Monday, 16 June 2014

Pumping Insulin: The First Week.

I've officially been using my insulin pump, with actual insulin, and not saline, for a week now.

To be honest, it was all going well until the weekend! The weekend is, of course, when no DSNs are in clinic to pick up my calls! Typical! But let's start at the beginning of the week.

Monday, I started on insulin. Sunday night, I had to take half my usual dose of levemir, have breakfast as normal and inject. So far, so good. I arrived at the hospital, and saw a DSN. She asked how I'd got on with wearing the pump over the weekend, and I explained to her how I'd had an issue with getting the cannulas to stick (still do!) but other than that, everything had gone well. Of course, the pump was only giving me saline, so I wasn't expecting things to go wrong. 

I learnt how to fill a cartridge, which is SO much harder than it looks, how to get rid of air bubbles, priming the cannula and tubing, and felt very thankful for having a DSN there to fall back on! The thought of having to change my own cartridge at the weekend filled me with dread (which I have now was interesting...but we'll get to that!) I had to do my first bolus at the hospital, so I went to the nearest café and bought a tea and cereal bar. I checked my blood sugar, input the carbs, pressed the right buttons, and the pump delivered my insulin for me. Very weird not having to do an injection! After I'd eaten, I went back the DSN's office, and she went over what I needed to do when it came to going to the gym, and double-checked that my meter was programmed correctly with my new insulin to carb ratios, and I was good to go.

"Please, please call tomorrow so I know you got on okay! Please!" The DSN said to me as I left. 

"I will!" I promised, sounding a hell of a lot more confident than I felt about this first night!

Things were surprisingly okay. When I had my evening meal, I didn't believe my meter when it told me I only needed 4 [point] something units for my pasta! It just didn't seem like anywhere near enough, but I went and did what it told me to anyway. (I used to be on a 1u:7g, but on the pump, I'm on 1u:15g. HUGE difference!)

Sleeping with the pump (I don't know how to word that so it doesn't sound weird) wasn't an issue, as I'd already done that over the weekend. (Definitely sounds weird - I'm sorry!)

I also did my first basal test, at the request of my DSN. Due to some low blood sugars at night, I checked my evening basal rates first, the results of which I will report back to her via phone call later today.

It's been this past weekend where that "yay-I-love-having-a-pump" feeling somewhat disappeared. 

Saturday, no cannula would stick. I ended up replacing the cannula three times in the end! Three times! Not fun. 

Sunday, I had to change the insulin cartridge. SO STRESSFUL! There was myself, my housemate, Shep, and another friend, sat round the kitchen table with the training handbook, an insulin vial, one of them cartridge things you put into the pump when it's filled (technical definition right there!) and new tubing. Between the three of us, we managed it, but, holy eff, did we get frustrated with air bubbles and trying to decide how many units to tell the pump were in the new cartridge!

However, between this insulin-refill-stress, I completely forgot to start a temporary basal rate (TBR) before going to the gym. My blood sugar was high on arrival at the gym anyway. Had dropped a bit by the time I'd finished at the gym, but then I had lunch and my blood sugar shot up again. I corrected, but felt sluggish all day. Things were a lot better by the evening though, and my blood sugar was a lot more stable. So, maybe something to do with the cartridge change?! I'm not sure, but it's something I will bring up with my DSN when I talk to her later today. 

Closing thoughts? I knew this first week was going to be up and down, and it has been. More up than down, admittedly, but there have been struggles. Mainly this past weekend. But it's still very early days, and I need to give myself time to learn how the pump works and how to use it to it's fullest capacity, so that it makes my life with diabetes that little bit easier. And that's not going to happen over night. So, with patience and perseverance, into week two we go!    


  1. Aww, thanks for sharing! I don't remember my first week with my pump so it's cool to hear how your experience went..keep us posted on how it's going!

    1. Thanks, Kelley! Hope you're doing okay and pregnancy is treating you well!