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Pump Things I Wish I Had Known:

Insulin Pump:  CharleneThat I should learn to sew.   Pockets in every pair of pants, tricky little places sewn into skirts to drop in that little pump.

About little kittens and their affinity for the tasty tubing. 

That the infusion set needle wasn’t this enormous horse needle that would pierce me straight through.  Instead, it’s a small, thin intrusion that pulls out as quickly as it entered, leaving behind the plastic cannula that I can hardly feel.

That I could house the infusion set somewhere other than my abdomen.  If I had known I could use my thigh, my arm, my hip, and my stomach, I may have switched sooner. 

That my pump consultant was serious when she said to check for air bubbles in the tubing.  One little teeny air bubble can be the difference between a bolus of five units and a bolus of three. 

Bouncy Castle.  Fun!That I should buy more than one pump clip, because one bounce in the Bouncy Castle at my cousin’s family cookout sent the pump clip flying across the castle and left my pump dangling from my waistband.  (Yes, I was a bit too old to be bouncing around in the bouncy castle, but that is not the point.  And I would definitely do it again.)

Doorknobs.  It’s like they have hands and they reach out specifically to grab pump tubing.

That the phrases, “I’m pumped,” and “Pumped up,” would send me into a fit of giggles and smirks for the few months after the pump came in that big FedEx box.  Pumping has made puns even more delicious for me.

To add a syringe to my kit, just in case the pump malfunctioned and I needed to draw a dose from the reservoir itself.  (The syringe fits neatly into the top of the reservoir and you can draw back from it, just like you would a bottle of insulin.)

To get an insertion device right off the bat.  I spent two full weeks fussing with bent cannulas because I wasn’t manually inserting the sets correctly.  That QuickSet thing makes life much easier.  I have three of them in various places in my house, car, and office.

That I should be thankful for my breasts because they have successfully hidden my pump between them at many fancy functions.

Summer dress.Oh, and that thigh thing contraption that wraps around my thigh and has a pocket for the pump.  I own three of them and use them at least a few times per week.  They make dresses and skirts a snap.

That the tubing is resilient and strong enough to withstand the pump dropping from my hand.  But the tubing is not a yo-yo string and the pump cannot “bounce back up” if I give the tubing a snap.

That it is easy to disconnect and set aside. 

That calling myself “A Robot” to my nephew generated a laugh.  Same response from Chris.  And my mother.  And me, to be honest.

That both Chris’ niece and my beautiful nephew would nod understandingly when I referred to my pump as “my medicine”:

"Okay,” my nephew Connor said.  “Let’s go play zombies.” 

Chris’ lovely niece stared for a minute, then asked if she could wear my pretty diabetes bracelet.  (Which, of course, I let her.)

That I no longer needed to wear a watch because the pump kept such exquisite time.

That I could use the backlight on the pump in my darkened hallway at night when I’ve slipped out to the kitchen for a glass of water and need more than mental breadcrumbs to find my way back.

That pumping isn’t right for every diabetic and just because someone isn’t pumping doesn’t mean they aren’t taking the very best care of themselves.

That the little plastic cap that comes in the infusion set packaging was the best thing for me to wear in the shower and the ocean when I’m disconnected, and that (again), little kittens love those tasty things.

That wearing the pump and my bikini would be a pain in the ass, but I would still be on the beach every weekend of the summer.  And that the white infusion set would leave an equally white tan line when I moved the site around. 

That I could leave an infusion set in for more than three days.  And I wish someone had shown me how to refill a reservoir right off the bat.

That this shit is EXPENSIVE and to be prepared for exorbitant costs and battles with insurance companies.

That the little boop beep boop noise of the pump trying to get my attention would become something I said conversationally back to the pump.  Boop beep boop,” says the pump.  “Boop beep boop to you,” responds Kerri to the inanimate object. 

That Duracell batteries are crap and to not bother buying them, even though they were on sale at CVS and significantly cheaper than their Energizer counterparts.  Little did I know, they would be sucked dry within four days.   

That my body is still the same, except for this white plastic circle that is less than an inch in diameter.  Maybe it’s healthier.

That sex wouldn’t be ruined because of my pump.  That my partner would find my body desirable and sexy and wouldn’t be phased by the fact that I disconnect an insulin pump before we make love.  That I felt almost a little bit sexier because I felt like I was in better control of my diabetes.

That someone can say, “I love you,” and I know they mean every little bit of me, including my smile and my laugh and my ambition and my pump.  That the same person can also say that they don’t think about diabetes when they think of me.  They think of just Me.

