There was a time when the phrase “smart pump” did not exist in the diabetes world. There was basically one pump brand on the market and it did one thing: deliver insulin. But if you look at the pumps that have entered the market in the last five years, you’ll see all sorts of “smart” features. Things like a Bolus Wizard, carb count catalogues, insulin-on-board calculators, and tagging features galore. And I love that we have all of these options! It’s just that…I never use them.
Ok not never. When I test on the Freestyle meter built in to my OmniPod, I do use that BG as the suggestion for my bolus (plus a carb count). But let’s say I don’t do a finger stick and I’m bolusing on the fly based on my CGM data. Then I don’t use the calculator features. The reason being is that I usually feel like I’m juggling too many factors for the suggestion to be helpful: yes my BG is 180 and I’m having 35 grams of carbs but what if I worked out? What if I was low just an hour before? What if it’s going to be a super lazy and sedentary Sunday in front of a Walking Dead marathon and I’m so grossed out by the zombie killing that I can’t finish my late breakfast (not that this has ever happened….except that it always happens)? When I factor in all of these variables, I’m convinced that I should just determine the bolus and forget about the calculators on my pump -I’m going to change them anyways, right?
Well, maybe. The problem is that skipping this step allows me to gloss over the whole process entirely. Even if I decide to change my bolus later, having to enter in a BG, a carb count, and confirm that suggested dose will push me to truly evaluate all of these items, rather than scan the dinner table and punch in a mostly-arbitrary “two units now more later if need ‘em” type of bolus. Which is not using the features to my advantage. I’m missing a lot by not taking those crucial few extra seconds to actually think through what I’m doing (what a concept, eh?!).
Features on smart pumps were built around customer needs, and they only work if you use them. And although, as the saying goes, even a broken clock is right twice a day, having a little strategy and calculation on board is better than having absolutely none. Which is where we all tend to trend when we’re in a hurry or busy. I need to let the smart features on my pump offer a little guidance as I bulldoze through life these days. Hey, they might actually turn out to be helpful!