This piece was written back in 2013 about a different insulin pump, but the song remains the same:  pumping insulin alleviates some of my diabetes mental load and makes living with this disease a little mellower.  I mean, I could “wash the dishes by hand,” but it’s so much nicer to play with my kids or go for a walk while the dishwasher runs.  

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Our dishwasher broke a week or two ago. It was pretty old (came with the house) and at that point where repair out-priced replacement, so my husband and I decided to head to a local appliance store to pick out a new dishwasher.

Quick and painless (except in the wallet department), we walked out thirty minutes later with the delivery and installation of our new dishwasher scheduled. And a week later, the old dishwasher was brought out to pasture (I like to think that they build robots out of old appliances), with the new one installed and whirring and washing, as advertised.

“Dude, that was too easy. Now I want to replace all of the appliances in this house that aren’t working 100% perfectly,” I said to Chris as we admired our new household addition.

Later that night, as I changed out my infusion set and primed my pump with insulin to last me another three days, I thought about my own replacement parts. On my hip was an appliance, for lack of a better word, that stood in as a replacement for my crapped out beta cells. The insulin-producing cells of my pancreas have been all-but dormant for the last twenty-seven years, forcing me to make synthetic insulin as part of my life, in order to sustain my life. For years, I took injections, which was the diabetes-equivalent of hand washing all my dishes.

Pumping insulin, for me, is the dishwasher of my diabetes. While it doesn’t do things “automatically” in that it’s not a closed-loop system, once I program it and connect it to my body, I don’t have to think about insulin for several days at a time. I bolus for meals and I correct blood sugars as needed, but for the most part, the pump sits on my hip and infuses insulin into my body throughout the day, without being reminded or poked or harassed. It’s simply another way to “wash the dishes,” so to speak, but it’s so much easier, and cleaner, and less intrusive in my life. Fewer needles against my skin, fewer moments when I worry about overnight blood sugars, fewer moments when I spend the morning hours with dawn phenomenon-elevated blood sugars. If such a thing as “dishpan hands” exists in diabetes management, the pump helps take that rub away.

“Did you seriously just compare your pump to a dishwasher?” my husband asked, laughing at me.

“Yep.”

“Your pump is worth like fifteen dishwashers, price-wise.”

It’s the most expensive replacement part I have ever encountered, but when I think about days of seven, eight … nine? injections per day just to achieve a baseline of “feeling fine,” I’m grateful that technology has progressed to this point. Diabetes technology now is so different than when I was first diagnosed, when at-home glucose meters were viewed as revolutionary.   While I know I can still “wash the dishes by hand,” my diabetes management is so much smoother, and more streamlined, with my pump.

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