That it would drop my A1c by a half a point within six months.Violets.

That it isn’t as big as I thought it would be.  I pictured something not unlike a toaster oven, clanking from my hip and sounding a siren when my bloodsugar was cresting out of range.  I wasn’t prepared for the little beeper sized machine that I could hide in my pocket.

That when people catch a glimpse of the pump, they might stare.  But I couldn’t blame them.  If I wasn’t diabetic, I would probably stare, too.  It helps to smile at them.

But I can’t mislead you.  Some days it feels like the pump accounts for most of my body.  Some days it doesn’t hide neatly in the folds of my skirt.  Some days it falls from my hand and bangs against the floor, tugging the tubing and causing the site to ache.  Some days the boluses burn and the sites ooze infection.

Some days I feel like I want to toss it against the wall and watch it explode into a thousand little pieces.  Some days I feel like I am exploding into a thousand pieces.

I wish I had known that wearing a pump didn’t make me “more diabetic.”  It didn’t mean defeat or acceptance.  It means that I decided to utilize the precision of an insulin pump to deliver my insulin.  It means I will be bonking it against door jams and tables and boyfriends while dancing.  It means I wear this device.  It means I feel strong and healthy and on my way to securing my future as a good wife and mother. But it doesn’t make me any less “Kerri.” 

Maybe it makes me able to be more.

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Comments

Another amazing post, Kerri. You made me laugh quite a bit - but you really brought it home at the end. Funny - how the pumps we're connected to connect us all in a strange way, isn't it?

good post. i agree with the kitten thing. my boy alfie has forever got his teeth around my loose tubing. i got out the shower the other day to see him curled up around my pump casually biting the tubing. I hope none of this insulin got into him!!!

:)

I've been reading your stuff constantly for at least 2 or 3 weeks now, and this is the first time you made me cry. It sounds just like my life (with better A1c's than I've got).

You probably hear it all the time, but thanks for reminding me I'm not the only young adult coping with this stuff and trying to adapt to working/relationships/kitties.

I am considering starting my own d-blog because I don't want my non-d friends to feel like all I talk about is my diabetes.

And OMG, how much do little cats love playing with pump tubing? I will dangle my old sets at the cat just to keep her away from the one I'm trying to fill!

If Joseph were a girl, I'd clip this piece and tuck it away so that I could share it with him once he hit his teens...

Heck, I'll share it with him anyway.

Really wonderful stuff, Kerri.

Hi Kerri - I'm a lurker and have 10 year old daughter dxd 3 years and she pumps.

I agree with the "bounce back" on the tubing - when you see the pump drop, you really expect it to come back up!

Also, I caught her reading in bed 2 nights ago by pump light!

Do you think the garter would work for a 10 year old?

Thanks for your blog - I love it.

Yay!!

I felt the need to say that...I don't know why....

Very inspiring post along with providing a very good perspective.

When my niece asks what my pump is, I always tell her my medicine too. Never really thought how funny that statement is until today reading your post. She doesn't mind though :) and doesn't quite understand that it's not the pump that is the medicine, but it's easier to explain it that way than in full to a 3.5 year old with no concept of diabetes.
When I first got my pump, though, back in September, she would play with the tubing and the actual pump--not too easy to have a 2.5 year old pulling on your pump and taking it out of your pocket!

and I've given up on a watch too :)

Nicole, Shannon & Sandra - Thanks very much. There are so many bizarre little quirky bits when it comes to pumping that only those who Know can laugh at this crap. ;)

Vicki - Cats make me insane. I asked my vet about whether or not little Ms. Sausage would get sick from chewing through the tubing and he said no. The pepsin in the stomachs of animals (and of us, for that matter) break down the insulin into a nonharmful form. So don't worry about your kitties. Worry about those highs when they nibble through the tubes! :)

Hannah - Glad to have you delurking! I'm also happy that you've been reading through the S.U.M. archives. Let me know if you end up starting a d-blog. I would love to add you to my blogroll. We have quite the powerful community here. Would love to have you add your voice.

Celeste - Thanks for reading and delurking, too! I am sure that the garter thing would work on a little kid, too. They make all different kinds. I have the one from the Minimed online store - feel free to email me if you have trouble finding one. I can send you the links. And I love that your daughter was reading by pump-light. I definitely would have done that too, if I pumped when I was ten. :)

Mel - No need for a watch, eh? It's creepy how many times I reach into my pocket to check the time instead of just looking at my wrist. I consider my wristwatch to be merely a battery operated bracelet at this point. :)

Excellent.

