Pumping harder than MDI?

Maybe not on this part of Tudiabetes, but elsewhere, I’ve seen posts where folks caution others that pumping is just as complex and difficult as giving MDI, that pumping does not make having diabetes easier. We’ve recently gotten a Ping, and except for a few user errors (hey - there’s a learning curve with everything) it seems much simpler, and my daughter, who is the user, is much happier. So what do y’all think? Is pumping really as hard, complex, and time consumming as MDI?

I have been using the Ping since October and would not give it up to go back to MDI. I’m not sure that is a direct answer to yoru question or not, but it is some measure of the comparison. Complexities: You still have to carry stuff with you and plan around the pump. In fact, you have to carry more stuff than you do for MDI. You need to have some level of technical abilities, maybe the same level as you need to use a smartphone like a Blackberry. On the up side, for instance, you don’t have to plan snacks. Exercise can be much more spontaneous. You may be able to treat a low BG by adjusting your baseline instead of or in addition to eating. You can eat in a restaurant without going to a restroom to do an injection. If you fly the downside is that getting through security may take a little more explaning (I once had to allow the pump to be swabed for explosives), but once you’re on the plane you don’t have to do injections during turbulence. I wouldn’t say it is for everyone, but is fair to say that it is simply more complex? No.

I have been using various forms of syringe for decades (glass with boiling water in the 60’s, plastic in the 70’s ad 80’s and insulin pens in the 90’s to today) and have been on an Animas pump now for three weeks. My last MDI count was 6 a day. In short, I am in heaven, not just because I find the infusion sests so simple and easy to insert (manually - hate those other contraptions; I use the new Orbit swivel needle, which is precisely the same as my old 5mm 31g syringe tips), but mostly because I weep when I see my BG at 5.5 after a meal, where it used to be somewhere between 7 and 14! I am also not waking up nightly at 4 am wondering why my BG is 3.2 and then knowing that my lantus/levimir is functioning differently every night when I go to bed…
Everyone’s immune and body responses are different, but as you say, for me the 2 day learning curve on the Ping Meter and pump and a dedicated health care team here in Canada (yes, the team is free, in spite of everything the Tea Party folks will tell you…, including the pump itself) have made a huge difference for me in just weeks. If your daughter is active, investigate the Orbit Micro infusion sets - way cheaper, 360 degree swivel tubing, easy for a child even to insert with one hand, and last amazingly with no problems - also no immune response to teflon, as it is minute surgical steel…and the tubing is cool blue! Totally sensation free, for me anyways…

My 14 year old just started pumping about 7 weeks ago and there was a learning curve (getting used to menu’s, EZ Manager download issues and trying to figure out how not only to add favorite foods for carb counts but then how to find them. In addition, we have had issues with one crimped tube and some infusion site issues (including not removing the blue plastic cover to the infusion needle. With all that said we have gotten used to the basic menu’s and even figured out (with helpe from this site) how to change the timeout to 60 seconds to download pump. Although it still did not work we figured it out. For infusion we have really speeded up the process of changing the infusion site by preparing extra cartridges ahead of time so they are ready and now the infusions go pretty fast. Still have not figured out other things but we are still leaning.

So, we have reached that stage when it is becoming easier. Its easier to bolus before eating and it is much easier to carry supplies with us and have them in the car. I believe when Animas finally upgrades the Ping to include the Dexcom Seven it will be a really nice tool to have in managing diabetes.

I did MDI’s for the past 10 years and only in the beginning of January did I switch over to the pump (Ping). Yes, there is still learning to be done, but I don’t think that it is complex. Also, I noticed a DRAMATIC improvement in my overall health. My carpal tunnel has subsided significantly and the heels of my feet are no longer rough and cracked, not to mention feeling better. Could be that I am paying more attention to what I am doing and monitoring my sugars better, but I think that that is only part of it. Many times during an injection I would not get the full shot; a little drop of insulin would form on the tip of the needle after removal. That would drive me nuts because I had no idea how much insulin I just lost and would later have to try and correct for.
Overall I couldn’t be happier that I made the switch.

Hi Jay
I think you hit the nail on the head. I really think that now that I pay more attention to my son’s diabetes. It appears with the pump that there is less flexibility with “coming close” on carbs and I have been forced to read the back of every container, bag etc so when he will bolus it is based on accurate carb counts. We have also gotten into the routine of bolusing for correction and about half the meal before he eats and then bolus a bit more for what he has actually eaten so insulin in movng while he eats.
I am also so much more carefully to remove bubbles from the cartridges and I also would see insulin on the needle that never made it to him body.
I know when it all falls in place it will be good thing and much better than MDI.


It is not about pumping or not. It is the attitude that makes the biggest difference in the first place and then comes technology. In my Glucosurfer project I have seen big improvements by switching to the pump. Remarkably in some cases the good control deteriorated over time and they have fallen back to a level they had on MDI. In my opinion this is a mental process like “now I can eat what I want” or “now my lifestyle will be equal to the lifestyle of my friends” or “I do not want to think that much about this part of my life”. It may be that some are longing that much to have their old life back that they misuse their pump to achieve that (and fail).

But with the right attitude and awareness the pump can bring huge improvements as you have noticed. From the parents perspective the advantages of pumping are even bigger. No cheating about injections, all data nicely documented in the pump, greater flexibility for physical activity, better basal adjustment for the night. Thus I can relate to your positive experience with the pump.

I did MDI for 22 years and have been pumping for 8. Pumping itself is difficult. I’d love to gloss it over and tell you it’s all flowers and rainbows, but realistically speaking, it’s not. However, I mentally KICK myself often for not doing it sooner. Pumping, while with its own challenges, DOES make the daily act of having diabetes easier. In addition, my best A1C with a lot of effort on MDI was 7.8. On the pump, my best A1C with relatively little effort was 6.5. It makes a difference. Don’t start pumping thinking that everything will be easy, you will set yourself up to fail. But do go in expecting a learning curve (as many have written) and expect to take time to get used to it and it will all be worth it. The freedom I have on the pump is unparalleled…

Best of luck!

I’ve only been on my pump since Jan 7 but I honestly feel that it is alot easier than MDI. Especially at work and on the go. There is a learning curve but if you have been on MDI with carb counting and ISF corrections then you have the hardest part behind you. The pump calculations all build off of what you have already established. And then with the pump you have the wonderful bonus of less pain from multiple injections a day.

Don’t get me wrong it is never easy being a diabetic but the pump does make it easier to maintain good control. You still have to work hard. You’re still diabetic and you still have to play an active role to be successful. But that fact applies to all your goals in life. You have to work to acheive them.