Public Lows

This post is ones that is very important for me to write but one that is extremely difficult for me to post. Because of this I ask that you note that this is my personal experience and thoughts on a situation that occurred for me. Everyone has different experiences and thoughts but these are mine so please be gentle with that. Thank you x

Hypos or lows, they happen anytime any place don’t they? We have no or very little control over them. The ones that hurt and scare me the most-the ones that occur in public. 

Yesterday I was out with my new friend from college in a new city where we are both studying for six weeks. I’d tested and was 4.6 so had had some carbs and we started searching for a supermarket to find a cold drink. I began to feel low and explained this to my friend, by the time we reached the supermarket I was struggling with my words and vision and my head was spinning. Upon reaching the drinks isle I was having black spots in my vision and was struggling to stand. Eventually I managed to work out which drink was diet and which had sugar and found the check out, along the way I’d found two king sized crunches, mentos and a creme egg. Reaching the self checkout I somehow managed to scan and pay for it all. By this point I was barely able to see and had pulled my sunglasses down to help and hide me crying. I had black spots in my vision and nothing was in focus; I was beginning to shake, couldn’t speak well and was terrified I was about to collapse. I managed to tell my friend I had to drink there in the supermarket which (thank goodness) she understood and accomodated. I tested and was 2.2 😭  

 My friend sat with me next to the checkout for about 15minutes as I tried to get sugar into myself. She said I was really white and looked terrible. I went through various stages of the shakes and being unable to express what I needed all while trying to remain upright and not cry. 

I was humiliated, my friend had asked to hang out and I needed up turning myself into a public spectical who she had to babysit and there was absolutely nothing I could do about it 😭 I felt like a horrible friend and failure as a person.

With hypos at home at least I can lie down and sob while I go through the shakes and the sugar kicks in without anyone seeing. At least I am not in anyone’s way. At least no one has to know what happened. 

For my friend I am so grateful, I will never be able to tell her exactly what it meant for her to sit there with me, talking and making sure there would be assistance if I needed it. But I really wish she hadn’t had to. I find it terribly difficult to accept that this happened and whether I like it or not will probably happen again.

What can I do? Well I can work as hard as I can to control and maintain my blood sugar. I can carry fast acting glucose with me. I can do my best to explain to whoever I am with what happens when I have a low and what I may need them to do to help me. I can wear medical ID so that their conversation with a 111 operator is a lot smoother should they have to have that conversation. And if the situation does arise I can talk openly and honestly about it and its effects afterwards. And I absolutely have to come to a place were I know I did everything I could to prevent and improve the situation. It’s not much but in these situations it’s all I can do. 

How do you all handle your public lows? What do you have in place in case you have them? 

Thank you for reading my thoughts and experince, as always if you have any questions please fire them at me.

x Hope

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How to Fix an Animas Pump ClipΒ 

New video is up and as the title suggests it is all about how to fix those loose or completely broken pump clips. 

  
It’s super easy, quick and won’t cost you a thing πŸ‘ŠπŸ»

Here is the link and as always any questions please fire away.

Have a fantastic day all and good luck fixing those clips.

Hope 

Battery Compartment CrackΒ 

  

This evening was a lesson in ‘technology is not perfect’.I have been seeing a lot of posts recently on battery compartments cracking open on Animas pumps. I did a site change two days ago and took care to check my battery compartment along with cartridge compartment and screen. No cracks. Reading one of these posts online I decided to double check mine…I can actually see the battery through this crack 😱 I never saw this crack because my pump skin covered it and honestly I think the reason the pump is still working is because the skin is hugging it together quite tight!

When your life relies on technology you become so confident in it and when it fails for a moment your heart stops πŸ’” I cannot explain the panic that I felt while inspecting this crack. The thought of having to revert to injections and working out how much to have by calculator was overwhelmingly terrifying. 

