, the PDM is a failure.

Basal Functions:

To my knowledge, the administration of basal rates is identical between Omnipod and Minimed. Nothing to worry about, nothing to comment on.

Bolus Functions:

Wow... This is a problem for me and to be honest I don't believe that I would have decided to jump to Omnipod if I had known about the bolus calculation issues that I'm going to write about.

Problem 1:

The first problem I ran into has to do with low blood sugars. I tested during my first afternoon and got a result of 62. Now, I'm not a brittle diabetic and 62 isn't something that I freak out about, in fact, I
don't freak out about a result of 42. I treat them the same way - take 15 grams of quick acting carbs and test in 15 minutes. Repeat if necessary.

So when I got the result of 62, I took my carbs and selected Bolus=62 and selected Yes to use for Bolus Calcs. Well, that didn't work... Hmmm.. Ok, I canceled out and put in Bolus=62 and selected No to use for Bolus Calcs. The PDM then asked me for how many carbs I was eating and I put in
15. It then asked me to confirm a bolus of 1.4 units of insulin. WAIT A MINUTE. I cancelled out and went back to the main menu. It appears that the PDM will not let me enter my carbs for a low blood sugar... This doesn't make any sense. On the Minimed 722, the pump is a computer that takes all the data I can give it. It takes my BG and my carb intake and calculates a recommended bolus (and
for a low blood sugar, that's almost always 0.0). The Omnipod doesn't seem to work that way.

So I called my Omnipod trainer to ask the question. She told me that the pump isn't designed to do that. She said that Omnipod wants you to treat your low and not worry about the numbers. Well, this is unacceptable to me. Telling a diabetic to not worry about the numbers is like telling a teenage
driver to not worry about the speed limit. It's a disaster waiting to happen. So I pressed her on how I can get the PDM to do what I want to do. She told me I could adjust the following:

Settings > system Setup > bolus/basal/calcs > Ratios/factors/targets > Min BG for calcs

I had it set to 70 and that means that any BG below 70 will cause the pump to prevent me from bolusing for any food. She told me I can set it as low as 50 and that would allow me to input my 15 carb correction with a BG of 50 to 69. If I'm below 50, I'll unfortunately "lose" the 15
carbs from my daily total.

I want to take a second to talk about why this is so important to me. I'm a geek, plain and simple. Electronics are a part of my life and I'm very happy that technology has gotten to the point where so many of us are using insulin pumps successfully. But in being a diabetic geek, I'm aware,
perhaps more than the Insulet engineers who designed this system, of how important every bit of data that I can collect about my care is.

I learned a long time ago that this is my disease. My Dr. can make recommendations, but it's up to me whether or not I follow them, because if I don't take care of myself it won't be my Dr. who loses his vision or has a lower limb amputated. It's me... I take this VERY VERY VERY seriously and I
hate it when some engineer or product specification writer somewhere decides to
do something out of "safety" and does not consider that somewhere there is a diabetic who no longer has access to the data that helps him/her to not just manage and live with diabetes, but master and thrive with diabetes.

I change my basal rates whenever I have enough data to prove that those rates need to change. But with the Omnipod, I can no longer guarantee that my total carb counts for the day are accurate. With Minimed, I can track over the course of a month that on days when I consume 100 carbs, my average BG is 133 and on days when I consume over 140 carbs, my average BG is 152. This data allows me to learn about my body and how effective my basal/bolus programs are working. It allows me to adapt my care to get my numbers closer to my goal of 95. The Omnipod is preventing me from keeping this data in a single place and is making it more difficult to fine tune my care. This is not good...

This isn't a show stopper and it's not something that a lot of people may have a problem with, but it's important to me.

Problem 2:

Now we're onto the big problem...

I did my research before jumping in with the Omnipod, and I did read that Minimed and Omnipod use different insulin on board calculations. Unfortunately I'm not sure I paid as much attention as I should have or perhaps I read the words, but thought "I'll figure it out, it's not a problem." Well, I'm no longer sure of that. I'd love it if an Omnipod user can confirm what I encountered this morning. usually before I post something like this, I like to verify my information with a few tests because I would hate to add to the false information that can be found on the internet, so please take my story just as something that I encountered and not as a fact (until someone else can confirm).

Here's the situation - When I wake up in the morning, I test myself first thing to ensure that I get to my target BG as soon as possible. Some mornings I eat breakfast before I shower and some mornings I eat breakfast after I shower. I guess it depends on how hungry I am.

