Partying with the pump

By | 7 January, 2011
Englebert is a complete star

Englebert is a complete star

Hello beloved Shoot Up readers and a belated happy New Year to you all! I hope you had an enjoyable winter festival and, if you use the Gregorian calendar, a wonderful New Year.

Being pseudo-Scottish, I don’t do New Year. Instead I do Hogmanay, which is pretty much the same as New Year celebrations but with considerably more whisky and puking. For a change this year Katie and I decided to avoid the hideous scrum that is the centre of Edinburgh on 31st and instead hired a cottage in the foothills of the Highlands for the week over Hogmanay. For company we also invited our good chums Sheena and Stephan to ring in the New Year with us.

While I might like to say that the four of us used our time together to discuss the issues of the day, visit cultural attractions or enjoy poetry recitals*, we didn’t. Essentially we had a traditional Scottish (though three of us are English) three days of trying to eat and drink as much as possible. This aim we achieved with some degree of success.

As we all know, eating and drinking a lot of stuff at irregular times can be a diabetic nightmare. However I think me and my new best mate – Englebert Pumperdinck – tackled it all with gusto.

A typical day in the cottage involved eating a late, high carb dinner (use square wave bolus to iron out highs and lows); dancing round hi-fi (match booze intake with energy used, check BG regularly); late night and late rising (different pre-programmed basal levels through night took care of dawn phenomena problems); walking to pub (temporarily reduced basal for two hours); pint of Guinness (slip in 1.3 units); another pint of Guinness (another 1.3 units); walk home from pub (another temporary basal); rinse and repeat ad infinitum.

As a result of the flexibility which Englebert afforded me, I managed a week of difficult potential diabetic issues with only one hypo and not that many highs. (I have chosen to ignore the Boxing Day Trifle Incident in this article, which saw me struggling with a BG of 20+ for six hours. The less said about that the better).

While pumps are definitely not a wonderful panacea and are certainly hard work to set up, I was seriously impressed with the flexibility it gave me during my first holiday and non-routine days since being on it. Good old Englebert! It was worth the wait.

* we did actually have a poetry recital, in that I read aloud from my new copy of William McGonagall’s collected works. If you’re not familiar with his work, check out his wonderful poem The Tay Bridge Disaster (

4 thoughts on “Partying with the pump

  1. Alison

    Tim, this is complete fantasy. You can’t just lie your way through the blog, its important that you’re honest about stuff…there’s no way in this world you went to the pub and only had two pints of Guinness 😉

  2. Cecile

    @alison: The Guinness just paved the way for the pint of Scottish wine that followed – which is needed to provide fuel that one sets alight before leaving the pub, to prevent the insulin from freezing in its tube while braving the Highland nip on the walk home.

    @tim: I’ll put my money on Miss Penny as far as coping with trifle goes: she left me a respectable 5 an hour after (or Pennies, ’cause I used both NovoRapid {for fast bits} and Humilin R {for the bits that get tied down by the cream}…isn’t that what the pump’s “dual wave bolus”? is supposed to do?)

  3. Tim Post author

    @ckoei – it was actually a pint, or so, of port that did for me when we got back from said pub. The Scottish Wine followed on the second day after getting back from the pub – that did for me moreso. When the picture illustrating the article was taken (long exposure on SLR) we were actually moderately sober. Broadly speaking.

    A dual wave for trifle would have worked perfectly – I just didn’t think of it at the time because I’m an idiot! 😀


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