Getting Used to an Insulin Pump

Posts tagged ‘Diabetes Nurse’

Let’s Have A Party!

Xmas Pump

Xmas Pump

You might have noticed it’s getting a little close to the Crimbleton holiday period, which is nice, a week or two off work and food, drink, presents and family time for most of us. With this in mind I thought I’d just give a quick update on a few things.

  1. Don’t forget it’s the NottsType1 Xmas do at Fat Cat’s in the city centre this coming Saturday (the 15th of December). If you happen to be the sort of person who uses Facebook then you can tell us you’re coming here. If not just roll up and start imbibing. There will be the customary blood tests at ten o’clock, highest BG wins, plus we’ll probably have some kind of long drawn out discussion about the merits of drinking and bolusing.
  2. If you went along you’ll know this already but last weekend was the inaugural-probably-to-be-Annual NottsType1 Quiz Night at the The Willow Tree Pub in West Bridgford. According to those who attended the night was a roaring success. Personally I think it may have been some kind of set up as Sam won and she doesn’t even live in Nottingham, however the night managed to raise us £158.00 which isn’t bad and may go some way to allowing us to continue to hold our meetings and events and frankly do the stuff we would like to do.
  3. Web-Monkey attended a pump clinic yesterday, not as much fun as it sounds! The topic was festive eating and it mainly consisted of lots of Type 1’s guessing how much carbohydrate was in Christmassy fare like mince pies, etc. A useful exercise and handy because it meant Web-Monkey could invite all those people to Saturday’s knees up too so we might just get some unfamiliar faces turning up.
  4. The first “Travels with my pancreas” story has been submitted to Alex, if you have no idea what I’m talking about it was suggested some while ago that the NottsType1 group produce some kind of publication on holidaying in far flung places with Diabetes, without giving too much away the tale is called “How I Met Your Mother” and is about five thousand words long. If any of you are interested in doing something like this and becoming a famous writer, published author, target of others’ derision then get in contact with us and get writing,
  5. In case I’m too lazy to write anything else before the 25th, have a Happy Christmas.

See you all on Saturday.

Ooh, Pointy!

When I was at the clinic the other week for my annual pump check up I asked if I could try a different infusion set, because my stomach looks a little like it has a bad case of acne from the places where the needles have been. My pump is an Accu-Chek Spirit Combo and I’ve used the TenderLink infusion set since I got it because I thought having the bit that sticks in to me at an angle rather than at 90 degrees would be better for e.g. when I was playing volleyball and such like.

Anyhoo, I was given the only one they happened to have a few of laying around which was the Ultraflex, this one has a needle which goes straight in to you but is much shorter and (I think!?!?!) thinner than the TenderLink. Anyway I got four of them and so I used them over the previous couple of weeks, then last night I went back to the old standard.

I have put a picture of both below, the old one on the left and the new one on the right and I just wanted to say that the old one now feels like trying to stick Cleopatra’s Needle in to myself. Sadly I have about three or four boxes of the TenderLinks left and I don’t believe in needlessly sucking money out of the good old NHS so I’ll use them up first but when I next give those nice people at Roche Diagnostics a call I’ll be changing my standard order to the FlexLink infusion sets!

Accu-Chek FlexLink Infusion Set

Accu-Chek FlexLink Infusion Set

Accu-Chek TenderLink Infusion Set

Accu-Chek TenderLink Infusion Set

My Eyes, My Eyes!!!

Tropicamide

1% Tropicamide

This afternoon I went for my Diabetic Retinopathy screening at Boots in town, therefore if there are any spelling mistakes in this it is down to the fact that I can’t actually read what I’m writing because the 1% tropicamide has taken effect and everything is blurry and bright.

I don’t have a great deal to say following on from the essay I wrote yesterday, what I do need to do is start preparing my talk for the Notts Type 1 group in three weeks time otherwise I’ll just end up jabbering on about whatever comes in to my head and that could be very dangerous for everybody who attends.

Oh yes, there was one thing which was possibly useful that I was told at my EDWARD follow up yesterday, looking through my blood test results it looks like I am invariably high the morning after I have changed my infusion set, it was suggested that other people have had this same problem and the way to overcome it is to leave the previous infusion set in for a couple of hours after swapping over…

I can’t really see how this works because there is nothing (e.g. no pump) pushing the remaining insulin from the infusion set in to you but being an open minded sort of chap I’ll give it a go and see if I get better post change results.