My first 6 days on the Omnipod I ate breakfast before my shower, so I would test, get my result, put the result into the PDM along with the carbs I intended to eat, and then get a Correction + Carb bolus amount fromthe PDM's calculator and I would use that amount to bolus for my breakfast along with my calculation.

This morning, however, was different...

I woke up, tested, and got a BG of 138. I put the 138 into my PDM and told it that I wasn't going to eat. It suggested a correction bolus of 3.2 units and I administered that dose.

I then took my shower and after getting dressed made breakfast for myself. Now on my Minimed 722, in this case, I would do a quick bolus - select "---" for my BG (effectively not entering one), and

then select 45 carbs and the pump would calculate the amount of insulin needed
to bolus for the 45 carbs.

I can't seem to get the Omnipod PDM to do this... I tried to bolus without a BG entry and it wouldn't let me. So I put in "95" as my BG into the PDM (since 95 is my target goal and I've already delivered a
correction bolus to get me to my target amount 20 minutes earlier) and put in 45 carbs. The PDM recommended that I give 0.15 units to cover breakfast. That's obviously wrong. My Minimed pump would have recommended 3.2 or something similar for 45 carbs. So basically, I had to guess how many units of insulin I would need to cover my breakfast.

Now I know... I was on MDI for 26 years, and I spent a lot of time guessing how many units of insulin I would to cover some food that I ate. Don't get me wrong, this is a calculation I can do. However, it's also a calculation that I haven't needed to do in 4 years since starting pumping with a Minimed 722. I expected the Omnipod to do the same thing, but I just can't make it happen... Can anyone help me?


I simply love waking up in the morning, without the need to yank on a cord to find my pump before hopping out of bed. I can't tell you how cool that is. I'm wearing my 3rd pod on my arm right now. Again - HOW FRICKEN COOL IS THAT?

I have never felt so free as a diabetic, and that's an amazing thing coming from a diabetic starting on his 4th decade with the disease. An amazing thing coming from someone who used beef and pork insulin. An amazing thing from someone who used Lente and found Lantus to be a complete sea
change in diabetes care. And even more amazing considering how my Minimed 722 revolutionized my life. I felt free with my 722. Yeah there was a cord, but I didn't have to carry vials, I didn't have to store used syringes. And along this long journey of mine, Podding it up has take me to a level of freedom I
have never felt before as a diabetic.

And because of that freedom, I can handle the fact that the PDM feels like an electronic dinosaur from the Diabetes Age. Let me try to classify just how ancient this PDM feels to me... I remember having to put a gigantic drop of blood on a gigantic test strip and then having to wait 2 minutes to get a result. I remember having to use BG lancing devices that looked like medieval torture devices. It's that bad to me. And let’s face it, self image and how we feel about ourselves is vitally important in how we live
our lives.

You may think I'm exaggerating, but feel is very important in my life and in everyone's life I think. When I feel healthy it makes all the difference. And one more thing to add into the mix.

I'm an outgoing diabetic. I'm a proud diabetic. I'd do anything to have a cure drop into my lap this instant, don't get me wrong, but I'm a diabetic and I have no problems having the world be completely aware of it. I've tested my blood sugar in a meeting at work, drawn up a syringe, walked to the door jamb that I needed to use to tense up my skin so I could inject into my arm, given the injection, capped the syringe, and walked back to my seat and went back to paying attention in the meeting. Life doesn't stop for my diabetes. I'm a part of it and it's a part of me.

I hate this PDM. Looking at it makes me feel like I'm sick. I can't explain it. I wish I could. But I don't like the PDM.

But I love the Pods... :)

However, the bolus issues I mentioned above are a nightmare for me. I need to have a pump that lets me be able to care for myself in the best way I can. So far, it doesn't feel like the Omnipod does that.

Perhaps my Minimed pump is only 4-6% better at storing information and calculating boluses. It doesn't sound like much, but over a lifetime with this disease, I'm afraid that using a pump that is a few % less effective than another will cost me. I'm afraid it will cost me 3-6 months of complication free life in the long run.

So that's where I'm at.

I'm trying to decide if I should stick with the Omnipod or if I should go back to Minimed and just use the Pods when I want to take a "Podcation" or go on vacation or maybe just for weekends.

