Friday, September 02, 2011






Friday favorites!!

Last week's favorite was a place and this week, I've decided to go with a product. My most favorite possession is...

My insulin pump. Rarely does a 24 hour period go by without me clutching it close and fervently saying, "I love my pump!" I even have it skinned out in custom orange! I figure there might be quite a few of you that may not know what a pump is- have never even seen a pump- or know how it works. So here's some general information for those who are curious and a maybe a good bit more for those who might be interested in acquiring one for themselves or a loved one.

An insulin pump... pumps insulin. It's for type 1 diabetics- insulin dependent- which is a funny way of puttin' things, 'cause we're all insulin dependent- just some of us can't supply our own. It takes the place of insulin injections. I used to give myself about 5-7 shots of insulin per day. It wasn't fun, but it was life support in the purest form. I'm not complaining about the tiny discomfort of the needle, itself, but the hassle of carrying around all those supplies, being on a strict timetable and figuring in all the computations that make real control possible. And even at it's best- and my best- it was a roller coaster of ups and downs and while discouragement is not an option, it was a constant struggle with some serious frustration.



This is where the incredible gizmo of an insulin pump comes in. It delivers insulin all day and all night- it's greatest advantage- my blood glucose levels are more even 24 hours a day. Generally, one injection every three days. I still need to check my sugar with a meter, but the pump reads the meter through radio waves and the numbers are factored in when I eat. Insulin delivery for meals involves inputting the carbs I ate and then the pump does the preset computations for my individual needs. No calculating for me. Quick and easy with none of the hassle of shots. No more eating or not eating on a schedule to cover insulin. No trying to be discreet 'cause I don't want anyone passing out from seeing a needle.



Most people don't notice I have a pump and when they do see it, they assume it's a cell phone or some other electronic gadget. It hooks on my pocket or belt and the tubing goes under my clothing to the injection piece- which is called a "set." The set is connected to a small vial of insulin that slips inside the pump. At the end of the set is a very tiny rubber cannula(yes, injected with a needle, but the tiniest needle you will ever see- even smaller than those butterfly needles they use on children. It slides right out as soon as the set is inserted.) The cannula goes just beneath my skin and the insulin drips in through it. It's all held into place with some kind of adhesive. It's pretty tough and under most conditions will stay put for the 72 hours the set can safely be worn without the risk of your insulin dying- from being room temp for three days or infection- from the small puncture.

The set is completely pain-free- you can push, pull, tug- I don't feel any discomfort- it's just a small button. It can be placed anywhere that you would normally give yourself an injection. I like the back of my arm because I'm less likely to rip it off when I'm changing my clothes or um... among other things. (Lisa, quit rolling your eyes.) I disconnect the tubing and pump when I shower or swim or doing the "among other things" anytime I choose- for short periods of time- an hour or two is usually just fine. Yes, I sleep with the pump- just sling it under my pillow or beside me- it never occurs to me that it's even there- just another part of my body.


Let's talk bottom line. It's a great advancement in the quality of a diabetic's life but it sure does come with a huge price tag. The pump costs about $6,000. No, I didn't add too many zeros. The cost of maintaining a pump lifestyle is also very pricey. It runs about $83 dollars every 3 days. ouch! My insurance pays for my pump, disposable supplies and insulin. Who says they don't have a heart? But I figure they're not getting such a bad deal and they know it. The more my blood sugar is under control, it's less likely I'll run into costly complications.

So that's my favorite for this Friday! Have a great weekend and I'll catch you on the flip side!

10 comments:

Elaine Adair said...

My word - this is astonishing! I had no idea what any of this was about, nor knew such gadgets were so useful, dependable, etc. Thank you very much for educating me/us, and tell us about how you manage what would seem to be an unmanageable condition. Doesn't sound like you have any issues with it. 8-)))

Sara said...

I'm Type II diabetic, I only have to take three pills a day and test my blood sugar daily.

Thanks for explaining the equipment you have to help you live with diabetes Type I. Now if my diabetes progresses, I'll have an idea what could help ME. Knowledge is power.

julieQ said...

Hey....I like the orange! I am glad you have a pump...life is sooooo much better, I am sure!!

Sarah N. said...

I too am very thankful for you pump.

Speaking of passing out, me and Stacy had to have a visiting nurse come by the house Wednesday because we are changing life insurance. Everything was fine till she goes to draw blood! She has been a nurse for 40 years - you would think she knew what she was doing! I told her she could just do it in my hand rather than digging around in my arm. She gets in - but nothing is coming out - so she starts wiggling the needle around. Joy! Then she starts massaging my hand - hitting the needle every time. 5 minutes later she finally has enough blood and I am resting my head on the table trying to not pass out! I go lay on the couch and now it is Stacy's turn! She does it in his hand too - but has to poke him twice. She has problems getting him to bleed too - and he finally tells her that HE needs to lay down - so they walk over to the couch - with the needle still in his hand! Quite an afternoon!

love you!

teelduo said...

Look at you and your tricked out pump. Your nephew and I kinda like his pump too! Craig has been saving Ben's empty strip containers. We need to take a picure of the pile that he has. I wished I remembered how long we have been saving them. LOL Love you!

Donna said...

Your pump is a favorite of mine too. That's because it keeps you healthier and happy. I'm so thankful you have it and the insurance is nice enough to pay for it. Love you!

Peni said...

You are so brave!!!

Lori said...

heard lots of good things about the pumps. Type 2 here--I try to listen very closely to people with experience!

Isobel said...

A note from another Type II. We should all count our blessings. I take a pill twice daily and test a couple of times per day and I consider myself very lucky. I have a friend who cringes at the thought of me sticking myself to test...I assure her that it does not hurt but she does not believe me. Thanks for explaining this very interesting gadget.

anne bebbington said...

Thanks Nines for this interesting post - of course as Nick is Type 1 we've heard of pumps but haven't gone into the details as Nick doesn't seem to like the idea - I shall give him your blog post to read though - mind you as wonderful as our NHS is here in the UK they are very very stingy about letting people go onto pumps so I'm not sure if he decided he liked the idea it would necessarily be that easy or possible to get him one - thanks for the informative writing - it all helps us to consider all options :)