Accepting

I went back to the diabetes clinic for my first follow up since going on the pump. I met with the diabetes nurse and nutritionist. They were both very nice and asked me how I was doing, and if I was having a hard time with the pump. I imagined they must have many technologically challenged patients or patients who just have a hard time with change because they seemed very concerned. But I am neither so I told them that it was going well enough. The only uncomfortable incident was when I didn’t change my insertion site for 4 days. The spot got sore and it was a little painful.

The truth is that so far I’m doing fine. I would say great, but I have a hard time considering a device attached to my body great. I do feel, however, that the trade – shots for pump – has been a good one. I know it is too early for a final verdict but I really enjoy not jabbing myself with a syringe 4-10 times a day. Yesterday I checked my blood sugar in the afternoon to see where I was a few hours after eating. I was 116. In the MDI world that would be perfect but with my pump I corrected it with a tiny amount of insulin which is not administrable with an insulin pen.

The nurse downloaded my pump data where I also enter all of my BS readings from my glucometer. It was incredible. I’d had a few lows (one of which was during a run) but not bad ones, and a couple of highs, results of miscalculating the carb content in my meals (in the low 200’s). But as a whole the numbers where amazing. The nurse and nutritionist where amazed and they called me a perfect patient. They were also amazed by the small amounts of insulin I use.

Before I went on the pump I was injecting a total of 30-35 units of insulin a day (14-16 units of Lantus a night and 15-20 units of Apidra during the day).  I thought this was a small amount, the result of my caveman diet. Since going on the pump the amounts have dropped significantly and I am taking (on average over the last 2 weeks) 18-19 units a day.  Note: I switched from Apdira/Lantus to NovoRapid.

The only problem is that I haven’t gotten used to the feeling of the pump. I’m totally aware of its existence at all times. Coming back from the clinic yesterday I was in a good mood, when I suddenly had that thought most diabetics have had once or twice – “oh no, this will be attached to me for life, for good,  it’ll never go away”. I know of course that I can take it off and go back to MDI. But that isn’t much better.

This may all be part of the acceptance process. Like the one I went through (quietly) when I was diagnosed. I am sleeping better with the pump now, although I got a little tangled last night. And may be, it will just take time to get used to and accept the pump as part of me.

Comments (2)

  1. Jeff N. at

    Thanks for sharing this, Michael. You speak for many of my feelings about the pump and having diabetes. A mixed bag, but isn’t it great to be able to dial up a few extra units when you need them, wherever you are.

  2. Hi Mike. I’m glad to hear that you’re on the pump and that (for the most part) it’s going well. I remember sitting in my doctor’s office when I got mine watching the nurse demo how to attach it/insert it. I was paying attention to the technical stuff, and then all of a sudden my eyes filled with tears and I couldn’t talk. It was exactly what you describe: this feeling that oh my god, this thing, this machine is going to be tethered to me — potentially for the rest of my life. In some ways, a pump is  concrete reminder that there’s something wrong. 

    But you know what? It’s also a hell of a lot more convenient than syringes. And I’m happy to say that I’ve had mine for almost ten years now, and I’ve pretty much stopped noticing it. I still don’t feel like diabetes is easy (someone once told me they felt it had become as routine as brushing their teeth — I doubt I will EVER feel like that), but with the pump, I think you really will adjust to it. Have you tried the various clips that you can use to attach it to your waistband when you run? And also, how long is the cord? I use the 23-inch type, which means I can drop it out of my pocket without worrying about it hitting the ground (and I don’t get too wrapped up while I sleep). 

    And lastly, what insertion set are you using? I’ve found that some irritate my skin/lead to infections more than others. 

    Thanks again for the post — and congratulations. You are indeed an amazing patient!
    C

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