This whole pump vacation thing is sort of like skydiving, minus the thrills. You hem and haw about the decision to go for it, freak out a little bit (see: my last post), feel nervewracked about the whole thing right up until the moment when you DO IT and then it’s no big deal. Well, I actually haven’t gone skydiving yet, and I’m sure that jumping out of a plane is more exhilirating than taking shots of insulin, but….that’s the comparison I’m going with. (And speaking of jumping out of planes, did you know that my buddy Martin went skydiving to celebrate his 30th diaversary? Rad!)
Anyways, after much weeping and gnashing of teeth, I peeled off my 3-day-old infusion set last Wednesday night, removed my pump’s battery, and matter-of-factly stuck it in my dresser drawer and went off to enjoy a shower free of sticky things to scrub around. Upon waking up the next morning, I reflexively reached for my pump to clip it to my waistband and hop out of bed….until I realized that there was nothing to reach for. And oh! The feeling of a dress swishing around my legs without a pump strapped to my thigh! How strange and delightful! Maybe this will be really great,I thought on that first day as I sashayed down the streets of Brooklyn, skirt whipping in the warm wind.
And one week in…it’s still going pretty well. I have mostly gotten used to the feeling of empty pockets, garterless legs, and waistbands free of devices that could be mistaken for a pager. I rolled around in bed for the first time in ages, luxuriating in not having to move a device out of the way every time I shifted. I can pick up my purse without thinking about carrying it on the opposite side of my pump infusion set. And I just might have done that aforementioned I’m-not-attached-to-anything dance.
The only thing to make it complete would be to find a Casanova to rip my clothes off in a fit of passion…because I wouldn’t have to stop him to declare, “Contain yourself! I have to unhook myself from this $6000 piece of medical technology.”
I already see a difference in my blood sugars: the average has dropped from around 180 to around 150. Unfortunately, lows contribute to that…including three under-50s one delightful 24-hour stretch. But it’s evident that the insulin is working better. The other positive to this pump vacation is that I’m logging like a FIEND. The problem with pumping is that, because the pump and meter stored my basic information on blood sugars and insulin doses, I never bothered to keep track of the many variables of my diabetes life. (Also, I use a Mac. Which 75% of diabetes tech companies seem to have a grudge against. Did Steve Jobs make a deal with the devil or something?) Now that my insulin doses will vanish into the ether of my memory if I don’t write them down– and because I want to make this transition as successful as possible– I’m finally busting out the OnTrack Android app I downloaded six months ago, and using it for the first time.
(Tip for my fellow PWDs: OnTrack is great. It’s quite easy to enter info on BGs, medication, exercise, and food. You can customize settings and add notes when necessary, as well as export the data in a variety of formats. Also, it’s free! I recommend it.)
Of course, the transition presents its challenges. I’ve had a lot of spikes and crashes, and I keep wishing that I could program adjustable basal rates on my two daily Lantus shots. I split my Lantus dose to prevent the dawn phenomenon, and yet I’m always waking up high (even if I go to sleep with perfect numbers). And sticking myself with all these needles takes some getting used to, especially given that I did it for just a few months before pumping. Sometimes I feel nothing, sometimes it’s a slight prick, and sometimes it’s like, “AAAIIIIEEEEEEEE WHERE DID ALL THESE PAIN RECEPTORS COME FROM?!”
I also can no longer call myself a cyborg. Woe.
So for those of you on shots, I want to pick your brain: how do you deal with the dawn phenomenon? Do you have a system for rotating injection sites– or do you, like me, go mainly based on where you can discreetly inject without rearranging half of your current outfit? Is Lantus supposed to burn like a mofo when you shoot it up, or am I doing something wrong? How do you keep your pens cool in the heat? And what about air bubbles in the pen?
For others in the know: I now have pump supplies and regular insulin vials that won’t be much good for a while. What’s the best way to donate them to tornado victims in Joplin? Or would they be more needed elsewhere?
For anyone else: thanks for your good thoughts and encouragement! Please keep it coming! And please send some to Tina, after her heart-shattering post before mine.
And for everyone: who can help me find my Dexcom charger and that Casanova…?