“Ketones” by Ana Morales
I’m all about people using pumps if they like them (or don’t like them but find they manage their diabetes well with them). It’s a wonderful device and I’m happy technology like that exists for us. I used a pump for 7 years, which is plenty of time to experience just what pumping is all about.
So I want to talk about something I noticed during my pumping years and after them.
It occurred to me recently that my numbers rarely go high enough to induce DKA. I can count on one hand the occasions in the past 5 years where my blood sugar has gone over 350 and it hasn’t been over 400 in 6 years. I’ve been off the pump for 6 years and find I can’t go back, yet. One of the most dangerous things in my mind is DKA and very high blood sugars. I experienced super high blood sugars enough as a teenager to know I never want to go through that again.
When I was on the pump, it was a regular monthly occurrence to have a 400+ blood sugar reading and it was almost always due to a pump or tubing or pump site malfunction. I knew that my being human provided sufficient variability and error to my diabetes management and I began to seriously resent the pump for adding to that risk simply because I didn’t have the energy to keep up with it’s extra requirements.
What I mean is people who don’t endure these pump issues have very good discipline when it comes to changing their pump site and checking their tubing and changing the site when they suspect they need to. However, I know that many of us don’t do this. I completely understand why-it’s hard to keep up this kind of diligence, especially if it means inserting a painfully long needle more times than we’d like.
Those who use pumps should probably be in a very good place when it comes to their motivation to do all that is necessary to successfully use the pump. I was not one of these people because I resented wearing the pump and as a result, kept my site in too long sometimes and suffered the consequences. Of course, sometimes, we can do everything right and something wrong can still happen with the pump though the likelihood is very much decreased if we keep up the right routine.
I love using syringes because I get piece of mind each time I give insulin, knowing I don’t have extra variables to contend with (there are SO many as is). And mostly because I never have a high blood sugar surprise that is a result of my not receiving any basal insulin for a mysterious amount of time. The danger of very high blood sugar isn’t just that, it’s also the lows that can result from giving insulin over and over again in an effort to push that really high and resistant blood sugar down.
Obviously there is more involved in keeping blood sugars stable.
Reducing my carbs and using shots has made my blood sugars so much more stable, with little extra effort involved. And to me that’s practically miraculous in terms of gains to my quality of life and health. So while I don’t mean to say that people shouldn’t use a pump I just think we should each be honest with ourselves about how it works for us. I realized I was no longer a good candidate and got off the pump and there is nothing wrong with that. And there is a good possibility that one day I’ll get back on a pump. They are making wonderful improvements to pumps each year and I’m becoming a more responsible and disciplined person each year.
Very well meaning people tell me all the time, “but don’t you miss being able to sleep in and eat when you want?” News flash my friends, there are now long acting insulin such as Lantus which serve as a basal insulin. The NPH and R insulin of the past are just that.
I guess what I’m saying is, are you having a lot of extremely high numbers due to pump issues? If so, work to reduce them with your healthcare team and if you know in your heart that you aren’t keeping up with site changes and all the pump requires, think about your options. Whatever you do, do it in favor of your health. Everything else will surely fall into place.