Day .65 with a pump

I have decided to write a blog post here and there regarding my new insulin pump (as if you don’t know that by now). This is because I relied heavily on blog posts when researching my pump, which is because I find bloggers more believable and sincere than folks who make money from these things.

I guess I’m keeping the cycle going for anyone else in the market for a pump.

My pump is an OmniPod, which is manufactured by the Insulet corporation. Yes, it is tube-free. Yes, it’s more expensive. But I suspect the outcome outweighs the cost. Who wants tubing running between the handheld “computer” portion of the pump and the injection site? Sounds like a pain.

This cell phone-sized machine communicates wirelessly with a “pod” loaded with insulin affixed to the back of one’s arm, a leg or lower stomach. It’s pretty neat, although you need to keep it pretty close to the pod when delivering a bolus (it only lasts a matter of seconds).

I began using the pump this afternoon after a three-hour visit with my diabetes educator. Although the visit was a huge help, it’s pretty easy to see it’s going to take some time to learn everything. This machine addresses my blood sugar at all hours of the day, whereas the traditional care – multiple injections – I’ve employed for years only hit “the highlights,” such as meals and bed time.

The first thing I noticed about the pump is how alarming it is to put on a pod. I’ve given myself shots since I was 9; this was an entirely different sensation. Instead of controlling the pace at which a needle slides through my skin, I had the pleasure of feeling a wider needle slam itself through, open and insert the part that actually delivers the insulin at the pace of a rattlesnake attack.

It scared the crap out of me.

But the pain was temporary. After five hours with the thing on, I don’t feel anything unless I bump it against something – and even then it isn’t painful. I just know it’s there.

At this point, my blood sugar has run high with the pump. My educator said that’s how we’ll start and make adjustments from there. That makes sense, but it’s rather unpleasant. My blood sugar rarely went over 150; now it’s approaching 300. I realize, however, that unpleasantness is mild compared to how I’d feel if my blood sugar went too low and I had to visit the emergency room via ambulance.

Here’s the thing, though: this evening was the first time I’ve eaten dinner without worrying about taking a shot. Before bed, I won’t have to concern myself with remembering to take a shot of long-acting Levimir. Tomorrow at work, I likely won’t be bothered with the usual lows that come around feeding times. And the next time I go somewhere, I won’t have to make sure I take that damn black case full of glucometer, test strips, insulin and syringes. I already feel liberated.

Of course, there is the quality of life change. Simply put, I’m going to live longer because of this contraption. I can already see that. Life happens, you know, and time passes between when you have a snack and take a shot of insulin to counteract it. When I did have high blood sugar, it was because I’d come across a cookie too good to pass up at my parents’, eat it, get distracted by something on TV, make my way out to the car to get my insulin, have a nonsensical conversation with the neighbor, forget why I went outside in the first place, go back inside, help my daughter with her homework and finally – sometimes 30 minutes after eating the cookie – remember to take a shot because I’m starting to feel like my blood sugar is high. Now I will eat that cookie, pull out the little computer, hit a few buttons and be on my way.

The same with meals at a restaurant: instead of taking a trip to the bathroom, I can do everything discretely from my seat, which addresses immediately another situation in which my blood sugar has historically gone high.

I’m very early in the process, but so far this seems like a great decision.

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