Tandem

I. Hate. My. Tandem pump.

I had a Medtronic pump for 21 years. When it stopped working (it was old) I told my doctor that I would go with whatever she suggested, stupidly assuming it would be a newer Medtronic. So I was surprised when a Tandem showed up at my door.

I hate the touchiness of the interface; I actually prefer the buttons on my old pump.

The Tandem is constantly telling me to check my blood sugar, even though it gets my blood sugar readings from my Dexcom.

It regularly tells me my Dexcom is out of range, even though they’re both on my stomach, on different sides.

I hate that there are 5 parts when changing it. And that it takes longer than my Medtronic to change. I hate the extra tubing that it has. Supposedly, it’s supposed to be better because you can change just the cartridge, or the tubing. But if you change it and don’t move it it leaves sores on your skin, which turn into scabs.

I’m not looking for advice, or positive comments about the Tandem, I just wanted to vent. :slightly_smiling_face:

So sorry you hate your Tandem. Is there a “trial period” where you can return it?

Since you are probably stuck with the Tandem for a while, you’d best learn how to make living with it easier for you.

I moved from a Medtronic 670g to the Tandem a few months ago. On the whole, I find the Tandem a big improvement, though there are some things I liked better about the Medtronic.

Filling Tandem cartridges is more difficult and time consuming than filling Medtronic reservoirs. There is no getting around that, though filling the Tandem cartridges does get easier the more practice you get.

The infusion set should not make any difference. I understand that the Medtronic and Tandem infusion sets are made by the same company. Neither should be better or worse than the other in terms of causing skin irritation.

As far as the Dexcom being out of range, the signal goes from the Dexcom transmitter to the Tandem pump, NOT to the infusion site. The Tandem pump is made out of metal, which shields the signal. You have to wear the pump with the front facing away from your skin because the front is the area of the pump through which signals travel in and out of the pump. (Which way the Medtronic pumps face is irrelevant since they are made of plastic, not metal.)

The messages from the Tandem pump can be annoying, especially when your blood sugar is tending high or low, but I find them far less intrusive than the Medtronic messages. In particular, the Sensor Updating messages drove me to distraction. I don’t know what idiot thought it necessary to warn every half hour not to do anything. At home, it wasn’t bad because I could turn off the warning each time. But when I was driving in traffic and couldn’t turn off the alarm, I wanted to rip off the $^&^* thing and throw it out the window. The HUGE plus of the Tandem, and the main reason I am happy that I was able to switch, is that the Dexcom CGM sensor seems to be far more reliable than the Medtronic sensors. Not only are the Dexcoms more accurate, they also last the full 10 days, whereas about 1/3 of the Medtronic sensors quit on me before the 7 day nominal life was up.

The other thing I didn’t like about the Tandem was that recharging the internal battery takes longer than just swapping the AA battery on the Medtronic. (I used rechargeable batteries on the Medtronic, and just swapped them, recharging the discharged battery each time so that it was ready the next time I needed it.) However, I got a battery bank that I could use if necessary. Most of the time, I use charging cords I keep in the car and around the house, so that I can recharge while driving, while using the computer, while showering, etc. That has made the recharging process less of a pain.

The biggest advantage of the Tandem pump though is that it lets me give correction boluses without doing a finger stick. It’s not that the finger sticks were a big deal, it is that I had to have my glucometer, lancets and test strips handy. Now, I can check my glucose and give a correction bolus quickly, e.g., when I am stopped at a red light.

As far as the touch screen goes, I too prefer buttons. On the other hand, I find the touch screen on the Tandem works better than the one on my Samsung phone.

So, since you are stuck with the Tandem for a while, make the best of it by making it as easy to live with as possible. I suspect that when you are able to switch your Tandem X2 pump for another pump, you’ll find you hate the new one. It’s always tough getting over the learning curve of new devices. And remember, ANY pump is better than injecting several times a day and having to carry all the paraphanalia with you.

1 Like

ruthclever Ruth
Another hint on tandem pump, wear the pump facing out as mentioned and on the same side as the sensor. Also, when you put on a sensor, after Start Sensor is a field to put Code or Skip. Always enter the code of the little pull off tab on the adhesive area of the sensor. If you put in Skip, you will be prompted to calibrate for the duration of the sensor session.

I am curious why your Medtronic was old? They replace them free every 4 years.

Hi @808IUFan I suppose it depends on your insurance because in order for me to get another Medtronic pump it would be $2000 out of pocket, not exactly free. I confirmed it with my insurance and then asked Medtronic for any kind of discount or program and they essentially told me to go away. So, I have a very old Medtronic.

Oh sure. I have Medicare with a supplement so I pay zero. Medicare Advantage plans you may pay and some commercial insurance via your job you may have to pay but even when I was working every 4 years I never paid anything. Medtronic told me that as a general rule it was nothing within one month of the 4 year mark, but if you let the warranty expire, then there was a fee. I highly recommend you allow them to email and call you because they call me every 4 years.

Uh oh. I just ordered but tandem said you can disable the alarms you’re referencing. Is that not correct? I had their T1 years ago and loved it. But will see. Anything is better than the Omnipod!!! B

I realize you needed to vent. But I just have to add some insight as the wife of a T1 diabetic who switched from a Medtronic 670g to Tandem last March… My hubby had used Medtronic for 19 years. The “advanced” 670g/Guardian 3 often required as many as 10 fingersticks a day for my hubby. I cannot tell you how many times in the night he had to test his BG. The G3 sensor was awful for him, with failure or bleeding 30% of the time. With the Dexcom, I think he tested his BG once a few months ago because he suspected a cannula was kinked (it was). If the Dexcom code number is typed into the phone then the pump in the proper sequence, you should really never have to check your BG. He fully admits that the infusion/cartridge filling is substandard compared to Medtronic. That being said, the Tandem doesn’t make his shorts fall off from the sheer weight of the pump! LOL! Think of the Tandem as a mini smartphone. Maybe that will alleviate the “I liked the buttons better on the old pump” wistfulness. When we first got smartphones, I thought the screens were super touchy. Nowadays, I rarely think about it unless I pocket-dial a friend! And your last comment about changing “only” the cartridge or “only” the tubing… I would say that is a practice that should be done when in a pinch, not as a regular regimen. Otherwise, yes, it could be extremely irritating to your skin. My hubby hasn’t had the “out of range” instance that you describe, but his educator did mention to keep the Tandem facing outwards. Perhaps that is the issue? And finally, if you feel like your introduction and educational assistance when you first got the Tandem was subpar, I would ask to redo it with another diabetes educator. My hubby and I got an overload of information in his one-on-one, 3-hour intro with his amazing eductor. She then gave him her personal cell number to call or text if there was a question. He did have questions for a few weeks, but there was only one urgent one. People are not robots and we are all different. We are both in our mid-60s and change can be difficult. But there was never a time he regretted the switch like you have. After seeing the enormous A1c improvements, we are eternally grateful. I do hope that you will eventually appreciate the upgraded software and integration with one’s smartphone. It truly has been life changing in our household! Best of luck to you!

Wore One thought about being out of range: I found that if I wore my sensor on one side of my body (any location), and my infusion set on the opposite thigh (specifical the thigh), and I was wearing denim jeans - I had some connecting issues. It only happened with denim. Just sharing.