Giving An Insulin Pump Another Go

Journal, The Healing WorkKait MauroComment

I have been on my new insulin pump for 9 days now. I like it so far, it doesn't annoy me too much. I was on one, a much older model because it was quite a time ago, from middle school through the beginning of college. I stopped wearing it because I had so much frustration with the infusion sets kinking up/not working or getting the tubing caught on things. I also think, being a freshman in college in a new part of the country, I felt like I had an opportunity to be someone new, in a way, and I didn't want to be the one everyone knew as "the girl with the beeper-looking thing on her hip."

It's true that they have improved a lot since 2001-2011 (approximately when I wore one before). They've gotten a lot smarter. And as most people know, there is now CGM (continuous glucose monitoring). The CGM is my favorite part - I love being able to just look at my pump and see where my blood sugar is at at any given time.

Things I still have to do with an insulin pump:

  • Deal with prescriptions, pharmacies & insurance companies a lot (more than I would like)
  • Change my infusion set (little plastic "needle" I wear 24/7 under my skin) 2-3x per week
  • Change my CGM sensor (a lot like the infusion set but on the back of my arm) 1x per week
  • Check my blood sugar via pricking my finger 2-6x per day
  • Wear the actual pump around
  • Be woken up by the pump's alarms and requests sometimes
  • Count the carbohydrates in what I eat & inform the pump of them

So it's not like things are now effortless, but I do prefer the new pump to pens/injections so far.

Also, it gave me an excuse to do a bit of clothes shopping. Most of the clothes I had did not have a good way to hide the pump and somedays I am fine with it being visible and other days I want to pretend to be a normal, healthy person who isn't attached to a machine, so I bought some clothing for those days that conceal it better.

The most frustrating thing about the pump so far has, ironically, been the nurse who came over to check that I set it up properly. She came over a week after I started using the pump. Since I'd had one before I didn't need to go through the weeks long training process - it came in the mail, I read the manuals, set it up & started using it. Mind you, I didn't ask anyone's permission to do this. I just did it. I have a bit of an independent/impatient streak - but I set it up well. Everything was working great. Karen, the nurse, even made a joke about how I did such a solid job setting it up myself that maybe she should hire me. But then she made a mistake. It was an honest mistake but it made me SO ANGRY. She deleted everything my pump had "learned" about my blood sugar patterns for the 7 days I had been wearing it.

It learns things, which is pretty cool, very sci-fi.

What this meant for me though, in practical terms, was that the pump wouldn't be able to be put back into "Auto" mode until Monday (this happened on Friday) because it needed 48 hours, beginning at midnight, to "learn" me again. So what this meant for me was that I was going to get woken up a lot Friday, Saturday & Sunday nights. I will tell you: I was FURIOUS. I do not do well with interrupted sleep. It makes my mental illnesses act up, it makes me lethargic during the day, it makes me grumpy & it just generally pisses me off. This is one of 234290342039234 reasons Edward & I do not plan to become parents.

But now, as I am writing this, it is Sunday morning. Only one more night of interrupted sleep. I am doing okay. I have an appointment with my endocrinologist (that's the kind of specialist doctor you see when you have diabetes) on Thursday. Edward is going to come with me, take an hour off from work - which is very sweet of him, because doctor appointments give me intense anxiety due to many prior traumatic experiences with doctors. I usually need about 5mg of Klonopin in my system to make it through one without having a panic attack. Yes, I am quite human and weird. It's a phobia I've had since I was a very young child (I have been a type 1 diabetic since I was 2 years old, so for 24 years).