Daily Life With An Insulin Pump
I've been thinking about my insulin pump lately. In September I will mark my two year pumping anniversary. It's amazing that I feel intimately connected to this little machine that tethers to my body and helps me to live a healthy and active life.
In a typical day, I interact with my pump several times and for many different reasons.
For instance, in the early hours of the morning, I recently heard Sienna babbling on the infant monitor. Under the bedcovers, I dug around for my pump, clicked on the little backlight and discovered it was 2:00 a.m.! (All day long I check my pump for the time since I don't wear a watch and frequently do not have my cell phone with me. It's quite handy.)
Several hours later, I got Sienna dressed for the day. She's now able to grab items purposefully and her little hands keep finding the tiny strand of pump tubing! Talk about some good hand eye coordination! I felt a little tug on my side and had to pry the tubing out of her clenched hand. (Read: "How Diabetes Affects your Children" for more information on how Kelsey's diabetes impacts her daughter)
My pump factors into my outfit selection process each day. Sometimes I'll feel like wearing the little thigh holster with a skirt or dress. Other times, I choose to stash the pump in the sideband of my bra. It's always nice when Friday roles around and I know my pump will fit easily in the pocket of my jeans. Since it's getting hot down here in San Diego, I've been wearing a lot of skirts and dresses for work. The elastic band that holds the pump around my thigh is alright, but I keep wondering if there's something better out there. Please share any tips or products you know of that would work with skirts... I'd love to try something new!
Disconnecting from my pump for showers, swimming, and sometimes even long walks is always nice. But, I always have to think about the missed basal insulin and decide how much, if any, of that insulin needs to be replaced, taking into consideration my activity level and food choices.
Lately, I've reflected upon my pump and/or infusion site as a likely culprit when my blood sugar is unexpectedly high. I sometimes keep the same site in for too many days, which can contribute to poor insulin absorption and thus high blood sugars.
Also, during the hot summer months it's important to pay attention to the temperatures my pump is exposed to. I've had several instances in the past when the insulin in my pump became ineffective because of long exposure to heat. Even just being in my pocket on a particularly hot day can lead to problems. Body heat, plus a heat wave, sweat, and humidity are killers for insulin!
How does the pump integrate into your daily life? Other than its major responsibility of delivering insulin, what other needs does your pump fulfill? Do you find your pump to be cumbersome or is it very user friendly?
Read more from our experts on insulin pump!
Dr. Bill Quick: