My Vibe Decision

Laddie_Head SquareA photo is worth a thousand words and the photo below shares that I decided to upgrade to the Vibe.

After I published  “The Vibe: Should I Upgrade?” on Feb. 5, a lot of things happened in the next 24 hours. As I mentioned in the blogpost, I was scheduled to meet with an Animas rep that afternoon to see the pump live.

The Animas rep was very nice and professional as she showed me the Vibe and allowed IMG_1118me to push buttons. I was immediately surprised that I did not dislike the pump and thought I could live with the CGM graphs on the small screen. Although I am still convinced that the design of all/almost all insulin pumps leaves a lot to be desired, I left the meeting with an incredible result: I didn’t hate the Vibe. I liked it enough that I decided on the spot that I would upgrade.

Amazingly, the next morning someone from Animas called to confirm my color selection for the Vibe (Blue!) and to indicate that she was ready to process the order. The pump was scheduled to be delivered on the next Thursday. At this point things became complicated as she called back to say that there was a problem with the credit card on file. After she couldn’t get three different credit cards to work, I started to wonder if I was on the Animas Sh*t List because of numerous negative comments about the Ping and Vibe on my blog.

The problem was finally resolved on Tuesday and despite the delay, I was promised a Thursday delivery. In fact Thursday morning at 9:00AM my Animas contact promised that the pump would be delivered that day. I didn’t believe her because UPS hadn’t even activated the tracking number yet. Of course the pump was not delivered on Thursday and I was frustrated because of the many things I had cancelled to stay home. At the same time the day was not a total waste because I cleaned most of the house and finished a couple of chores I had been avoiding. Finally UPS activated the tracking number and showed a Friday delivery.

I have now been using the Vibe for 4 days. Do I love it? No. Do I think the upgrade was the right decision? Yes, for several reasons.

  1. I was content with the Dexcom G4 and wasn’t convinced that I was having better results with the recent software upgrade. Therefore I have decided not to stress over the lack of the G4AP (Artificial Pancreas algorithm) software update in the Vibe.
  2. I am very happy to have less one medical device in my pockets.
  3. I have a history of losing my Dexcom receiver in bed at night. Now all I have to do is find the pump tubing and reel in the CGM like a 5-pound walleye.
  4. There are some improvements in the menu system, although not as many as I think are needed.
  5. This decision is only binding for 21 months and then I will select my last pump before Medicare. My choice now was to stay with the Ping or upgrade to the Vibe. The Snap, the t:slim, the Medtronic 530G, and other pumps were not part of the decision. It was Ping vs. Vibe and nothing else.
  6. Because I got the pump directly from Animas, I am going to optimistically assume that there will be no insurance ramifications when it is time to get a new Dexcom receiver. Maybe I will be so happy with the Vibe that I won’t even bother with another receiver.

Right now I am stumbling through the Vibe menus primarily because I was so adept at the Ping. One important feature of the Vibe is the ability to populate the recommended bolus by pressing the Up arrow. Unfortunately I am still Pinging and start to scroll before I remember to simply press the Up button. I will adjust and I – just – need – to – slow – down.

My biggest frustration is how many button pushes it takes to get from the CGM screens to the bolus menu. It is five/six button pushes to move from the CGM screen to the Bolus ezCarb/ezBG menu. The lack of an Esc or Back button on Animas pumps is a major design flaw IMO. In his review of the Vibe, Mike Hoskins of Diabetes Mine talked about the pump and the CGM living in the same house but being different rooms:

You can think of this system in terms of a dwelling — the two components used to be separate housing units, but now they co-exist under the same roof and are more like different rooms within one big home.

That’s my biggest takeaway. I have a pump. I have a CGM. They are in the same piece of hardware, but they are totally separate. In fact it seems that Animas forgot to even build a door between the two rooms.

With the Vibe I am finding that I am using the CGM in “static mode.” I push the button to see the CGM Data Screen showing my BG number, the trend arrow, and the insulin on board (IOB). Because it takes so long to change screens to the 1-hour, 3-hour, and other CGM trend screens, I usually don’t bother. I like the 3-hour screen and wish that I could just push the Up button twice to get there. But no, I have to wait for the 1-hour graph to load before I can push the button again to move to the 3-hour screen.

When I began using the Vibe, I made the decision to go all-in and not continue to use my Dexcom receiver. I can always go back to using the Dex receiver at any time and be no worse off than before the upgrade, but I hope to ultimately be happy using one integrated device. So far I believe that the pump functions of the Vibe are an improvement over the Ping, but for me the CGM part is a definite downgrade from the Dex receiver. Chances are that I will get used to it and be fine.

In my previous Vibe blogpost I provided links to other reviews of the Vibe. Since then I have read a couple others that you might be interested in.

Active Diabetic is a young Canadian who is an incredible athlete. His bio minimizes his achievements:  “I’m a cyclist, runner, climber, backpacker and oh yeah, I’m an insulin dependent diabetic too!” I “met” him last year during Diabetes Blog Week and was very inspired by his accomplishments and attitude. In May he published a blogpost that indicated that he would use the Dex receiver rather than deal with the Vibe for his CGM. But 10 days ago he wrote a follow-up post and shared that he is totally on board with the Vibe. Both posts are well-written and super informative, so check them out.

Kerri of Six Until Me wrote a post last week sharing her thoughts on the Vibe after using it for a couple of weeks. As always, you’ll find some helpful information.

Tarra who uses a Dexcom in tandem with Duchess, her diabetes alert dog, is mostly happy with her Vibe. Check out her post from yesterday.

Sara of Moments of Wonderful has just started the Vibe and today posted a video highlighting a few of the Vibe features.

I’m okay with my Vibe but not in love. It is definitely a #firstworldproblem that I can complain about a pump/CGM combo. As life goes, it’s pretty insignificant that the color screens are slow and I have to wait a few seconds for the graphs to populate. But children dying because they lack access to insulin. That’s important. If you haven’t donated to Spare a Rose, Save a Child, it is not too late. Click here and donate. No donation is too small and every gift makes a difference.