Timesulin: Informed MDI'ing.
During my short experience back on multiple daily injections (MDI), aka "pump vacation," I made frequent use of the Timesulin pen cap. This sample was sent to me by John Sjölund, CEO and co-founder of Timesulin, and since I received a few samples, I passed one along to Christopher Angell, in hopes of sharing perspectives from someone who was moonlighting as an MDI'er (me) and someone who is a full-time MDI'er (Christopher).
For me, the Timesulin pen cap was a fantastic transition tool for me because it helped bridge the information gap. When I'm using my pump, I have access to information like the amount of insulin on board, the bolus calculator, the ability to micro-dose, etc. Going from pumping to pens is a tricky transition, because injections don't allow me the ability to fine-tune the way I'm used to. But this Timesulin pen cap thing helps my brain out, because it provides the basic information of "when did I last bolus?"
That, for a scatterbrained mess like me, is crucial. I have a tendency to rage bolus when I'm high, and this pen helped me avoid stacking boluses. I also have a tendency to forget when I last bolused (see aforementioned scatterbrainedness), so the history screen/status screen on my Animas Ping is essential to sanity. This is where the pen cap comes in, because after being uncapped for 8 seconds (which, according to their research, was the average of how long it took to take a pen injection - we are a fast crew, it seems!), the timer resets, letting you know when you last used the pen.
In my world, the size of the pen/cap didn't register much for me, because it lives in my meter case (a small, but long, makeup bag I bought at Target last year), so it fit fine in there with all of my other supplies (meter, lancets, pump battery, a quarter to change the battery, and spare pen needle tips).
Christopher also took this pen cap for a test drive, and he was struck initially by the size of the thing (and we'll put his comments in italics, so I don't get tangled): At first glance, I thought the cap looked comically oversized, as though someone had hit my original cap with a hammer and it had swollen to twice its normal size, or the insulin cap equivalent of the foam novelty hand often seen in football stadiums. Timesulin (my initial reaction notwithstanding) did a very good job of matching their cap to my Humalog Kwikpen™. If anything, I would say they did too good a job. The longer I used it, the more likely I was to simply grab the pen and uncap it, without looking at the timer screen, before remembering that was, in fact, an option. While I understand the impulse to try to blend it in with existing equipment, a more contrasting/eye-catching design would have kept me more aware of its presence/function, and allowed me to take greater advantage of it.
The timer impacted him, as well, but in a slightly different way: If anything, I would say that Timesulin made me aware of how often I truly forget whether or not I have given an injection. Not once in the 2+ weeks that I have used it have I used it for that purpose. That said, it's an important enough piece of information that even needing it and getting it once or twice a year is more than enough to justify the unobtrusive accessory.
What I found myself using it for more than anything (outside of general curiosity about how long I might have gone between injections) was as a timer for showing me how long it had been between bolus and meal. It was a very helpful reminder to try to pre-bolus for meals I knew were likely to spike me, such as chinese food, as well as a convenient way of tracking when that pre-bolus may have been too "pre" and I ought to consider finding something to pre-empt a pre-meal hypo. I would leave the pen on the table until my food arrived, so I could keep tabs on the life of my freshly introduced insulin.
Overall, I think this concept is brilliant, in both its simplicity and execution. Even though I'm back on the pump and have retired my bottle of Levemir back to the fridge until my next MDI dabbling, I still keep the pen cap on my backup pen. This tool is a powerful, yet straightforward, weapon in my diabetes arsenal. I really liked, and like, having it on hand.