Years ago I wasn’t diabetic. I also did lots of rock climbing, was therefore relatively fit and didn’t have greying hair. In addition I was also pleasingly thin and didn’t have the layer upon layer of walrus-like blubber that now encases my repulsive Mr Creosote body.
Or something like that. Since going on the pump I’ve noticed that some areas of my body absorb insulin much better than others, for example my stomach is relatively poor for absorption while my back (or certainly the bit I can easily reach) is more absorbent than your favourite brand of toilet paper (presuming, of course, you care enough about bog roll to devote time and energy to picking a favourite brand; which I suspect you don’t).
I’m not sure what causes these differences in absorption. Perhaps it’s not that my once washboard six-pack of a stomach is now sheathed (if “sheathed” is the word I’m looking for) in the aforementioned walrus blubber of flab, while my back remains washboard-like, at least for the moment.
Or perhaps it’s due to the inevitable battering my poor stomach received through five years of injections during those dark times between diagnosis and pump. Despite being quite good at changing my needles and being at least relatively careful with injecting, it’s inevitable that some tissue damage must have occurred. Not being triple-jointed, I never injected in my back, so that – in terms of injections at least – is therefore as pure as driven snow and entirely undamaged. Better qualified people than me (i.e. the rest of the world) will be able to tell me the answer in the comments below.
Anyway, whatever the causes of different absorptions I have been messing about with the different basal patterns my pump can do. I found that if I used the same basal rate all the time I would constantly suffer from hideous hypos if I shoved an infusion set in my back. This was so much of a pain that one evening I decided to do a set change from my back to stomach to try and stave off the seventeenth (seemingly) hypo of the day. The fact I was in a noisy pub and in the middle of a loud and rather messy stag night did not put me off. Desperate times and all that. You’ve never really lived until you’ve done a set change in front of a dozen pissed-up cheering lads!
So, after consulting the manual for the pump (see, Medtronic – some people do read it!) I now have two patterns. One for stomach infusion sets, one for back infusion sets. The back is just the same but with a few less noggins of insulin per hour. “Noggins” being a technical term, of course.
And – hurrah – it works a treat. I can now use a whole load more skin “real estate” for shoving in sets without the misery of hypos. Now to do something about the walrus-like blubber!