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Minimed Paradigm 512, aka Charlene.

Another republished blog from Ye Old Blog:

So if you check out this link it will take you to the Medtronic Minimed website. I currently wear one of their pumps – the Paradigm 512. In “smoke,” thank you very much. It goes with everything…

I was diagnosed, as stated in my previous entry Becoming Diabetic , in September of 1986. Speaking only in terms of insulin, I was on one injection a day, a combination of Regular and NPH. The sound of my mother’s rings against the bottle of NPH as she rolled it against her hands to mix the insulin epitomizes my childhood as a diabetic. Throughout the course of the 18 years I have been diabetic, I have been on a range of injections regimines and insulin combinations. I’ve taken Regular, NPH, Lente, UltraLente, Lantus, and Humalog. I started with one injection per day and ended up taking 9 – 12 per day by the time I was 24. It wasn’t that I needed to take an inordinate amount of insulin, but more that I needed to space a very small amount over a long period of time. It was very frustrating to take an injection of only two units, just to have a repeat performance in three hours.

Switching to the pump was the only logical step. Go from twelve injections a day to changing an infusion set every three days? Yes, please. I had also reached a plateau with my bloodsugar regimine, working twice as hard to remain in range but not seeing results. I decided overnight to go on the pump.

At first I was scared to death. I wrote frantically in my journal, playing out every frightening scenario…

From a Journal Entry dated: December 3, 2003

“I am afraid of how this thing will look. If I’ll become tangled while I sleep. If Abby or Naeco (my cats) will try and nibble through the cord. If sex will be weird. If I’ll become very self conscious, or if I’ll flaunt my progression proudly. If it really will improve my A1c. If I am emotionally strong enough to do this. If I will be completely and utterly grossed out by the mechanism itself. Will it hurt to put the infusion set in? Will this be a mistake? “Everyone” who goes on a pump seems pleased with the results, which is reassuring but I hope not embellished. I don’t want to die from complications. It’s been seventeen long years and I am “fine”, but I’m afraid to be “not fine.” I like seeing. And walking. And being healthy in general. I hope that all of my previous screwing around hasn’t made this leap in vain.

I do want to do what’s best for me.

I seriously hope I’m not too late.”

The pump was delivered, via FedEx, on a Saturday. I tore into the box like it was Christmas morning. But once I saw the contents, I stopped abruptly. It was so small. But was I ready to wear it forever? Was I ready to have an external symptom of diabetes?

In order to be able to wear this thing comfortably every day, I needed to name it. My friend and I were discussing the possibilities. He asked me what I was going to name the pump.

“Mr. Pump, I guess.”

He grinned, and I immediately remembered The Simpsons episode, where Bart plays in a minature golf tournament and Homer makes him name his putter. Their dialogue played out as follows:

“Son, you have to name your putter.”
“Mr. Putter.”
“NO!! You have to give it a girl’s name!”
“Mom.”
“NO! Your putter’s name is Charlene.”

So the pump’s name wasn’t Mr. Pump. It was Charlene. Once she was named, she was easier to laugh at. And once I could laugh, I knew I would be okay. There would be questions and faltering steps, but I knew I could do this. And make it work.

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