Sue explains how she achieves her daily insulin requirement using a pump.
I used to take shots. They were daily shots and I didn’t have a problem with that but I found out that there was a better way, at least for me. Now my better way may not be someone else’s better way but this is my story so I am going to tell you how it’s better for me.
In 2002 I was able to get on an insulin pump. An insulin pump is a device that’s been around for a long time but surprisingly I couldn’t get one when I lived in the states. It took a move to Sydney, Australia for me to get my first insulin pump. I received that pump and lots of fantastic medical support from a team of nurses there. And this was in February 2002, and since that time when I received my insulin pump I will tell you that there is no turning back for me.
It gives me freedom and my insulin needs are met through this device that I am going to show you right now and as I show you I will try to explain exactly how this works. This morning, it’s good, it’s fresh in my mind, so this morning I was out of insulin. I knew I was going to have to change my line. The pump is a device that holds a syringe and I am sorry I can’t take the syringe out because it just won’t be a good idea but it’s a canula that contains enough insulin for between three and four days.
I myself feel this massive syringe up, the three and four day amount of insulin, I fill it up and then I insert it into my body and I wear the same canula for about three to four days and then that insulin is gone. The thing about the pump is it is going into my body 24 hours a day. I do take it off to shower and to go swimming but this is feeding me. I like to call it my insulin feeder and I am going to show you how this works.
So after I fill up the insulin and get it all completely ready to go to last for a while, I then insert it into my body. It’s a line. It’s a line of tubing and the insulin is coming from here and it’s being pushed at a rate that I tell it to go and it’s being pushed into what we call our site.
This is the site of my most recent one and you might think that I am embarrassed to do this but I am really not because it’s just a little bit of skin you are going to see here. You are not going to see any blood so don’t be nervous about that, and this is my site.
It goes in somewhere around your mid section. You can also wear it in your legs. You can wear it in your arms. You put it into fatty tissue rather than into muscle. So I insert this device with, there’s a needle in it and it’s on a little feeder thing and it’s just like, almost like you get your ears pierced. It just punctures right in and there is a certain amount, just a small amount, maybe a quarter of an inch to a half an inch of plastic that is inside of me and that’s where the insulin drips in. It’s a 24-hour drip. People can equate it maybe to an IV.
When I shower or when I want to swim we’ve got a couple of little arrows here, just turn it off and I take it off and then I can go in, no water will affect this. I have to make sure this is nice and tight. When I ran the first few times I got sweaty, it started to peel up – not a good idea because you don’t want to be running and lose your insulin. So I put it back on and my insulin is going.
I am not going to give you all of the details of programming this because it would be way too many details but suffice it to say that I get a background of insulin at a certain low-drip rate all the time, even when I am sleeping. I hook this to my pajama bottom when I am sleeping.
And then when I eat I have to take more insulin for the food that I eat. So it’s called a basal, which is the background, and a bolus, which is what you take when you want to eat something. If you are eating apple you take insulin; if you eat a plate of pasta you take insulin. Anything that has carbohydrate in it needs insulin to back it up.
This is my pump. It’s my best friend. I carry it with me. I would never let you take it from me. No amount of money, you could give me a check for a million dollars and say I’ll trade you this check if you give me your insulin pump, never to use it again – there is no way I would give it up, not even for a million dollars.
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