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  1. Confessions of a Pump Ignoramus

    Saturday, 8 May 2010

    A fortnight ago, I was fortunate enough to go down to London to take part in festivities for the second birthday of the fabulous Circle D. I had a really wonderful time, despite feeling very rough. The sun shone, and I got to meet some fabulous people, including Northerner from  'Poems from Active Diabetics', Tom from Diabetes Dramas et al, and Siobhan from Click of the Light. It was about as close to a UK Dbloggers meet as we could hope for, really, when it was actually for something else!

    Tom has recently become the (extremely) proud owner of an insulin pump. The last time we met, which was in York in March, Tom had said that he would bring me an infusion site to try wearing, so that I could see what I thought of the whole thing. 

    Well, he did. And we filmed it, whilst getting the dirty stink eye from a woman opposite us. Siobhan is doing the camera work, and I ask you to forgive me for the following:

    A: Being extremely nervous
    B: Laughing rather hysterically
    C: Being a complete wuss.

    The London meet in itself was interesting. I had never had the opportunity to see an insulin pump before. So it was very educational to meet several people there who were all more than happy to show me theirs. On the whole, they were smaller, lighter, and more discreet than I had anticipated them being. I have very small hands, and yet most of them fitted in my palm.

    So at the end of the day, I went away with this on, and proceeded to leave it in for the three days that I'd been told was appropriate. 

    It was a very strange experience. After Tom had put the site in, it didn't hurt, like I thought it might, rather I found it itchy. I don't know whether my skin didn't like the adhesive on the tape, but it itched. 

    Tom had also given me a shower cap for it, so I wasn't wearing the tubing attached to nothing. It would have been another thing I would have been interested in doing, but wearing the tubing attached to nothing just seemed stupid. So I kept the shower cap on. And I showered, and slept and went about my daily business with it on. I intrigued/freaked out/enlightened people (delete as appropriate for the different reactions) with the site. 

    I was terrified of getting the thing wet, or ripping it out accidentally whilst I was asleep. But neither of these things happened, as was proved by I woke up with it still attached, and showering was fine. But I was still conscious that it was there for about 70% of the time. I know that means that 30% of the time I didn't care, or completely forgot, and you would probably get over that if you were actually wearing a pump, not just flirting with the site. One other thing I would hope you'd get over is the urge I found to play with the site. Mostly taking the shower cap on and off. But then again, I'm a compulsive fidgeter. I play with keys, I chew and pull out my hair, and up until recently, I was a terrible nail biter. I don't know whether that would marry well with something like a pump that you shouldn't really fidget with.

    What I was really afraid of though, was taking the site out. I didn't have anyone to help me with that! Was it going to hurt? Could I do it 'wrong' and accidentally leave something in? I was all set to see if I could find something on YouTube to help me, but I thought I'd give it a go solo first, and seek help if I ran into problems.

    Well it seems I had built it up in my mind to be this huge thing, which it wasn't at all. It didn't hurt me any more than removing a plaster. I was surprised to see blood in it, but I don't know why. Makes perfect sense, really. The thing that really had me slapping my forehead and feeling like a prize idiot though, was the fact that what I was removing was actually NOT a needle. Of course it wasn't! But I had always believed that there was a needle inside the infusion site. Like I say, my contact with pumps had been virtually non-existent, and not being in active pursuit of acquiring one myself, I somehow had this misconception. Why would there be a needle? It would be far too easy for it to break off inside you, which would be perfectly horrifying. I guess that goes to show you that anyone can get the wrong idea about something, being as I consider myself fairly well informed on most things diabetes-related. 
    But will this experience, which allayed an awful lot of my fears surrounding pumps, convince me to seek one out for myself? I don't think so. I find the whole thing fascinating, I totally support those out there who are after a pump for themselves, and maybe in a couple of years I'll join them. I can see the pros. I'm getting tired of injecting, because my technique seems to have got a bit rubbish as of late, and I'm finding it hard to find a spot or an angle which doesn't hurt. Yet, I don't think I'd be ready any time soon to make the leap of being tethered to something 24/7.

    I'm currently taking part in a course at my hospital called 'Living With Type 1 Diabetes' (catchy!), and apparently we're going to get a chance to have a look at some pumps, and talk to a couple of people using them. So my pump education continues!

  2. 6 comments:

    1. MHoskins2179 said...

      Becky: Thanks for sharing that. Sounds like the meetup was a great one, both in just meeting with other Ds but also in your pump education! I remember having many of the same concerns before I started pumping about nine years ago (after injection therapy for about 17 years), but was so incredibly glad I made the jump. It changed my life for the better and got me down to A1c levels i nthe low 6s for the first time ever. Good luck in your continuing pump education!

    2. Saffy said...

      We had a recent D Blog catch up in my neck of the woods recently too - few of us in such a small country. It is SUCH a great thing catching up huh? :) I'm on a pump. I've used one on and off for 9 years now. I get you on the tethered business and agree, it is a little weird. Mostly you get used to it but it is there. However the trade off for me is worth it - no more 17s at breakfast - more like 4s. Brilliant.

    3. Siobhan said...

      ugh, i feel you about being tired of injecting. 19 years and almost 20,000 injections later, i'm pretty sick of it :(

    4. Samantha said...

      *nods* agreed, like shiv. 15 years and again about 20,000 injections it gets kind of tiring D:

    5. Big Swifty said...

      This info is incredibly helpful to us. Our Frank (T1D) is nearly 4, and we are heading towards a pump at some time. Very reassuring to see the kit being fitted.

    6. That was awesome! Bravo!

      I think that is a wonderful experience to go through as you learn about your options.

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