My next change is on Thursday night which is volleyball night anyway so not sure if that’ll give me a sensible post change result but I’ll try and remember to keep my eye on my post change results the next few times I do it and update you on whether it’s helped.

Busy

Busy

Busy, Busy, Busy!

In case you were wondering I’m kind of busy at work at the moment which is why I’ve been a bit quiet, blog-wise! Thankfully I’ve managed to steal a few minutes this afternoon to post an update.

I think the last time I wrote anything I was still having high blood sugars first thing in the morning and was wondering if it was something to do with my extended time off work. Well it looks like it was because I am now back to where I should be with my morning BMs, which is good.

I had a strange night last Thursday at volleyball because didn’t drop my basal rate I just had about three lots of 20 grams of carbohydrates and was fine throughout the practice and the night afterwards. Think I might try this again this week, although the season and practices are nearly over so I will then need to remember this stuff until we start back again in a couple of months.

Went to my EDWARD 12 month follow up course today, I’m quite pleased because my HbA1C test came back at 7.0mmol/l which is frankly better than it’s ever been, Admittedly my previous results were 7.8, 7.6 and 7.8 again but the main reason for that was the number of hypos I used to have, pretty sure it’s gone down or at the very least they aren’t as severe as they used to be as I seem to get warning signs in the high 3s now rather than under 3.

I built and installed a raised bed in the garden yesterday, excitement central at the Ladle house, but the reason I mention it is because I didn’t have a hypo even though it was quite good body and brain exercise. There was however a fair bit of swearing, even though I have vowed to stop, the only times I seem to swear now is while doing DIY or volleyball, personally I think that’s excusable.

Last (but obviously not least!!!) for anyone interested I will be doing a talk at the next Nottingham Type 1 Diabetes Group meeting on Tuesday the 7th of June at 19:30 at the YMCA on Mansfield Road. I have entitled the talk “A rambling session from Dan about his life with Diabetes and obtaining and operating an insulin pump“. I think that may perhaps be overkill in terms of wordcount for the title of a talk but I asked Alex and she didn’t disagree so that’s what it is. I will be talking about my life up to now with Diabetes along with information on how I managed to persuade the NHS to give me an insulin pump and how my life has been since getting it. Feel free to come along if you are interested.

That’s it for now, back when I get some more spare time!

Thirty Nine, Forty, Forty One – We’re All Going To The Zoo Tomorrow…

A Bit Like Our Shed

A Bit Like Our Shed

…actually that’s a lie, we went to the zoo on Saturday!

It was the Little ‘Un’s birthday on Sunday so we had a big birthday weekend, on Saturday Deanne and I and the young ‘un went to Twycross Zoo, I started off very well writing down all my blood test results in the little book and trying to accurately judge what I was eating (ice creams, etc.) but by 11am had given up completely and was just trying to play it by ear. The main reason for me giving up was because my blood sugar was dropping like a rock and so I had to keep doing blood tests and eating to try and keep up with the high level of carbohydrate that pushing a pushchair and carrying a one year old round a zoo entails.

A good day but a very tiring day.

Sunday was pretty good, didn’t do a great deal in the morning (opening baby presents, playing with new toys, going to the toilet on a potty (him, not me!!!)) but in the afternoon while the weather was hot I decided to start clearing the garden shed out. To understand this fully it is worth mentioning that our shed (prior to me starting this) looked very much like one of those old shops you go in that have bits and pieces of everything stacked higgledy-piggledy on top of, inside and around each other with a blatant disregard for health and safety.

So I started by clearing a lot of stuff out of it, then screwing some hooks up so I could hang some things up to save floor space, then I started chucking out old rubbish and filing stuff in to boxes.

Interesting as this probably isn’t to read what it meant is that I had to do a lot of blood tests and have quite  an amount of carbohydrate-y things over the course of the afternoon – which I did! Although the work wasn’t particularly back breaking it was constant and so my blood sugar just kept going down. More on this phenomenon in a minute though.

Today started with a high blood sugar, mainly because I had a piece of birthday cake with dinner last night and failed to calculate the carbohydrate correclty apparently. However everything settled down enough by lunch time in order that…wait for it…I’ve finally managed to do my afternoon fasting blood glucose tests. Hooray 🙂

So far all is going well with a small surprise of my BM taking a swift upwards turn from about six to about nine at 4pm. This has shocked me because I was expecting it to start dipping about then, however I’m still guessing that I’ll be low before the end of the results. But don’t quote me on that.

