Yesterday I wrote about a diabetes technology piece that works in my life. But wearing a device – two or three devices, some of us – isn’t for everyone. Diabetes management varies like New England weather (hello, 95 yesterday and 68 today). Today’s guest post comes from Erin O’Neil, who eloquently shares her tale of why she went from pumping to injections.
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“Ohhh no no no no no! Ohhhh my goodness, oh my goodness. You have GOT to be kidding me!”
These are words of panic I had hoped not to have to utter on my trip to Thailand.
After four years of staying close to home for university, my best friend and I had decided to get a little crazy and head overseas for an adventure.
When I uttered those words, I was in a state of true panic, in a small town on the edge of Khao Yai National Park, 200km north-east of Bangkok and way way way into the mountains. In other words, I was a long way from home.
My pump had broken.
I know it was the heat. For most of the week since we had arrived, the weather had been downright sticky, and I’m pretty sure that Animas doesn’t expect that many of their insulin pumps will need to withstand constant 40o temperatures (well over 100o, for you Americans).
Luckily (thanks, Mom), I had brought a back-up system. It was back to the insulin pen system of multiple daily injections (MDI). I vividly remember sitting on my cot in partial darkness, listening to the sounds of a million insects in the muggy heat, sleep deprived and achingly tired from a day of train travel (think ‘rickety’ rather than ‘luxury’).
My brain isn’t working properly and I’m already riding a serious wave of high blood sugar. And now I have to remember how on earth to go about calculating a short-acting/long-acting insulin ratio.
Somehow, I managed. With the help of a good friend and a good bowl of something delicious (and a refreshing Singha to calm my nerves), I began to feel normal again.
And before I knew it, the rest of the trip had passed without incident and I was home again, safe and sound.
“Well,” said my parents, “let’s get you a replacement pump.”
It was covered under warranty, no additional cost to us. It would have been simple to do the exchange and be up and running and bolusing in no time.
But I hesitated. The last two weeks of vacation in Thailand had be wonderful not only because I was doing nothing but eating good food and laying on the beach, but also because I hadn’t once worried about that little machine.
This was more than two years ago now, and I’ve continued using MDI (multiple daily injection). I know that my control could be better – whose couldn’t – but for this time in my life, MDI works for me. When my pump broke on that frightening night in Thailand, I was heading into my fifth year of pumping.
I had forgotten how delicious it is to be unattached, to be able to wear an outfit without worrying where to hide the pump. To be completely and utterly naked.
Diabetes has already stolen a handful of freedoms from me. For now, I’m not willing to give up anything more than I have to.
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Thank you for your post, Erin!! Erin works in public relations and communications in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. She has been living with type 1 diabetes since the age of 14. You can read her blog at Oh Erin and follow her tweets at @oerinoerin.