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A Pump Vacation.

Chris created this image ages ago.  I still love it.  :)That insulin pump is attached to me pretty much 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  There's very little down time when it comes to being a "pumper," and for the most part, I don't have attachment issues. The tubing, the infusion sets ... doesn't really bother me.

Except when I'm attending a dressier event.  Aside from my wedding day (where my pump was strategically hidden in the folds of my gown), I've always run into issues when it comes to making my pump an effortless part of my outfits.  For me, this has nothing to do with tubing and everything to do with the overall size of the pump and the desired silhouette.  Because battling baby weight and an insulin pump lump kind of sucks when you're trying to look pretty.

Over the weekend, I decided to take a brief vacation from my pump because Chris and I were attending the National Board of Review awards gala in New York City.  (He was award Best Original Screenplay for 2010.  I am always proud of him.)  And part of attending this event meant potentially having a few photos taken, and I sure as hell didn't want any pump bulges or wires popping up.  Nor did I want disco boobs blowing my cover.  I didn't want to have diabetes discussions that night, but instead just wanted to enjoy the night and celebrate with Chris.

So on Sunday morning, I cracked open a bottle of Levemir and called in a renewal for my Humalog pens.  Taking some cues from the last time I took a pump vacation (see: white-water rafting) and from some diabetes message boards, I took a look at my total daily dose for basal-only (12.4u) and gave it a bit of a bump (to 15u), then split that dose in accordance with how my basal maps out during the day (6u at 9 am, 9u at 9 pm).  It was some rough math, but oddly enough, it worked perfectly. 

Maybe it was because I was testing constantly to confirm that my doses were decent, or maybe it was because I basically wore the battery down on my Dexcom from checking in with it, but in any event, my numbers were solid.  My overnight Dex graphs were flat-lined for two full nights, and running close to 90 mg/dl throughout.  The daytime bumps were trickier (remembering to shoot up a meal dose kept slipping my mind), but I didn't see anything higher than 200 mg/dl during my vacation.  (Even during the event itself, when there was an open bar and lovely food and chocolate lava cake.  Thankfully, sitting next to skinny celebrity types made me pass on the desserts, which was both a blessing for my hips and my blood sugars.  Sort of yay.)

But after the excitement of the gala and then sludging our way back to the hotel in the blizzard-like conditions, and after the 4 am low blood sugar induced by alcohol and a lack of dinner consumption, and after having to set the alarm to make sure I woke up in time to take the Levemir shot for the third day in a row ... after all that, I missed my pump.  So during our drive back home to Rhode Island, with the snow coating 95 North and bags both in our car trunk and under our eyes, I stuck in a new infusion set and reunited with my insulin pump.

For all its tubing and its beeping, for all its battery needs and weird little plastic pieces ... this device makes my diabetes easier to deal with.  I love that I can take a vacation from it for whatever reason I chose, but I am grateful that when I'm ready, I can just stick it back on and move forward.

Comments

Cool.

I have been thinking of doing a mini pump vacation to mainly ensure that I am still all good with my injecting and dosages etc. I am sure I will do some sort of water related something or other in summer and may give it a go then.

Sounded like it worked out well. I was also on Levemir and Humalog (well still on Humalog - you know what I mean)

Tim

great post Kerri! I took a pump vacation last summer- it was good to take a break and I loved swimming, traveling with my pens and not stressing about losing pump supplies, but when I got back I too was happy to get back on my pump. -as much as they really suck sometimes!

First - Congrats to Chris!

Second - Yesterday's post made me contemplate if I would want to try life without Buddy, my pump. Would I enjoy not being tethered to him - yes. Would I be okay with 4-6 shots each day and the worry related to the dose changes - no.

I'm so grateful for what this technology has done for my life, my independence and my A1C. I understand the desire for a break. A true break from D would be beyond words wonderful!

But for now, and like you discovered, I'm so much happier with Buddy by my side (or in my bra) watching out for me. Together, we're not perfect, but we're making it work. :-)

AGREED!

We did a shot of Lantus on day we'd be going to a waterpark.

Left the infusions set in to use for boluses and just kept the pump off the rest of the time.

Win-Win.

Love our PING!

I give myself breaks occasionally, but for the most part just feel better having my pump-buddy at my hip (or between my boobs).

I didnt realize how easy a break could be! May try in the summer for Justice. Thxx! And yay for your hubby!

I never even thought how a pump would compromise an outfit choice! But, totally understand!

I've never done a pump vacation. In fact, I've never taken Lantus or Levemir. I went straight off of NPH & Humalog and onto the pump back in 2000. I've been curious just to see what it would be like for a few days or what I could learn from it.

Meanwhile, nature has blessed me with a perfect place to hide my insulin pump. I tuck it in my bra and nobody knows.