I also managed to speak to the Diabetes Nurse this morning about my exercise rates and she pointed out something quite obvious which is that just because I have gone on to pump therapy doesn’t mean I don’t need to have carbohydrate while I’m exercising! So tonight I have a volleyball match and so I am going to have drink/food while I am playing to keep my blood sugar at a sensible level, as well as using a temporary basal rate and the exercise setting on my pump.

Frankly I should have realised this myself and/or called them up much earlier, but there are such a lot of things to consider when initially using a pump that you just have to try and address them one at a time.

Day Fifteen

Random Banana

Random Banana

If I’m reading his updates on Alex’s status right then it looks like Jeremy might have got his pump today, that’s at least four of the committee that have them now, Jeremy, Alex, Haydn and yours truly. We’ll have to try and strong-arm the other committee members who are currently pump-less in to getting them.

I went through resetting the basal units on my pump last night as per the conversation I had with Clare at the Diabetes Unit yesterday. Now I have to wait a couple of days before I can do another lot of fasting blood glucose tests to see if I need to adjust it some more, my suspicion would be that yes, I do. But don’t hold me to that!

I now feel like I’m settling in to life with a pump, I think I’ve been through most of what it has to throw at me, some highs and some hypos, quite a few infusion set, tube and insulin changes and at least one occlusion alarm. I’m really impressed with the level of control it gives me over my basal rate and my boluses, and I also feel different, not necessarily better, just different!

However I would say that ’cause I’m just recovering from quite a bad hypo so I don’t feel altogether with it at the moment, probably not the best time to write this but hey, I’m hardly Shakespeare at the best of times so I may as well just get on and do it.

I’m quite looking forward to the next few weeks as I start to configure it specifically to deal with my daily routine and how my body processes carbohydrates from hour-to-hour, I’m also feeling pretty good about the fact that I don’t have to do injections any more, it’s such a strange feeling getting to 6pm and not having to give myself Lantus every day.

Actually now that I’m properly recovered I’ll rescind my earlier statement that I don’t feel better on it! I do actually feel like a different person and I think it’s already starting to affect my behaviour. I don’t think I realised quite how heavily my diabetes was weighing on my shoulders prior to changing on to the pump, but I’m pretty sure that I feel a lot more care-free and confident about controlling my diabetes and keeping healthy and happy now.

Of course I’m sure I’ll still have highs and lows, both blood sugar and emotional, but already Deanne has noticed that I don’t seem to get as grumpy when my blood sugar is high, and that has to be a good thing.

Sorry if this has been a bit of a random post but that’s Diabetes for you, sometimes you just can’t help your blood sugars, and what you do when they are low 😛

Two Weeks and Counting

Dundee House at City Hospital

Dundee House at City Hospital

I’ve now had the pump attached to me for two weeks, although it feels like no time at all! I’m guessing the main thing I should talk about today is my fasting blood glucose tests but first of all I’d like to make a small apology!

Anyone who has been reading this since I started will have seen the post entitled “Days 5, 6, 7 and 8”, which was about my weekend away in Dorset, at the start of which I suggested that the team at the Diabetes Unit at Dundee House had given me some advice which I failed to take any notice of! Firstly I didn’t actually fail to take any notice of the advice and secondly the advice they give tends to be more suggestions which more or less tell you that you know best and so I would like to say sorry to Clare and the other ladies if I have been writing untruths. You guys are the best.

Okay, back to me (my favourite subject!!!)…

…I got myself all prepared last night to miss supper and wake myself up every couple of hours in order to do blood tests. As the time drew near I started thinking “I’m quite hungry”, which I should have taken as a sign really! I did my first blood test at 10pm and I was 2.2mmol/l which obviously meant that I had to knock the whole thing on the head as I had to have some Dextrose which would of invalidated the whole thing.

So I got up this morning and decided that I’d do it then instead, this meant I missed breakfast (the most important meal of the day) and did a blood test every hour from 7am until 1pm. My blood glucose stayed around five until 10am then I got up to nearly seven, then had three nines!

I called Clare at the Diabetes Unit this afternoon and she has given me some advice about altering my doses (thanks very much, again) and so I need to have a fiddle with my basal dose before tomorrow morning and see what happens over the next couple of days.

The whole fasting process wasn’t as painful as I thought it might be and the results are interesting. I’ll be interested to see what effect changing my basal doses actually has on my control and of course I’ll update you as and when I have any news on this!

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