I Found myself nodding in agreement through many points (though obviously not so at a few others: e.g., I'm not all that thankful for my breasts).

So many great observations.

Extra pump clips are essential, and I too parrot my pump! Glad to know I'm not the only crazy one doing that (there are other crazy ones out there doing it too!).

Great post. About once a week I realize that I'm glad I found your blog. Just to help pay back in a small way, I was looking around one day and found groovypatches.com. Very cool idea to help dress up those sites. Don't know if you're interested, but I have some friends who were.

Kevin - I'm glad you identified with the majority of it.

Brian - Thanks for your comments! I actually came across the Groovy Patches a while ago and did a post called Getting Groovy. Those groovy patches are very fun!

Thanks Kerri!!! Saves me asking my vet next time I go. You are an amazing person, I love your blog and you so much!!!!!!!!!

thanks for being a wonderful person.

WOW -

Thanks - We love the pump for our son, Tommy. (He is 5) Sometimes, I feel like I am meeting my son for the first time, b/c his bg's are stable now - I mean stable! Great! He is like a different child. Happy, no mood swings, alert, etc.....
We love the pump.
Love your blog -

Have a good day -

PS- Fabulous dress in that photo -

Awesome Post. Even tho i am a pump newb i totally relate (cept the breast thing tho LoL)!

I also reply to Master P (My pump)when he beeps at me, but I find a three sylable phrase. "I HEAR YOU. PLEASE RE LAX. SHu UH TUP!"

You crack me up!

awesome post (as always).

Hi Kerri,
Though I'm not a diabetic, I have several friends who are and articles like yours help me to understand their experience better. Thanks.

Also thanks for your supportive comment over at my site. It was nice to find when I arrived back from vacation!

All the best,
Andrew
"To Love, Honor and Dismay"

Yes, I have noticed that same effect in that "off week". My endo always tells me that the other 3 weeks might run me higher at night--so my basal rates are set for that and then when the 4th week rolls around I sometimes get low. This time it wasn't just the off week...it spilled over into the next week too.
Man, I don't know what has been going on. I think a lot of it has been starting my new job and school too. I love this post! Doorknobs and kitchen drawer handles are EVIL! Have a good weekend...

Kerri, great post and quite timely. Please know that I am taking copious notes

...and, in my view, you are never too old to go into the bouncy castle!

I had planned to swipe some of these ideas :)

Awesome, Kerri. As usual.

Ive had my pump for 11 years, and I love to read what other people notice about their pumps that Ive been thinking for what feels like ever. Im always amazed with how well the quik sets stick, how the tubing is strong enough that I can get it caught on a door knob and practically fall over, but the site stays intact, most of the time anyway!

Great site! I've been on the pump for 2weeks and I really like it! It even makes me laugh when I forget that I have my alarm set on "vibrate" and then I JUMP when it goes off - sometimes in the middle of a conversation. haha. I've gotten used to clipping it upside down on the middle of my bra, but I think I'll give that thigh garter thingy a try as well. Thanks for the laughs Kerri and everyone.

Kerri,
This is the first time I came across your blog. I just loved it! I love the straight up truth about wearing a pump. It's like a love hate relationship. I have a seven year old who is on the pump(He started when he was 3). I designed a case for him and ended up making a business out of it. It's that whole discovery out of need thing I guess. I actually read some of your blog to him (An edited version for a 7 year old of course). There is nothing like knowing that you're not alone, no matter what age you happen to be. I'll definately keep reading. Thank you for putting the feelings into words. Beautifully stated.

This is cool. I just found your blog, and it is helping me decide whether to use a pump or not. What I read about your experiences with a pump is more personal and down-to-earth than anything else I have read so far about life with a pump, and that makes it exactly what I need right now. Thank you for sharing this with me/everyone. God bless.

You just brightened my day. I've been feeling a little depressed about my diabetes and my pump and i found this and it made my day.Thank you.9 years of diabetes and im still trucking.I'm 19 btw.

P.S. i have 5 cats and they LOVE tubing

Has anyone experienced a larger stomach since pumping? My stomach has gotten so big. I have been pumping for aabout 6 or 7 years and have noticed that my stomach just keeps getting bigger, despite whatever I do.

Hi, Have just found your blog and it's been really helpful to see the daily ins and outs of living with a pump. I don't have one, but my control is going up the shoot, after 24 years - since I was 11 years, and I can't seem to get a grip, so I thought I'd ask my consultant about it. Your vie has really helped to see that I could still lead a normal life with a "black box" appendage.
Paula

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