I'd love it if anyone who has some insight into how to get the PDM to work the way I want it to could let me know.

Thanks for reading and I hope my experience helps one of you who may be thinking of switching to the Pod!


you can’t do the same things with omnipod as you are used to do with minimed,I know it pretty well.
omnipod wants to know everything,if you ask it for help,ie bolus wizard,you have to tell everything,bg and cho,omnipod can’t give you anyhelp otherway.if you are not able to follow omnipod you have to remember everything of your therapy,for example you have to know how much iob is going on,if you want to correct ipo the right way,instead omnipod tells you only to do the classic standard 15 cho! by my experience it doesn’t work well everytime,i need to know how much iob is still working after lunch if i’m down!I think that omnipod must improve itself,because minimed is much better to have diabetes in control,minimed gives you everytime the complete information about your insulin,omnipod doesn’t,well it does it only in a few cases,such as a correction bolus,i don’t like it.

Welcome to the group, Zak! I think you’ll find that this is the best group on TU! When I say that, I mean the most educated (when it cones to the big d) and the friendliest and most willing to help on any issue. You have written alot in your first post, so I wont go into that until later today…but just wanted to welcome you first.


Enjoyed reading your post. Reminded me a little bit of me–I did MDI for about 8 1/2 yrs, then MM pumps for about 5, and been podding since then (just over 1 1/2 yrs).

As far as the low glucose issue, I have mine set to the lowest setting (50). I also have “reverse calcs” on. This means if my target is 120 and I’m 70 it will use my correction factor and subtract that amount of insulin from any bolus I might give for a meal, etc. I think for the most part this system works pretty well.

If you have a glucose lower than 50, you can always use the “add BG” option rather than going through the “bolus” menu. I think it makes you wait either 5 minutes or 10 minutes if you want to bolus and use the carb counter though, otherwise you’re right, it will only let you enter a total amount of units. So it does work like the MM, just not instantaneously (there is the delay b/c they want you to “fix your low BG”). I’m in the same boat as you that a 42 BG doesn’t get me alarmed. Sure I don’t want to hang out there all the time, but I’m still functioning just fine at that level. So if it’s a lower BG in the mornings then try taking your shower first and then eating and you should be fine. It’s not a perfect solution, I understand, but it’s a potential workaround for now.

I’m not really sure what is up w/ it not letting you bolus for carbs w/o a BG reading. I do that a LOT actually and don’t have any issues. For example you tested after waking up and you were 138, and gave a subsequent correction bolus. You then go to eat after your shower and enter 45 carbs. If your insulin had “rocked your world” and your BG was now 70 (and you entered it, of course) then it should use the reverse calculation (if you have it turned on) to subtract an amount from the total amount of carbs given from the remaining insulin you have on board. That’s why when you put in “95” it saw that as “OMG you jumped from 138 to 95 in 20 minutes and based on your insulin duration you still have a LOT of active insulin on board so I’m only going to suggest to give a small bolus (it does the subtraction stuff for you) so that you don’t bolus yourself into a low-induced coma” :wink: Omnipod only calculates IOB as correction factor stuff. Any bolus you give for carbs it’s assuming you have calculated correctly so all of that insulin is “spoken for”. When I am exercising heavily (cycling/running) I often wish it would give me total insulin on board so that I would know if a certain bolus was a smart choice based on my increased insulin sensitivity, etc. But it doesn’t. It’s not a deal breaker for me, but it’s definitely on my wish list.

I also agree about the clunkiness of the PDM. It’s definitely not my favorite. But again b/c of many of the same factors you listed (small pod size, waterproof aspect, convenience of no tubing, did someone say “freedom”? :wink: , etc) it is definitely not a deal breaker for me. As long as there is a tubeless pump like the pod on the market, I will always remain tubeless. Hands down.

I don’t know if I helped answer either one if your issues 100% but hopefully it’s a start. Despite the cons of the pod, I think its pros significantly outweigh them and that’s why I continue to use the product. Welcome to the group! I hope you are able to mill it over and come to a decision of what’s best for you (MM or the pod) based on what you want!!

