January 19th, 2015 and the day has finally arrived. It’s pump start!
I have my box filled with pump and instructions and I have all my consumables from the pharmacy. These all go in a bag and I’m off to the hospital for our 9am start.
I’m completing my pump start with another young lady who has T1D (thank goodness I am not doing this alone!)
First thing is first, inserting the cannula. This is where our pump teacher was fantastic (she was fantastic with the whole thing but this really stood out to me). She had the same site type as me and put it into her own tummy to show me the steps. Seeing someone else do the process that I had too was so reassuring! Although I did have a wee panic before inserting it…but we got there!
Next we learnt how to fill, load and prime cartridges. Set Basel rates, insulin sensitivity factors (ISF), dial up and deliver boluses. All of which we did in practice pumps with ‘pretendy’ insulin before carrying it all out on our own pumps and attaching ourselves!
Next we had a Dexcom continuos glucose monitor (CGM) inserted and linked these up to our pumps (which double as a receiver for the CGM) to help us and our diabetes nurse understand what is going on through our first week of pumping.
We were done for day 1 and in record time! I think we were both very thankful as our heads may have exploded with any more information!
I had a very rough night, with my Basel rate being too high causing me to have constant lows! One of which ended with my having to wake my Dad up at 3am for help (which I have not had to do in over 9years!) but my pump instructor was incredible getting on the phone and talking my Dad through putting a temporary Basel on until she can help me fix it in the morning.
Back at a later start of 9:30 and we’re into day 2. Today we learnt how to use our advanced features to bolus for carbs and correct for high bloods. Along with trouble shooting, we are done and I am shattered!
Here is my fantastic pump instructor and myself at the end of day 2, Jo, from Animas. I cannot express how amazing she was, every question we had she answered and was so fun to learn with!
Now I was off on my own and terrified!
I was shattered from all my lows and constantly trying to remember all the information I had learnt in the past two days. But I was determined to conquer this pump and had my life to get on with.
I was extraordinarily lucky because for the next three days I had a friend in town visiting who I had been discussing my T1D with over the past month. Whilst I continued having issues with basels and corrections, lows and highs I had a fantastic friend to talk to about it and who made me feel good about getting on the pump and without realising it made me feel incredibly supported through the whole thing. Although things weren’t going to plan I felt safe going out and carrying out normal tasks because I knew someone was with me that could help.
Although my initial experiences of starting on my pump were not great I have had exceptional help and support from Animas, my pump instructor, diabetes nurse, dad and friend all of whom I cannot express enough thanks to!
If you are thinking of or are about to start on an insulin pump, please don’t let anything I have said put you off. Make sure you have a good support in place to help you through the first bumpy period and have good communication with your instructor and health care professionals. Yes it is hard, yes things do go wrong, but yes things get easier and yes everything can be fixed 😊
If you have any questions please feel free to ask and best of luck if you are starting a pump soon!