When I first began to think about getting an insulin pump, but well before I had one, the idea of sleeping with something connected to me by tubing troubled me. Where would I put an insulin pump when I went to sleep? Would I connect it to my boxers? If yes, how would I turn over to other side? Would the tubing get tangled?
Six days ago, after I was hooked up to the pump for the first time, I spent most of the day worrying about the sleep issue. The nice people at my diabetes clinic explained a lot of things to me (some of which I wish I had written down) but no one explained how one sleeps with the pump. I checked insulin pump websites for explanations or clips about this, but didn’t find much. I couldn’t imagine how anyone could sleep with a pump, but since so many people do it I figured it would be okay.
The first night in bed with my pump was a little bit like sharing my bed with a newborn – something I have some experience with. For more than 10 years Jessica and I have shared our bed with one of our children (and sometimes two) for many more nights than we have slept alone. We are not co-sleepers in principle. It was never something that we planned. It just so happened that each of our three sons has preferred our bed to his own. Adam has shared our bed with us since coming home from the hospital (26 months ago). He never used his crib for sleeping. He did, however, have many successful bowel movements in his crib. We’d place him there, turn on the mobile, and the soothing music allowed him to relax and do what he needed to do. So, the crib did turn out to be useful in an unexpected way.
Now Adam has his own bed (which he calls Adam’s bed) in his own room, but he still prefers ours. He also prefers to go to sleep after 10:00 p.m., which means Jess and I can almost never get to bed early. On my first night with the pump Jess and I were watching TV while Adam ran around from one side of the bed to the other, jumped on the bed, and flipped the light switch on and off. (Yes, he was driving us crazy.) When Adam did finally allow us to sleep, I turned on my side and placed the pump in front of me. I fell asleep without any problem, but woke up every time I wanted to move or turn over, just the way I’d done when Adam was a newborn. All night long I spooned my pump. To make the night even more complicated, Adam did not sleep well either. The next day I was exhausted.
Things have gotten better since the first night but I still wake up to move my pump when I want to turn over, I check to make sure it isn’t tangled. I also worry about Adam getting tangled in it when I face him. He likes to sleep in what Jess and I call “H” position. He lies horizontally between us, somewhere around our waists, the three of us forming a perfect letter “H.” Please note that Adam usually puts his head on Jess. I get his feet, and small as they are, it’s not very comfortable to be kicked in the middle of the night, whether or not I’m wearing an insulin pump.
Now, less than a week since I got my pump, I’m still getting used to it, still “feeling” it during the day and still thinking about it at night. I hope it will get better and that I will get used to spooning my pump. Maybe I’ll even figure out a way to spoon with Jessica while spooning my pump. But first we need to get Adam to sleep in Adam’s bed.