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Posts tagged ‘insulin pump’

So Maybe Don’t ALWAYS Pre-Bolus.

I like to pre-bolus.  It helps keep my post-meal blood sugar spikes from rocketing out of range and taking a sizable bite out of my overall diabetes control.  (… I’m sorry.  I laugh every time I type the word “control.”  It’s not a word I toss around lightly when it comes to diabetes.  I’m not Janet Jackson.)

The art of pre-bolusing has been instrumental in keeping diabetes shit in line.

But it only works when it works.

Last night, we ordered pizza to go along with our birthday cake for Birdzone (we rounded out the meal by eating a stick of butter each and guzzling soda – healthy! – only the butter part is a lie) and the promise was “delivery in 30 minutes.”  Since pizza can be insulin’s kryptonite, I thought it wise to pre-bolus so that the initial carb influx of the pizza would be headed off by the first bolus, and then I’d chase my meal with more insulin to grab the fat-induced-blood-sugar-bump that hits about two hours later.  (I don’t have a #DIYPS, so when my food choices edge towards pizza party, I have to improvise a touch.)

Basic gist?  I took my insulin way too freaking early because the pizza arrived an hour later.

My Dexcom was freaking out by the time the pizza delivery man left – “Kerri, your Dexcom is vibrating like crazy over here, and says you’re low.”  “Like how low?”  “Like spelled out as LOW low.” – so the first piece of pizza was inhaled in a matter of seconds.  The second piece went just as quickly, and then I chased my dinner with a handful of glucose tabs.  (Wildberry – the perfect palette cleanser.)  Pre-bolusing doesn’t always work – its success leans on timing.  My pre-bolus was working right on schedule … if the pizza had arrived on time.  But due to tardy carb arrival, my blood sugar was in the trenches and covered in pepperoni.

“Mawm, is this good pizza?”

“The best!”  I answered her, through a mouthful of glucose tabs.


Most of the time (read: every other time except this one), the cannula is laced through the insertion needle on the insets for my insulin pump infusion sets.  But this infusion set was attacked by diabetes gremlins, because the cannula made a run for it before I even opened the spaceship pod:

Insulin pump inset ... er, outset.

Insulin pump inset … er, outset.

Scott, on Facebook, quipped it best:  “It appears that instead of an Inset, they gave you an Outset.”

UPDATED:  I opened the set this morning.  No tubing, either.  Gremlins!!

Boop Beep Boop!


I lifted the corner of my shirt and inspected my pump, looking for the “low battery” or “low reservoir” alarm splashed across the screen.  Nothing.

I went back to working, throwing my focus back onto the words escaping my hands but then …


“The gosh darn?!” I said (or a version of that), lifting my shirt again to steal a glance at my pump screen.  No alarms, no surprises.  Nothing.

Maybe I was losing my mind.  I mean, my Animas pump doesn’t even make the boop beep boop sound  – that was the tune of its predecessor, which had been sitting dormant in my bathroom closet for four years.  And the battery isn’t even in that pump, so how could it possibly be …


Again!  I made a cup of coffee and as the water filtered through the grounds, the smell of fresh coffee filled the kitchen and I breathed in deeply, trying to find my mind again and get my brain back to writing mode but …


“Chris!  Do you hear that noise?”  I called out.

“What noise?”

“That boop beep booping noise. I keep thinking it’s my pump but it’s not my pump because my pump doesn’t even make that noise but I keep hearing it …” I said, interrupted by the BOOP BEEP BOOP! again.

I went upstairs to my bathroom and foraged through the shelves until I found the box where my old Medtronic pump was hiding out.  No battery in it – its “vulture eye” closed – so no chance of it throwing the boop beep boop but then I heard it again – BOOP BEEP BOOP! – from downstairs.  But why was I hearing the exact same sound?  Had this old pump come back to life somehow?  I was ready to go full-Poe and tear up the planks to find the source of the boop beep booping.

“Chris?  Do you hear that sound coming from downstairs?  Or is it coming from up here?”

“No, I hear it, too!  It’s not your pump?”

“Nope,” I yelled down to him.  “Not my Dexcom, either.  Nothing on my body right now is boop beep booping.  But I keep hearing the – ”


“I heard it!”  he yelled.  “It’s coming from down here, in the kitchen!”

Turns out that our new dishwasher, if you open it mid-cycle and forget to restart it, makes the exact same BOOP BEEP BOOP! as my old Medtronic insulin pump.

This is how we do it.

Wednesday morning, leaving Logan Airport in Boston, en route to Montreal:

TSA agent:  “Excuse me.  What is that?”

Me:  “An insulin pump.”

Their mouth:  “Okay.”

Wipe it down, test my hands, pass the screening, no issues, carry on with my carry-on.

My mouth:  “Thanks!”

Their mouth:  “Safe travels!”

Thursday morning, leaving Montreal and headed back to Boston:

Security agent:  “Bonjour.  What is that?”

Me:  “An insulin pump.”

Their mouth:  “Okay.”

Wipe it down, test my hands, pass the screening, no issues, carry on with my carry-on.

My mouth:  “Thank you!”

Their mouth:  “Bon voyage!”

Flying with diabetes: This is how we do it.


Close, but(t) not close enough.

“My mom?  She has brown hair and a red shirt,” said my daughter’s playgroup friend, climbing up the jungle gym.

“My mom is over there.  She has a pump in her butt,” my daughter pointed towards me and waved, causing me to quickly answer the look of surprise on the other parents’ faces with a brief, panicked explanation of the insulin pump connected to the top of my left hip.


Looking Back: Hawkey Playah.

