I have a few friends starting on pumps soon so having previously discussed getting funding for a pump, choosing a pump and answering the top questions people ask about pumps, I thought a few top tips on starting pumping might be helpful.
Firstly, don’t underestimate it; starting a pump is a big change.
Research, research, research. My bible was Pumping Insulin by John Walsh. It’s quite technical but it tells you everything you could need to know about using an insulin pump. I read it before I started pumping, used it to work out what my insulin dosages should be and then re-read it once I’d started on the pump. I’d have been lost without it.
Some of the pump companies do good online training which you can do before you start on the pump. Whatever you do, make sure you do some reading before you start, that way you’ll hit the ground running and it won’t all be quite so alien to you.
Think about taking someone with you to your pump training. I took the husband and it made it so much easier. There is a lot to remember, and it makes such a difference to have someone else who’s been through the training when you’ve forgotten how to change an infusion set!
Don’t panic! You didn’t learn all about diabetes on the day you were diagnosed and the same goes for getting your pump. Understand the basics first, then have a play with the more advanced settings.
Test, test, test – it’s the only way you’re going to work out your insulin rates. If you can get your hands on a CGMS, if only for a few days, I think they make a real difference in helping you to work out what’s working and what isn’t.
Don’t be disheartened. It took me about 3 months to get to the point where I was as comfortable with my pump as I was beforehand. I loved it from day 1, it just took time to work it all out.
Don’t be surprised if you wake up in a cold sweat because you think you’ve forgotten to take your Lantus, then realise that you don’t need it any more. That took a while for me to get used to.
Always carry a spare syringe with you. The proper advice is that you should always carry a spare infusion set in case you rip it out, it blocks etc. Because I’m a bad diabetic who hates carrying junk, I don’t do this if I’m just out for the day. If you’re stubbornly stupid like me, at least carry a syringe with you – that way you’re not completely scuppered when you have one of those days.
Fellow pumpers, do you have any other top tips for those about to enter the world of pumps for the first time?