Back to default

By | 5 November, 2010
Ho ho ho! This is the wrong sort of "pump"

Ho ho ho! This is the wrong sort of “pump”

As I keep banging on about it, beloved readers of your soaraway Shoot Up will, by now, be well aware that I was hooked up to an insulin pump earlier this week. Anyway, I’m pleased to report that I’m still alive and all seems to be going well so far.

Training started up at the Royal Infirmary on Tuesday with a small group of slightly apprehensive pumpers, accompanied by DSNs to a ratio of 1 nurse to 2 patients – so top quality training provision. We were led through how to do the button pressing on the pumps (pretty straightforward); how to insert an infusion set (pretty straightforward but slightly fiddly) and the basics of pump use (easy to get not bad control, complicated to get it perfect). Training consisted of a base of top notch textbook knowledge, backed up with a tonne of useful, practical experience from our DSNs. We were all finally hooked up by midday and allowed to escape for lunch.

To make things as simple as possible, we were advised to use a flat, constant basal rate and to use one carbohydrate ratio all through the day. The theory being that once we’d established what a basic, flat level did to us we could then start fiddling about customising one thing at a time. We also reset our usual BG targets to between 8 and 10 – somewhat higher than usual, but a much easier level to recover from if something went horribly wrong! So to achieve this, my DSN plumped for a basal rate of 0.875 units per hour and a carbohydrate ratio of 1 unit of insulin to 10 grams of carbs.

More training followed in the afternoon and once our BG levels looked like they were behaving themselves we were released back into the community. We were advised to keep checking our blood glucose every two hours during the day and every three hours during the night. If you are looking for a miserable way to spend a couple of days, then I can highly recommend BG testing every three hours through the night. Hideous though it was, it did – of course – allow us to see what was happening while we were asleep. In my case, not a lot blood-glucose wise. We all had our DSN’s ready on call all through the night and I’m pleased – mainly for Joan’s sake – that I didn’t really have any problems; but it was highly reassuring to know a DSN was only a phone call away!

Two days later saw us all back at the Royal Infirmary – considerable more cheery and already swapping war stories of our limited pumping experiences. In general, pumps got the thumbs up, once allowances had been made for early teething problems.

So after four days, I’ve begun to establish a pattern of my blood glucose through the day and I’m starting (with the help of my DSN) to tweak things and customise them to my needs. Which is nice.

It’s obviously early days yet, but I’ve been impressed with the pump. There are a whole load more variables you can adjust when compared to MDI – which is both a good thing and a bad thing. It gives you more flexibility but also more things to potentially screw up! I like the fact I don’t have to inject and I love the bolus wizard (the built in calculator which tells you how much insulin to put in).

So there we have it – Englebert is certainly in my good books, but it’s early days yet. I’ll report back with an update in due course!

Category: Kit & equipment Tags:

About Tim

Diagnosed with Type One when he was 28, Tim founded Shoot Up in 2009. For the diabetes geeks, he wears a Medtronic 640G insulin pump filled with Humalog and uses Abbott's Libre flash glucose monitor.

34 thoughts on “Back to default

  1. Annette A

    One of those odd things where a problem actually becomes an asset – I have never had problems with doing the overnight testing, because I sleep so badly anyway. I wake up about every 2-3 hours as a matter of course, so I just test when I wake up. Means I have tons of data as to what’s happening overnight bg wise (for me, very little), without really putting me out any more than usual! Insomnia = good data 🙂

  2. Mike

    Great stuff Tim.. Glad all is swimmingly pumptastic!!!!

    Could you not have gave your DSN a call just for shits n giggles??? 【ツ】

  3. Tim Post author

    @mikeinspain – you’re a bad man – no, I couldn’t just ring my DSN at 3am for fun! 😉

    1. Cecile

      A DSN called Joan of Dark
      Can be phoned after bedtime of lark.
      So she uses Tim’s pump
      As opium dump,
      Now it’s lights out for that BG nark…

  4. Mike

    Just thought.. But I have wondered if purposely waking up to test, fall asleep, wake to test changes your hormone levels through out the night and perhaps not give such an accurate reading as if you were to be asleep all night? Emmmmm?

  5. Annette A

    Doesnt appear to have any difference whether I test when I wake up or I set an alarm to test at a specific time – like, I wake up and test cos I’ve woken up and its, say 2:50am, or I have set an alarm to specifically test at 3am cos the DSN says I have to have a test at exactly that time. The differences are not noticeable. But, who’s to say that I wouldn’t have spontaneously woken at 3.10am on that specific day anyway, so there may not be a difference between the 2 situations for me? But even for a good sleeper, as you test immediately you wake, and any hormone change wouldnt affect you that fast, the initial test is valid, and then any hormone induced change would die away over the next 3 hours, thus being unlikely to affect the following test. I dont know how long such hormone levels last – anyone?