It’s a balmy 8 degrees in Rhode Island this morning, and we’re snapping icicles off of everything by the dozen.  Going out into the driveway and attempting to get into the car becomes an accidental hockey rink.  Which reminded me of the time a lady caught me changing my infusion set in a restaurant bathroom and then talking about her “hawkey playah” brother who had type 1, as well.  Which brings me to this throwback post from 2011.  Which brings me to the end of this intro paragraph.  Hi!

*   *   *

I clicked the button on my Dexcom receiver and saw a “212 mg/dl” with two arrows pointed straight on up.  This was the third effortless high in as many hours, and I was convinced my pump site had crapped out.

“I am going to run to the bathroom.  I need to switch out my site,” I said to Chris, moving my napkin from my lap to the table.  “Do you mind sitting here …”

“At this giant hibachi table all by myself?  Sure,” he grinned, gesturing towards all the empty seats.

“I know.  I hope this table fills up while I’m gone.  Otherwise this is going to be awkward, just us and the hibachi chef guy.”  I patted his shoulder as I stood up from the table, the small, gray inset tucked into my hand.

I am not a fan of doing site changes outside of the comfort of my home. When I’m at home, I prefer to put the new infusion set, insulin cartridge, the bottle of Humalog, and any other necessary accoutrements on the bathroom counter.  I like looking in the mirror to see where the site is going to end up, because I have specific preferences as to where it lines up with the waistband of my pants or the sleeves of my shirts.  Picky little parsnip that I am, I like putting my new sites on in a measured manner.

So when it became clear that my pump site has conked out on me and needed to be changed immediately, my first thought was “thank goodness I carry a purse big enough to throw a spare set into” and then “Oh shoot – now I have to do this in the public bathroom?”

I went into the ladies’ room and was greeted by very dark lighting, two large stalls, and no bathroom counter.  (The sink appeared to be suspended in midair.  I think it was deliberately trying to mess with me.)  I casually went to the stall and disconnected the infusion set from my arm.  The cannula was piped with blood, so I knew it was definitely uncooperative.  I set the pump to start rewinding, and the BUZZZZZZ of the pump motor echoed in the empty bathroom.

“Man, that never sounds so loud at home,” I said to myself.  “Awesome.”

I finished disconnecting and rewinding/priming the pump, and I stepped into the hand-washing area of the bathroom so I could use the mirror to line up my new site.  I pulled up the back of my shirt enough to see my hip, and then placed the inset against my skin.

And then bathroom door opened and a friendly-looking woman came in, just in time to see me pressing the buttons on the inset, pushing the infusion set needle into the skin on the top of my hip.

“Oh, I’m sorry!” she said.  “I didn’t mean to interrupt … what … whatever you’re doing.”

“No worries.”  I felt a little embarrassed – nothing like being caught with your shirt all gathered and a needle in your side.  “I am a diabetic and I have to fix my insulin pump.  I needed to use the mirror … it’s totally a medical thing.”  The words flapped out of my mouth like spastic birds.

She walked over to get a better look at what I was doiThis is a wicked hawkey  “Insulin pump?  My brother is a diabetic.  Has been for almost twenty years.  He’s forty and just got married.  I’m having dinner with him right now!”  She smiled and gestured towards my pump.  “I wish he’d go on that thing.  He’s been doing shots for like … evah.  He has thought about a pump but he hasn’t done it yet.”

“Whatever keeps you healthy is best, right?”  The new infusion set shot in with a quiet shunk, and I tucked the pump back into the pocket of my jeans after taking a correction bolus.

“True.  He’s done this for a long time.  He and his wife are talking about having kids.  Do you have kids?  Can you have kids?”

I have a nine month old.  She’s happy and healthy.  And so am I.”

The woman put her hand to her heart.  “Oh doll, that’s wonderful.  I hope my brother can have kids.  He’d be a good dad.  But if he goes on a pump like you’ve got there, he’ll have to be careful with it.  Gettin’ it knocked around, you know?  He’s a wicked hawkey playah.”

“Hockey is awesome.  Give your brother my best, okay?”

Back out in the dining room, a quick look at the Dexcom showed me that the correction bolus was working, and that the new site was on track.  And from across the crowded room, I saw the woman sitting at a table with her group, the wicked hawkey playah at her side.



A sentiment that comes tumbling out as one, single word, and impales me right through my social-media obsessed heart.  (Not really my social media obsessed heart, but the heart of someone who is in phone-tether-mode thanks to my littlest Bird, my job, and my diabetes-related discomfort at the thought of being out-of-contact with people who provide emergency medical care, should it ever be required.)

Being prepared is my unofficial mantra, and one I follow through on, according to the size of my purse.  I really try hard to be ready for diabetes needs, child needs, and random needs through the contents of my purse.  (Glucose tabs for lows?  Got ‘em.  A pack of gum for when blood sugars make my teeth feel squirrely?  Nailed.  Snacks for Birdzone?  Supplied.  Wallet and keys required for making the car go places?  Yep.  Ubiquitous back-up insulin pen of Humalog that’s hopefully not expired, and CGM receiver, and glucose meter?  Mmmm hmmm.  And a stash of weird items – quarters, plastic green army men, parking receipts for the airport garage, dead test strips, and pieces of chDiabetes Phoneewed gum wrapped up in Dunkin Donut receipts … gross, I know.)

Weirdly enough, if I was away from home and didn’t have my insulin pump attached, I wouldn’t panic.  I would test my blood sugar and, depending on how long I was going to be out, would make decisions whether or not to make use of the insulin pen.

But if I left without my phone?  A cold, icy wave of panic would wash over me, that same feeling that happens when  I pass a police officer speed trap sitting under the overpass on Interstate 95 and I spend the next minute with weak knees and that frantic “Am I about to get a $385 speeding ticket?” feeling.


I need a priorities detox.


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