I started pumping on August ninth. The first week has proven to me that pumping is the way to go for me. It hasn’t been free of issues; there have been a couple, but this is to be expected when starting something new.
Day one I went through a two hour training right here in the comfort of my own home. By noon I was all hooked up and pumping away. The first evening and a few hours into the next day my blood sugar was low. We (my BG Manager and I) adjusted my basal rate to a lower setting and, boom, my BG evened out and stayed normal for the next couple of days.
The time came for me to do my first set change. This is when you change out your cannula, tubing, and insulin vial. Everything seemed to go fine (it’s not rocket science), but a couple hours later I noticed my BG was going up steadily. I did a correction bolus but it didn’t help at all. When I reached 300 I decided to try one last bolus. Huh, when I told the pump to give it I suddenly felt wet around my site and smelled the unmistakable scent of insulin. OK, I decided to change my set again because maybe I did something wrong. When I removed the current one I saw that the cannula had never gone into my skin, it was all smashed up and just crumpled on the surface. Well, there you go, obviously I wasn’t getting any insulin. I put in the new set and bolused one last time. It worked.
I have been working via phone and e-mail with a BG Manager. I am supposed to work with her for the first month or so of using my pump. She helps me to learn and get very well trained and comfortable with my pump as well as guiding me on how to use my pump to best manage my blood sugar. I am really grateful for her help, she really keeps me in line and accountable, and she knows a lot of details about using the pump that may not be in the handbook, etc.. It is so easy to fall into habits that are not healthy, such as neglecting to check your blood sugar, not counting your carbs and blousing properly, using your CGM to determine a bolus instead of checking your blood sugar, etc.. Just having to report to my BG Manager makes sure I don’t do these things. Hopefully the good habits will stick and the bad ones won’t return.
Apart from the issues I spoke about earlier, the pump has been a life saver. I really do feel more freedom. I feel as if I’m getting a small taste of what it must be like for non-diabetics. I know I’m nowhere near what it’s really like, but I’m closer than I was without a pump. I can dream, right?
On Friday I went on a day trip down to LA and back with my mom. I was stoked that I didn’t have to worry about taking my shot while on the road. I didn’t have to wait until the car was stopped (have you ever tried to shoot up in a moving car? Not fun), Nope, I just hit a button and all was done in a second.
I have my insulin right here on my body at all times, and my CGM. I don’t have to worry about refrigeration (althought it’s recommended to carry an insulin pen in case of emergency), toting around ice packs and syringes. All I need to worry about packing is my glucose meter and maybe some glucose tabs.
The pump itself is awesome. I have three options for how I want to bolus. If I already am confident about the amount of insulin I need then I just tell it to give me X amount and it does. If I’m going to eat so many carbs but need a recommendation on a bolus amount I can tell the meter my current BG and how many carbs I am about to indulge in and it will calculate a bolus amount and I can either go ahead with that or adjust it first. If my BG is high and I need a correction bolus then I enter my BG and the pump suggests a correction amount. The math it uses is all based on the settings I put in when I first set up all my information in the pump (this can be changed as needed) for my Insulin Sensitivity Factor, carb to insulin ratio, and BG range I want to stay within.
The pump, in my humble opinion, is an excellent tool for blood sugar control, and it really does make life a bit more convenient for a diabetic. I would recommend it for anyone who has the ability or opportunity to get one. At least give it a try and if it doesn’t work for you then you can go back to shots.