  6. Mike

    Hurrah! Glad Englebert is settling nicely into his pseudo-pancreatic role. Just hope he continues with his restrained performance and doesn’t start trying to build his part up with lots of bleeping and errors 🙂

  7. Donald Thomson

    All sounds very positive so far. Been wondering when the first update was going to be posted and relieved to hear that the reason for radio silence has been down to your intensive training regime and getting used to the pump rather than being in a diabetic coma.

  8. Mike

    @tim Perhaps you could setup an automatic blog update “just in case” you do enter a coma.. At least then we know and could take the proverbial ****!! Just a thought, no? 【ツ】

  9. Tim Post author

    @mikeinspain; you mean something like:

    “Dear Shoot Up readers; unfortunately / happily [delete as applicable] I have slipped into coma / have a healthy BG [delete as applicable] and have died / am still alive [delete as applicable]. Writing for Shoot Up has always been a pleasure / tedious chore [delete as applicable] and I’ve made a lots of friends / enemies [delete as applicable] through the site. I will miss you all / continue to write drivel once or twice a week [delete as applicable]”

    Sounds good to me!

  10. Claire

    Glad to hear you’re getting along with Englebert @tim 🙂

    *Jealous* – six weeks in and still testing every 2 hours through the night. Unlike lucky @tim and @annette, it seems that far more ‘goes on’ in my bg world at night than in the day 🙁 Boo!

  11. Claire

    yup! *yawns*.
    Annoyingly part of the reason why it’s taking so long is I very quickly learnt to turn my alarm off in my sleep! oops! so I make a change to my basal rate, and plan to test to see if it has worked – test at 12…it’s fine, turn the alarm off at 2 and 4 thus disturbing my sleep but not actually waking enough to test, and am then hypo/or higher than target by 6am but am not sure where in between times it’s going wrong… so I set out to try again the next night. But I’ve been told really I shouldn’t make changes based on just one night so need a few nights in a row where I manage to wake up….

    then I’ll maybe go to the gym after work one evening so making normal basal changes based on those results is pointless but I still need to test as I’m also still trying to figure out temp basals for when I exercise and tend to go low 3-4 hours after training rather than during or immediately after.

    And then maybe I’ll have a glass of wine – heaven forbid I know but then those results will help with knowing how I respond to alcohol but won’t help the basal trends and if I have rice for tea and try to use a square wave well then I still need to test to see if I got that right…

    Hell, nobody said this pump lark was going to be easy!

    Am just telling myself that new mums have it far worse and for longer, and effort now will eventually pay off (I hope!)

  12. Tim Post author

    *assumes robot voice* MUST KILL ALL HUMANS. MUST KILL ALL HUMANS


  13. Tim Post author

    @mikeinspain – right, that’s you first on the list for the robot death squad visit. 😉

  14. Mike

    Most likely.. I’m sure I can either write a round or so off as expenses or get a major pharmaceutical company to collect the tab!!! 【ツ】

  15. katherine cromwell

    Brill news @Tim I knew you’d find it pretty easy. Testing will pay off though @bellebe whilst its not much fun lack of sleep can also effect your results so try and do a little at a time. I always find it annoying when you have to do a fasting test and 2/3rds of the way through you hypo which means you have to go through again!

    @Annette As I’m on the basic Accuchek Spirit pump and still test using a normal meter can you tell me if when you do the CGS testing does that account for hormonal changes?

  16. Caroline

    Hey @Claire – sounds like a nightmare for you. Is there any chance your clinic could lend you a cgms for a wee while? I asked mine if I could borrow one for a month, and they said I could have one for six days – not much but better than nothing. And if you don’t ask…. Good luck!

  17. Tim Post author

    Very pleased to announce I’ve already managed to break the pump clip by bashing it off a table. Nice one Tim!

  18. Cecile

    Diabetic Kat Accessories to the rescue! (or does DKA stand for Donna Karan Anonymous… or Diabetic Kooks Association? 🙂 )

  19. Helen

    snap! and twice i have got up from the sofa and realised once standing that my pump is dangling beside me lol….ooops (must take more care of this extra limb-type thing lol)

  20. Hairy Gnome

    Don’t worry @Tim, it must have been a weak or badly made clip, or a particularly hard table, it couldn’t possibly be your fault… 🙂 (Thinks: A zillion pounds worth of pump and the clumsy sod’s broken it already. What a plonker!)


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