Priming the (Insulin) Pump

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First, know that this week’s blog entry won’t satisfy you if you’ve clicked on this page in hope of reading cold, hard facts on insulin pumping. Second, I’ve got a disclaimer for you: I’m not a pump expert, and because I am not a certified diabetes educator, a medical doctor, or Dean Kamen, I want to make it quite clear that I offer no medical advice or advocate any particular method of delivering insulin.

This blog entry is about my experience with diabetes, so it seems to make sense that I spend some of that time discussing insulin pumps. Or, more to the point, an insulin pump—the one that’s attached to me right now via an infusion set stuck to my abdomen three or four inches above my right hip. (I’ll change the site tomorrow because the three-day rotation is up, and it will probably move to the other side of my abdomen.) The pump itself (and if you want a visual, here you go; mine’s Volcano Black) is in the zippered pocket of my shorts, every so often emitting a quiet hiss-tick as it infuses the tiniest bit of my basal insulin dose through surgical tubing, through a cannula, and into my body.

There’s so much to talk about, however. So rather than try to squeeze it all into this week’s entry, I’m going to pull back a bit. I want to pique your pump curiosity. “What’s next?” you may ask. Well, let me ask myself a few questions to try and tease it out:

So you’re writing about an insulin pump for The Diabetes Self-Management Blog. How long have you had diabetes, Eric?

For about seven months now. My first three blog entries cover my diagnosis story.

Okay, and you’re Type 1, right? So you went on insulin immediately? You are insulin-dependent?


How did you first start taking insulin?

With an insulin pen. I injected with needles. Lantus (insulin glargine) for basal, Humalog (insulin lispro) for my bolus.

But you said earlier that you’re on an insulin pump now. Is that a recent switch?

Pretty much. Yes.

When did you start pumping insulin?

July 16, at around 2:35 PM. I can be that precise because the history function of the pump has my inaugural infusion recorded.

Isn’t this pretty early into your living with diabetes to go on a pump?

It is. The insurance company initially didn’t want to pay for a pump so soon. There’s a story that goes along with this, about how they ended up paying for it only four months after my diagnosis…

But you’ll tell us in the coming weeks, is that it?


Why did you decide to switch to the pump?

In short, I wanted to have even tighter control. Again, though, I’ll elaborate on this and many other issues in upcoming blog entries.

How did you decide on the pump you currently use?

It happened gradually. Then one day it just clicked: I need to get on a pump.

I’m still trying to figure out how to provide everyone with my “from pen to pump” story, though. You’re throwing a lot of questions at me, and I already see that there’s a ton of information I could relay. Give me some time and I’ll do the best I can.

Okay, so let me ask you this: What was the transition to an insulin pump from injections like? Were you scared? Was it difficult? Did it take a lot of preparation? Can you walk your readers through what happened once you got the pump?

Whoa. Again, let me take some time to digest this. I’ll try to cover it in the coming weeks—or months!

Last barrage, then. What other insulin pump-related issues and questions do you think people reading your blog on want to discuss or know more about? I mean, for those currently pumping insulin, some of what you’re going to blog about may be old news. Maybe not. Yet there are certainly a lot of readers who are considering an insulin pump, or who are at least curious to know more about the insulin pump experience firsthand. You know, not the technical jargon and all of the tables and charts that you see in the books, but instead your own “autopumpography,” if you will.

I’d like to think that this is a pretty hot topic. I still want to know more about pumps, and I still feel as if I’m making the transition. I am, after all, only two months into it. Most of the issues I’ll write about—and trust me when I say I could go on for days about innumerable aspects of insulin pumping—should satisfy the readers of this blog. At least I hope so. If they have questions and comments, though, they should feel more than welcome to leave them in the space below (lots of space). But, if they don’t leave me any questions or comments, I’ll survive. I won’t be slowed from continuing to explore my diabetes for all the world to see.

Thank you, I look forward to next week.

Thank you—I kinda do, too.

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