Week 1 on the pump

So...whoa. I guess I knew that it wouldn't be easy, but my first week on a pump was exhausting.  Hell, my first *day* on the pump was pretty scary.

I arrived for my pump start at 9am, and the first thing we did was to actually start me on the pump. I was so nervous/excited,  my hands were shaking a little :P. My nurse/CDE, Brenda, told me that for the first few set changes she wanted me to put the set somewhere on my abdomen -- somewhere I could see it, and also not someplace where my insulin absorption would change drastically if I exercised (like it might do in my thigh or butt). I noticed almost immediately after inserting the set that it was uncomfortable, and sure enough, it remained uncomfortable over the 3 days that I wore it (but more on my dislike for absomen sites later).

I got to eat breakfast next. Brenda and the nutrition student who was sitting in on a pump start (for credit hours, I think) left me for a bit while I chowed down, then came back about 20 minutes later to jump right back in to the pump training.

We next went theough "the checklist," which was essentially a (very repetitive) list of training items, most of which were things I already felt comfortable doing. We covered things like giving boluses, setting up carb ratios and insulin sensitivity, adjusting basal rates, etc. As far as using the pump goes I actually felt fairly confident, but I did want to spend more time learning how to make changes to basal rates & how to recognize when I need to make changes.

As we went through all of the training items, I did my 2-hour post-breakfast check (a little high), and my training went until around the 3.5-hour mark. After that they sent me home with instructions to check 2 and 4 hours after meals & twice overnight all week, and with a promise that Brenda would be calling me twice per day to discuss my numbers.

I had 2 bad lows on my first day on the pump; one after lunch and another after dinner.  Both were scary, for me, as they were 2.2 and 2.4 and came with no symptoms.I honestly think that I was just so excited/tired/hungry/stressed that everything was out of whack. I hope that's what it was, since I never get lows like that with no symptoms...

Things started to calm down over the rest of the week, although I spent a lot of the week running a little on the high side. I was up overnight, multiple times, so I spent a lot of my waking hours taking short naps in between eating & doing post-meal checks. Overall,  a pump start is definitely not an experience I'd care to repeat, but having gone through it I can say that I'm happy I put the work into fine-tuning my basal rates and carb ratios.

2 weeks in and I'm still feeling pretty good about being on a pump, so I'd say that's a good sign. There was always a small part of me that worried about the being-attached-to-a-device thing. I wondered whether having a visible sign of my diabetes clipped to my hip would start to weigh down on me and cause last year's burnout and depression to rear their ugly heads. If a pump was truly helping with my diabetes management, I know I could always turn to the wonderful doctors and medical professionals who helped me through it last time around, but quite honestly the while period was horrible and I wouldn't care to repeat it. The actual physical device has only been a minor annoyance when it comes to wearing dresses, but luckily that's it so far!


Meter Accuracy Blood test

This morning, I met an interesting woman.

I was at the lab in the outpatient hospital where I see my endocrinologist, waiting to get a fasting BG reading in order to check the accuracy of my meter when compared to the lab test.  I got there early, a few minutes before the lab opened, and joined others standing in line waiting for the clinic to open. All hungry people (early-morning people are always the ones getting fasting bloodwork!), avoiding eye contact and staring at their feet as they shuffle forward in line to hand in their forms at the counter before securing a seat in the waiting room.

There was a woman who was....chatty. She smiled at people, held doors open, and seemed like she was looking for a conversation. As I approached the back of the line she was sitting along the wall on a bench. Seeing the growing crowd of people made her realize that she should probably rejoin the actual line (so as not to lose her spot, I suppose), and I gave her a half-smile to indicate that I didn't care that she jumped ahead of me in line (she had, after all, been waiting longer, and I'm not too bothered if someone needs to sit instead of standing).

Fast-forward to the seated part: forms have been turned in at the desk, and I'm waiting for the voice to call my name for the blood draw. I pull out my meter to test and...high. again. Not HIGH high, but higher than I want to be. Take out my trusty HumaPen, measure out a correction, and inject.

Once the needle has been safely removed from my abdomen, I hear a voice piping up from 2 seats down: "Oh, do you have diabetes?"

The woman from the line. "Yes, I do."
I give her another half-smile. I really don't want to talk... I'm hungry, and a little grumpy that I woke up high and was still high. I start rummaging around in my purse for my phone, wondering if she'll take the hint and stop talking to me if I'm clearly focused on the device.

"I do too. Are you on insulin? Type 1?"

"Yes, I am." his time I put the phone down, and turn so I can properly face her. "You too?"

"No," she replies. "Type 2, for 30 years, but I'm not on insulin yet."

We started to chat about diabetes - the ups and downs (hah! that never gets old), what we do to manage it, all sorts of stuff. At one point, I mentioned how if she does go on insulin in the future, she can probably work with her doctor to find one that works for her - after all, 30 years ago the same types of insulin (long-acting, fast-acting, etc) might not have been available. I told her about how the insulin I was on and the amounts I took are very different now than they were when I was diagnosed.

She asks how long I've been on insulin: "21 years, this year."
Her eyes widen a little bit.
How old was I when I was diagnosed? "4."

She pauses. Her expression softens a bit. "...wow."

I have to admit, I wasn't really expecting that. For a second she actually looked like she didn't know what to say. She thinks for a moment, then tells me "Kudos to you. It can't have been easy to deal with that as a child. You lose so much, having to worry about diabetes growing up... just, jood job."

That one was unexpected. I don't think I've ever had someone tell me, just straight-up say "good job for making it through." We continued chatting for a bit - I countered by thanking her and telling her she too must have encountered health struggles over the last 3 decades, but the fact that she was still here and still getting her yearly blood work means that she's doing  exactly what I do: just trying to stay healthy.

She got called in for her bloodwork first, then I did. We parted ways, wishing each other a nice day and agreeing that it had been nice to chat.

I liked chatting with that lady. It sometimes can be nice to chat with someone who experiences similar daily frustrations about food, BG testing, and medications -- and it certainly made waiting in line for bloodwork much more interesting!

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