By Kerri Sparling
When I received the email from Tandem Diabetes Care that my Basal-IQ feature training was available, I was in the car with my husband and our two kids, headed up to Acadia National Park in Maine for a week.
“The update for Basal-IQ just landed in my inbox! I have to watch the training videos!” I said to my husband. We were about 45 minutes into a seven-hour drive with our kids in the backseat.
Only I was still in the car and had to wait seven hours before I could watch the videos. (Knowing that the Basal-IQ update was just a training module and email launch code away from being siphoned into my insulin pump made the drive feel even longer.)
The first time I updated my Tandem t:slim X2 Insulin Pump from home, it was to integrate with the Dexcom G5 Mobile CGM System. The update was simple: I received an email code, plugged in my pump, and downloaded the software update. It was awesome having my G5 data streaming to my t:slim X2 Pump…then Dexcom came out with the G6 CGM System.
But you know what? My pump wasn’t outdated.
Instead, it was updated.
The process for updating this time was a little bit different. Several days earlier, I received an email from Tandem telling me that the update was available and that my doctor needed to provide a prescription for the update. I signed into the t:connect® Patient Portal to start the process for my endo to sign off on the request. In my case, this took a few days, but once the ball was rolling, things progressed smoothly. Once the prescription request was completed, I received an email with a link to training videos for the Basal-IQ update. (That’s the one that came while we were driving.)
Now? All I needed to do was find some space to update my pump in peace. My kids like to hang out and be close (read: on top of me), so finding some uninterrupted time to watch the training videos for Basal-IQ was a challenge. Once we arrived at our lodging for the week, I realized there were bunk beds in the apartment. Which is why I spent some time hiding on the top bunk of the bunk beds, where no one could physically reach me, watching the online training videos.
The videos were very clear and concise, and once they were completed, I had a good sense of what the Basal-IQ Technology was going to look and feel like on my t:slim X2 Insulin Pump. The quizzes I had to take at the close of each module helped reinforce what I had learned. Hitting “Exit” on those videos triggered the email from Tandem to arrive, providing the details on how to update my pump and also the necessary Update ID Number.
From the top bunk, I disconnected my insulin pump from my body and plugged it into my computer which was connected to the internet. After entering the Update ID Number into my pump and clicking through a few confirmations, my pump started to download the software update.
“Hey mom! Are you almost done fixing your pump?” my daughter yelled from the other room.
“Almost! Just a few minutes!”
“Okay.” A brief pause. “Will you be able to see your Dexcom on your pump again?”
I stopped for a second, trying to find a way to explain how my CGM works, how Basal IQ works, how diabetes still requires work, and how my pancreas doesn’t exactly work to my 8-year-old daughter.
“Yes…that’s the idea. And when the Dexcom is talking to my pump, my pump will be able to use that information and hit pause on my insulin if it sees that my blood sugar starts to run low, too.”
Her little face appeared around the door, peering up at her mother, perched in the top bunk with a bunch of technology glowing around her. “For real?”
“Yeah, for real.”
“That’s cool.” Another pause, followed by a confused query, “Are you going to sleep in the top bunk tonight, mom?”
“No, I’m not sleeping up here. Just hiding for a few more minutes.”
It took about 10 minutes for my pump to complete the update, and after I loaded up a new cartridge and infusion set, I was good to go. (Because software updates are awesome and useful but I can’t let the hardware go unchecked – I have to make sure my CGM is communicating properly and that the bits and pieces of my pump and infusion set are working right.) I lean heavily on temporary basal rates to help take the edge off dropping blood sugars, so I was excited to see Basal-IQ Technology make that move for me.
And it only took a few hours to test my IQ (so to speak).
Later that afternoon, after updating to the Basal-IQ Technology, I was on a hike around Jordan Pond in Acadia National Park with my family. The hike is a few miles long, and I didn’t notice until about 45 minutes into it that my pump had already shut off twice, without my assistance, helping me keep by BGs in check. My blood sugar remained solid and stable, with the Basal-IQ Technology and exercise working in tandem with one another.
Of course, I am still responsible for keeping tabs on my blood sugars and maintaining control of diabetes. Technology is moving forward quickly but still haven’t freed up all the space in my brain that’s dedicated to diabetes. But with technology like Basal-IQ in my management toolbox, I feel like the mental burden of diabetes is a little bit lighter…which makes it easier to drag around ponds and up mountains and on hikes.
From time to time, we may pass along: suggestions, tips, or information about other Tandem Insulin Pump user experiences or approaches to the management of diabetes. However, please note individual symptoms, situations, circumstances and results may vary. Please consult your physician or qualified health care provider regarding your condition and appropriate medical treatment. Please read the Important Safety Information linked below before using a Tandem Diabetes Care product.