Sunday, May 21, 2017

First week with Animas Vibe aka Big Blue

UPDATED August 27, 2017 (see Note 1)

I finally took advantage of the ADP program here in Ontario and now have been in possession of Big Blue .. aka an Animas VIBE and CGM System.  The program pays for all age groups of Type 1 diabetics in the province of Ontario for the pump and $2,500 a year towards pump supplies.  So, no more paying outright for my pump ... and making Visa travel reward miles on the purchase - boo! hoo! The pump warranty is for 5 years rather than the 4, when I would purchase my pump privately, so win win.  So until the pump breaks down, it's my buddy until it's death date of ... get this ... 2040!!!  Unlike my previous pump, a ONE TOUCH Ping aka Ziggy Stardust ... his death date IS December 31, 2022.  I'm still keeping Ziggy, as a back up for holiday until then.  He served me well!  I just wanted to have the pump and CGM integration that the VIBE offers.


A few people have written to me privately, asking me what I think of the Vibe, and after a week of using it, here's my honest thoughts.  I'll keep this as easy to understand as possible.  If it doesn't make sense, comment below and I'll do my best to answer you.

Comparison of Ziggy and Big Blue


  • The pump is a little bit bigger then the ONE TOUCH PING, so the screen is abit larger.  Probably due to housing more hardware inside due to the CGM being incorporated into it.  See below in CONS.    NOTE 1: After meet up with Animas rep - there is NO size difference - both the way (even they were fooled by the way the picture turned out).
  • When it comes to entering the TOTAL that is shown on your screen when doing an EzCarb or EzBg.  You no longer have to scroll the numbers from 0.  If your TOTAL is showing 3.0 units ... as soon as you touch the OK and the UP BUTTON ... you are at 3.0 instantly.  It is still taking me time to remember this ... since you can rapidly go up to 6.0 in a nanosecond.
  • You have your CGM display available to you.  See below in CONS.
  • You can use any blood meter you want to - which in my case when I was using the 2020 - was FreeStyle Lite which uses the smallest droplet of blood and according to research has better accuracy of many other meters on the market (plus the strips are less expensive - a big factor for me come September when I no longer have work coverage).

CONS or as I call it FAIL:

  • I'm finding the screen keys abit less soft, so you do have to press abit harder.  For someone with arthritis (which I have), it could be problematic in time.  Also, I wonder if the plastic on the buttons is more hardier, since the 2020 and PING seemed to wear down faster.  I never had these problems, but have heard from others who did.  Again, warranty for most people should cover this problem if it occurs.
  • For the CGM ALARM settings -  they suck compare to the DEXCOM Receiver!  You only have options similar to what you use on your insulin pump portion for ALARM settings.  It's annoying as all hell when you're driving, and it's going off on some hissy fit.  Hard to distinguish one from the other.   FAIL!!!
  • Accuracy between the DEXCOM receiver and the VIBE are not as accurate as I thought.  I had started them both off within 5 seconds of each other when booting them off so that Calibration times would coordinate.  The DEXCOM receiver wins hands down.  FAIL!
  • You cannot set the REMINDER time on the PING for HYPO any lower than 30 minutes.  The receiver you can enter in as low as 15.  Not good in my opinion.  This also surprised my CDE's when they witnessed me experiencing a 2.8 while in their office (and I amazed them further by acting the same way ... cool and under control ... actually I was sweating like a pig ... and sadly ... the alarms on the VIBE did not forewarn me of my rapid decline in blood sugar like my DEXCOM receiver does.  FAIL!
  • Too many screens to go though to get to the CGM area.  DEXCOM receiver wins hands down.
  • No ability on the VIBE to enter in Activity or additional Insulin perhaps given by IM for high blood sugar (a no no still in my endo and CDE's eyes ... I swear I have whip marks on my behind from them!!!).  DEXCOM receiver - wins hands down.
  • I am now limited to wearing separates again when it comes to being a Fashionista, no remote for pump entry for blood sugars, and also if you rely on pump soley for CGM reading ... you get it ... I dare you to look at this naughty picture!!

My lust for the ANIMAS Vibe was bigger than my brain!     


If you are with the ONE TOUCH PING ... stick with it.  The only thing that got me into going onto the VIBE was the representative wiggling a carrot in my face at the yearly Insulin Pump meeting in March that all ADP participants have to attend ...  that for only $800 I could get a box of sensors, transmitter, and receiver IF I purchased the VIBE soon (Animas Canada is no longer going to be selling Dexcom supplies as of this summer, so they're getting rid of all their G4 stock).  As many of you know,  I live on handouts of expired sensors, receivers (and I even have a transmitter that may still have life in it from someone who went onto a G5 system) due to paying out of pocket.  Here I was with lust in my eyes for this great deal (as bad as I am when I see a deal in a thrift shop, but this is a life saving article that isn't $2!!).

A week later .... this is how I feel ... blah ... and wishing maybe I'd just stuck with good old Ziggy and his  side kick Stardust (the ONE TOUCH blood meter)  who sucks up alot of blood, but means I don't have to pull my pump out all the time to bolus, look at CGM reading.  Really fun when you're wearing a dress I'm telling you, make sure you are wearing clean, unholey underwear!!) - and if you didn't click on the "naughty" picture in the CONS area ... scroll back up - I double dare you!!

Sigh - I should really be more serious when I write shouldn't I?  Chin up and all that stuff.

Anyhow, I've turned off the CGM on my Big Blue, gone back to the DEXCOM receiver, that I've had for almost 4 years that is still working strong.  I had hoped with the VIBE that I would not have to use it, but I guess I was spoiled by using the receiver, and it works, it notifies me when it's unhappy with me.  Perhaps if I was a newbie to the CGM system on the pump, and had nothing to compare it to, then I'd not be writing this.  I wouldn't know any better.

In hindsight, I should have just waited it out until the end of my ONE TOUCH PING life when perhaps updates could have been made on the programming of the VIBE.  I'm going to contact both my CDE and Animas (they'll be getting a link to this blog) next week to see what we can do.  I'll keep you posted in upcoming blogs on my progress and I hope it's good news.

By Manny Hernandez - 2008 - Hope: Diabetes Supplies Art