The joys of pump patterns

By | 8 August, 2011
Ten Tonne Tubby Timmy, yesterday

Ten Tonne Tubby Timmy, yesterday

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!

8 thoughts on “The joys of pump patterns

  1. Tim Post author

    The Quick-Sets; I know some people sometimes have better results with the Silhouettes, but life is too short to order two sets of infusion sets. Or is it? I can be convinced otherwise.

    1. Angie

      omg you’ve never lived!!!!! The added joy of getting to pick between two infusion sets on those wonderful set change days is just amazing…*

      *disclaimer: am high on painkillers as a result of toothache, so any statements made may be complete rubbish

      In all seriousness, I usually get two different sets in my delivery, mainly because I find different sets are more comfortable in different places, and I like having the choice. Also one set is flatter than the other, so sometimes I am completely girly and choose that one because it shows less under clothes…

  2. Annette A

    Strangely, I dont have this type of problem with absorption. Whether I am plumbed into my stomach, back or arms has no apparent difference to my bgs. I just cant use my thighs – I cannot get a set to take – each time I’ve tried, they’ve failed (usually involving blood gushing out when I’ve given up and pulled it). However, when I was on MDI, I did have noticeably different absorption rates on my thighs – if I did my Novorapid jabs there, it would take up to 2 hours to get into my system (as opposed to 15-20 minutes elsewhere) – so I’m not too worried about not using them.
    (Oh, and doing a set change using a pool table as the only clear surface whilst a bevy of (young) nephews and nieces stare in amazement at what you’re doing (and ask silly/vaguely sensible questions at the same time – all of which I try to answer) is quite an experience as well!)

  3. Cecile

    @annette : Can I join the chorus and ask if a set change would always be right on cue if you do it on a pool table? 🙂

  4. Alison

    You’re obviously more sensitive than we all thought @Tim, because like @Annette, I’ve never had this problem either 🙂 You’re not alone though, I’ve heard plenty of people takling about this, but for me thighs, bum, stomach or back make no difference at all. Although I don’t put Quicksets in my stomach, they get too kinky there for my liking and result in soaring blood sugars, if I’m stomach-bound I use Silhouettes.

  5. Tim Post author

    I think I’m going to have to try some of these new-fangled Silhouettes and see if they are a Good Thing or not.

  6. Bellebe

    I’m in awe (and jealous) of all of you.
    When on MDI I jabbed both my thighs and tum and didn’t seem to have any issues with absorption (though my bgs were shocking so maybe actually I did!)

    Since going onto the pump however I’ve tried numerous sites (tum, thigh, bum, hip and back) and sets (6mm Quickset, 9mm Quickset, Silhouette and Sure T’s) and the only combo I can get any absorption with is a 9mm Quickset in the tum.
    Rubbish. 🙁

    I work pretty hard to keep my tum on the small side (I’m led to believe this is a good thing!) and am coming up to 1 year of pump usage. I’m concerned about running out of site space. Is it worth me starting again with all the site and set combos???


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