It’s been over a week since I ripped out my infusion set and decided it was time for a break from my insulin pump. It wasn’t a rational decision, but rather one based mainly on frustration – an inability to keep my blood sugar down. Even more frustrating: going back on insulin shots did not solve my blood sugar issues. Basically, all it did was make me think a little about life with diabetes and the emotional burden that comes with it.
The first couple of days off the pump I felt naked, like a soldier who’s lost his gun. I kept reaching for my pump every time I checked my blood sugar (to record my result) and every time I wanted to know what the time was. (I like to think of my pump as a pocket watch.) Without realizing it, my insulin pump became a part of me, part of my mannerisms. I wasn’t sure I liked how attached I had become to my pump.
I also felt like I needed my pump to calculate my insulin doses. It had been so long since I injected insulin that I had no clue how much insulin I need when I eat. Not only because injected insulin is less effective than pumped insulin (need less with a pump) but also because I’ve gotten so used to the pump thinking for me, advising how much to inject with my meal and how much to correct when I’m high.
I also realized that when I inject, I don’t remember how much insulin I take and when. I depend on the pump for that, too. So I downloaded an app, MySugr, which helped me with this.
But then what started as a naked feeling, a feeling of being a little lost, turned into a liberating feeling. I felt light and untethered just like everyone else. I didn’t wake up at night to turn over, look for a place to put my pump when I showered or got dressed and I didn’t get stuck on handles and door knobs.
Liberating didn’t last long, though, because there’s nothing like a constant blood glucose of 300 to bring you down.
Even after somewhat figuring out my correct dosage, I struggled with the issue of the not-so-flexible basal rate. The reason I went on the pump to begin with was because I suffer from the dawn phenomenon, and cannot find a bolus rate which will keep me low enough at night without then causing me to drop all day long.
The other big issue is that the liberating, light and free feeling comes with an awful lot of shots, at least 10 a day. And although I hate inserting infusion sets into my body (not always painful, but always stressful), injecting all day long is painful and annoying. For the first few days I thought it would pass, that I would get used to it, but I haven’t.
So, after a brief vacation, one that I partly enjoyed and definitely learned from, I am back on the pump.