Finally, the hour draws near where I will reach the dizzy heights of the top of Lothian Health Board’s insulin pump therapy waiting list and receive a shiny new Medtronic Veo pump. As you can perhaps imagine, I’m rather looking forward to it.
However, before I get connected to my new machine and thereafter become half-human, half-cyborg, half-Matrix style automaton I thought I would jot down a few notes on what I expect to get from a pump. This is mainly so we can all have a good laugh about them in a few months’ time when none of them actually happen.
So, in no particular order:
Like lots of members of the pancreatically challenged horde, my insulin needs vary throughout the day. My insulin resistance in the morning is such that I need about twice as much insulin as I do in the evening. As a result, I always battle a high blood glucose peak after breakfast, which is a pain in the bum. Circadian rhythms have a lot to answer for, I tell you.
I hope a pump will ultimately allow me to up the basal rate early in the morning, allowing me to smooth off that irritating post-breakfast high.
Basal rates (again)
During the week I lead a relatively sedentary life. I sit on my back-friendly rocking-stool at my computer, only venturing out into the daylight to grab a sandwich at lunch time. I don’t even run for busses – it is, after all, not very dignified, is it?
However at weekends I am, sometimes, a ball of energy – long walks in the Pentlands, cycling, working through the long list of chores Katie has given me and so on. Hypos at the weekend are therefore much more of a problem. While it’s not entirely responsible for this problem, dumb old Lantus just doesn’t have the flexibility to cope with this sort of thing. Therefore I’m hoping by adjusting basal rates on the fly the pump will help give me more weekend flexibility.
We all have our diabetic food nemeses – fish and chips, Chinese take outs, pizzas. Again I’m hoping I can employ dual wave boluses and wibble-wobble waves (or whatever Alison calls them) to combat difficult food misery.
Injections are bit crude really, aren’t they? The awful old Autopen 24 for Lantus can only do double units and the finest control you can get with a Humalog-filled pen is a half unit. Quarter units for really fine-tweaking are where the cool kids are at with pumps. This is going to allow me the ability to more finely tune my insulin intake. It does, of course, mean I’ve more things to fiddle with and thus gives greater potential for cock-ups. But overall, I think this is a plus.
The cyborg thing
There is a negative side too. Although I’m relatively confident being attached to a machine all the time won’t be an insurmountable problem, it will take some getting used to. Regular pump users assure me you quickly get used to being attached and I suspect they’re probably right.
Finally, one of the very few benefits of diabetes are the cool gadgets we get to play with. And gadgets don’t come much cooler than the Veo. Shiny stuff always rocks (and rocks hard) so I’m looking forward to the pump also just merely because I’ll have a new toy. What fun!