Congratulations, Chris! Wow, the Coen Brothers won the same award last year. I *MUST* see Buried now because I have really enjoyed all of the Best Original Screenplay Award-Winners going all the way back to 2004!

just a few words to say that I don't use a pump... (afraid because in France we don't get the Dexcom.) and I'm a Levemir user since June 2009 with shots of Apidra before meals.Yes, I can wear dresses and have a silhouette without pump; but sometimes I ask myself if my A1C would be nicer if I could use a pump. And congrats Chris!

Great post Kerri & way 2 go Chris!
I love my pump, but it's great to know that if I need a break, I can take one without too much difficulty! I HEART options!

When my pump died and I called Animas for a new one, the service person asked me what my backup plan was. I realized it had been so long, I didn't have one. A couple of quick calls to the ENDO and I was back on MDIs. It was only for 1 1/2 days, but boy I missed that pump.

I spent soooo many years with needles, I'm still loving my pump. Since I have to look good every weekend for synagogue, I can commiserate about the pump bump. But I recently switched to the Ping and pulled out a doohickey (technical term there) I had acquired years ago when I had a pump with a remote device. With the doohickey, I can strap the pump to my thigh, between my legs. Pump bump begone!

Congrats to Chris!

I am with Dave on this one, when my Minimed died and I had to be without a pump for about 16 hours I was in trouble, my back up plan was non existent. I had the dexcom on, and I checked my blood sugar about once every hour entire night. The minute my pump arrived and was all reset I was finally relieved. Yeah, it sometimes ruins my outfits and makes my dresses look funny, but after nearly 10 years of being attached, I can't imagine going back to the shots.

Being an "Active" guy- I do NOT like Pumps. It does not fit my Life-Style. Also, having lower body fat makes the infusion sites hurt more I believe. I'll stick with shots for me as my individual preference of treating my "D". However, I can see how pumps are good for others :)

That device is awesome. Your article would be very helpful for patient who have diabetes who is hardly looking a device that would easily deal their problem.

Kerri, thanks for a most useful post. Makes me think I should get prescriptions for both Levemir and pens. Results were worth it, you both looked like stahs (RI pronunciation) in that picture.

A friend of mine is a pumper and has bbeen for many years. I didn't know that there where different types of pumps and whatnot. Heres is pretty simplistic, it's likea little box that she sticks to her skin and poof everything is taken care of.
We where talking about it ther other day and she was like yeah I take a break in the summer because swimming with that thing stinks and when you sweat it stinks, it just gets all wacky.
She told me some great tales of trying to hide it and how people at her college stare at that thing on her leg in the summer when she's wearing shorts.
She's ready to tell them that it's some weird device for people form the future or a constant blood supply for vampire so she won't eat people.
Oh the pump a great invention even with it's lump

I love hearing about the awards and galas you and Chris get to go to! Makes me feel in touch somehow, although I know we don't really "know" one another! I really got excited when I saw Buried in the Blockbuster Express box this past weekend. If I weren't totally chicken, I'd have rented it too!

Hey Kerri,

I came across this post while doing some catch-up blog reading today and I wanted to relay to you my experiences last summer with taking several short-term pump vacations. I was always apprehensive about going off the pump for fear of going back on Lantus and dealing with the prolonged ramp up/down time when all I really wanted to do was take my pump off for a day. So when planning my river tubing trip and two day amusement park visit last summer I decided to take a different approach. Using a Humalog Mix 75/25 pen and matching 75% of the dose to my basal rate for the 6-8 duration of the long-acting portion of the mix, I was able to successfully disconnect for 1/2 day or a full day (depending on what I was doing), and then reconnect to my pump in the evening. In fact, I had such a great experience last summer that I plan to do it more weekends this coming summer. With my daytime basal rate of .5/hr, I took 5 units of 75/25 at 8 am and then ate a small snack to cover the 1u of fast-acting insulin. The remaining 4u effectively covered my basal rate for the next 6-7 hours along with a Humalog pen to cover my meals. If I was "vacationing" all day, I repeated the process again between 2 and 3pm and then reconnected my pump at 10pm and dialed my basal down by 50% for the first 2 hours. If you want more information about how I conducted my initial test run and some of the gotchas I encountered, let me know and I’ll provide more details.

Take care,

Kirk

I have been using an Advanta jet...insulin jet for 25 years...HBA1C is always between 4.2 and 5.5...I love it and use it like a pump...without things sticking in me and needing to be hooked up to something...I take Levimir two times a day and use the Advanta Jet on a sliding scale...I hated the pump.....i love my jet! No harden sites..no a worrying about air bubbles and I don't need to hide in a bathroom to use it.

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