And yes, wearing the pod on your arm is “fricken cool” :wink:

hey zak! it’s great you’re switching to the pods…i’m on them right now but am switching to the ping soon (insurance coverage changed and made my payments double…supplies for a traditional pump are cheaper). i will definitely miss the lack of tubing!

i’m able to bolus without entering a bg (although at first i thought you couldn’t). when it has the “enter current bg” screen and the — blinking, press no for “use for bolus calcs?” the next screen should ask if you’re going to eat now. i tried looking in the settings, but i don’t seen an option to either turn them on or off.

btw, do you have the new PDM? i thought the old one (non-color screen) was way old school. the new one is better, but still clunkier than i’d like.

Zak- I’ve had a chance to read your entire comment above and digest some of it…I agree with everything
Bradford and Faye say below, especially with regard to entering a bolus w/out need for a bg. I do it alll the time! as Faye says, when the screen comes up with the msg. “are you going to eat now?” I always push the “no” button, as I am not confident in the PDM"S calcs for bolus’s, and I prefer to enter my own number. With regard to the PDM, it may interest you to look at the old discussion “What is the dumbest thing anyone has ever said to you about diabetes?” It was a great and entertaining discussion, and it went off on a tangent at some point re: the PDM and improvements we would suggest.

if you don’t put the bg,when pdm asks : are you going to eat now?you can put the carb and pdm suggests you the bolus.I think it’s useful.

Yes…I just did it. When you go to Bolus and it asks you to enter your current BG to use for bonus calcs enter “no” It will then ask if you are going to eat now, enter "yes. Enter your carb amount and it will calculate the bolus and then you need to confirm, extend, or you can manually add or subtract from the amount.

Thanks! This explains a lot. It’s just user error - much easier to explain than the alternative!

Interesting that you didn’t point out what I think is the biggest advantage of Minimed over Omnipod - the way they calculate IOB. I think it’s almost negligent to only use correction boluses in the IOB, rather than using correction and food boluses. However, I read something the other day that made it sound like Medtronic got some sort of patent for how they do the bolus wizard, so I’m wondering if they have some sort of patent for how they calculate IOB, too, which in my opinion is criminal. I desperately want Omnipod to change this, but my rep said that Insulet thinks their way of doing it is the “right” way. If you couldn’t guess, my rep is not diabetic. Not using food boluses as IOB is the “right” way to do it, my ■■■.

Oh, and as others have said, you can totally bolus w/o putting a number in.

So, do you have to enter carb amount and allow the PDM to calculate your bolus at all?

I’m kind of the opposite of Zak. At this point, I trust my own judgment on how much insulin I need for a given meal more than a software program. I’m sure, at some point, I’ll use all of the PDM functions, but right now I’m just interested in adjusting my basal rates, and dosing without sticking myself.

I’ll gradually give myself over to the Borg implant, but I don’t want to be fully assimilated just yet.

Hey FHS…Yes you can bolus w/out using any calculations. You just enter no to the BG amount, no to are you going to eat and it then give you an option for how much of a bolus you want to enter. For me it’s easier to let the calcs figure out the bolus amount as I use a diferent I/C ratio in the monring than later in the day…but yes much nicer than having to stick yourself again!!!

That’s a bit of a relief!!

BTW, my pod has been shipped, and hopefully will be in my hands by early next week!! If I can’t make an appointment with my trainer soon after that, I seriously think I’ll just run out of patience and just get started on my own!

That is new news to me! I was given the impression that all insulet employees were diiabetic!

Good luck, bro! hope it all goes well, Fred!

Thanks Steve!

Hello, Bionic Woman here (my new name for myself with this Pod-thingy). I want to let you all know how helpful ALL this info is for me. I’m new to the Pod. It’s new for me. I’m kinda on my own with it til October - after the ‘training’ and doc apts. I’m still learning. I’m about to try it on my arm soon! This is my first pump experience after doing the ‘shot thing’ by myself for 15 years.

I’m on the fence about the Pod too. Not sure why. It sounds like Insulet has MILES to go with a lot of stuff. Sounds like escalating to a supervisor is just what you have to do. I do like the ‘wireless technology’ and the simplicity of it all. Emotionally, it brought up a lot of crap for me. And essentially, I hate this disease, but I will continue to kick its ■■■ daily and be proud of my ability to live a full life.

So, please keep up the discussions. It definitely helps!

I’ve been on this thing for over 2 years and I’m STILL learning stuff :slight_smile:

Hear hear, Dana! Kik ■■■! I’ve been doing the pod thing for 5 years now…30 years as a T1 and I learn something new on TU everyday!