January 21, 2005


Soon I'll be depending on a machine to keep me alive. Scary thought? Yes and no. Sure, I identify with the pumper's nightmare: the gizmo malfunctions while you're asleep, doesn't alarm or the alarm doesn't wake you up, and 8 hours later you have DKA. Happily, pumps have many safeguards to keep that nightmare in the world of bad dreams where it belongs. But to be sure that I can deal with pump stoppage at any given time, I'll be toting around backup batteries, a spare infusion set, and a syringe (plus my trusty BG meter, of course) wherever I go for--well, assuming I like the pump, for the rest of my life. Wow. Bound to technology for decades (I hope) to come.

Then again, diabetes has already made me dependent on a lot of things. I already tote stuff everywhere I go--that meter, my insulin, pen needles or syringes, glucose tabs. I already need every one of those things to stay alive, or at least to stay out of the hospital. What's one more?

There's a certain comforting safety, though, in multiple daily injections. I know them well, even after just a few months. I do the measuring; I do the shooting. I know the insulin enters my body. On the pump, I'll be trusting gadgetry that I can't see. I'll be trusting engineers and manufacturing workers I've never met. But the illusion that I have complete control over my health is something diabetes has already taken from me. Going on the pump is just an extension of that experience.

And in other ways, going on the pump is actually all about reclaiming some of that lost control. Yeah, I'll be dependent on a machine. But that machine has capabilities that will empower me to control my diabetes in ways I can't imagine with injections. Once I'm trained, I'll be the manager of a sophisticated network of dosing options that I can adapt to any situation. I'll be able to reclaim some of the freedom I've had to give up--freedom of scheduling and food choices, for example. And I'll be safer from hypoglycemia and, I hope, complications.

More dependent? Maybe. But also less.


  1. Hi Violet,

    I've been struggling with diabetes for almost 25 years, and pumping for about 8 or 10 (I lose track).

    I had a lot of those same concerns before I started. Worrying about mechanical malfunctions, depending on a machine (and trusting it completely with my insulin delivery), etc.

    After pumping for so long, I can honestly say that it is quite liberating. I feel like I do not NEED all that extra stuff with me all the time. Granted, it is always preferable to have testing supplies and backup supplies with you (or available). The perspective I'm coming from is more along the lines of not needing to have my (often multiple) vials of insulin and syringes with me (which I always found inconvenient to carry, not to mention finding a private place to dose up and administer).

    I know that with my pump, it's doing it's job and I don't have to worry about it. I am also confident that if I'm away from my supplies for an extended period of time, that things will be Ok (assuming I've got enough insulin in the pump of course).

    As far as mechanical failures or problems with the infusion sets - while possible, they are very rare. It will probably be more on your mind as you start up, of course, but as time goes by, your confidence will build.

    In my years of pumping I've had three different types of pumps ( 1. Disetronic H-TRON+ 2. Minimed/Medtronic 508c and 3. Deltec Cozmo ). I had a small problem with my first pump, the Disetronic, and that was just a crack in the casing. No problems whatsoever with the Minimed pump, and likewise with the Deltec. All of those, with the exception of the Deltec, I wore for about 4 years each.

    All of the companies are very responsive to any problems with their pumps, and can have a new one delivered to you very quickly if there are any mechanical problems.

    I'm anxious to keep reading your blog as you start. I'm confident that you will do well, and learn a lot about yourself and your diabetes as you go through it. Things can get frustrating at first, but working with your care team to get things adjusted and fine tuned will calm things down quickly. While it may be a wild ride at first, your blood sugars will fall in line and be very stable.

    Good luck with everything, and I'll be checking in to see how things are going!

  2. Hi Scott. Thanks so much for the encouragement. You must be the Scott from Metro Pumpers, yes? :-) I really do appreciate the reassurance. I'm in pump limbo right now, waiting for my start date, but I'll certainly be posting more as it gets closer. It helps a little with all of the crazy emotions...