I just have to pray that this pump keeps on kicking until my replacement arrives in two days πŸ™πŸ»

Hope your all having a trouble free week πŸ‘ŠπŸ» πŸ’™

x Hope 

Pump Bands

There are so many different ways to wear pumps these days! Hidden, in plain view, pockets, clips, the list goes on. Today I have decided to focus on one method: pumps bands. In New Zealand this is the most popular method of wearing a pump, especially for younger children.

I’m going to talk through four different pump bands that I have, explaining how I use them and why. This is my personal experience and may not be the experience of all who use these products. I’ll include links to each manufacturer and as always, any questions comment below 😊

First up lets talk about the Spibelt. Purely because this was the first one I tried πŸ˜› they retail at about $20NZ depending on your stockist and here is the website.


The belt is an elasticated strap that clips around you with a plastic clip and is adjustable with a plastic slider (that probably has a technical name but I haven’t a clue what it is), The pouch is expandable and made from spandex with a zip running across. Note that the spibelt is available in children’s and adult sizing so best to measure and see which one you or your kiddo fit into best before purchasing πŸ˜‰

Lets talk pro’s first: It’s light, its easily accessible, easily hidden, adjustable (great for kids or youth who are still growing!), available in many colours and patterns and is not something that stands out as hiding a medical device.

Now the con’s: its not a belt for sleeping with-the buckle and slide adjuster are painful to lie on and if you do a lot of driving you may find it irritating in your lower back, the elastic gets picky really quickly (but if you have a pair of nail scissors and patience this can be remedied), I’m not super keen on the zip as I do worry about it scratching the face of my pump with constant opening and closing, it’s not my pick for exercising with (specifically running) as it doesn’t really hold the pump close to your body so it jiggles a fair bit.

All of that being said, its easy to use, discrete and not super expensive. I do still use mine but tend to reserve it for ‘lazy days’ when I’m not doing much and wearing loose clothing (you get the picture πŸ˜› )

Second I’d like to look at ‘No Sweat Insulin Pump bands’ these are available on FaceBook through this link here and retail at $29NZ each or 4 for $100NZ.


Pro’s first again: these bands are pretty much made to measure (there is a kinda sizing chart that you can look at, measure your waist and see where you fit so your guaranteed that they will be snug), they have a PVC window so that you can see your pump and dial up whatever you need to right through the window, they are available in a great range of colours, they sit flush with your body and stay there quite snugly (my pick for exercise because of this).

Con’s: the PVC does have a tendency to crease in places (which if you are a perfectionist like me can be irritating but this may also be down to how I have been putting my pump in).

Finally there is the plain Jane pump band (I don’t have a pic of my one but I will try to sort that out tonight πŸ˜‰ The band is a plain lycra/spandex sewn in the same way as the No Sweat Insulin Pump Band minus the PVC window.

Pro’s: again these bands are made to measure, there is a broad range of colours to choose from, if you are a sewer they are really quick to put together (under an hour), because they are a plain lycra band they can be worn as a belt over a dress or top or shorts (I love this because I feel like my pump is in plain view and yet no one can see it), depending on the lycra fabric and the brightness of your pump you can actually see the screen through the pump and don’t HAVE to remove it from the pouch (it is a lot easier to see if you are in the dark than direct sunlight), it holds the pump close/flush into the body so the pump doesn’t jiggle around (good for sports), can be worn when swimming (just be aware that chlorine will break down the fabric so it may be an idea to keep a belt specifically for swimming).

Con’s: the fabric available in stores is often quite plain.

Overall my favourite pump for day to day stuff is the plain Jane, for sport I would choose the No Sweat Insulin Pump Band (except swimming, I would use the plain Jane then), for daily life I would use the plain Jane and for lazy days I would use the Spibelt.

Again these are all my own opinions and experiences and if you have any different experiences or use a different kind of pump band I’d love to hear about it so please comment below πŸ™‚ and any questions again fire away πŸ™‚

Infusion Confusion Part I

Infusion sites. There are quite a few to choose from, based on: your pump brand, auto or manual, straight, angled, short needle, long needle, Teflon canula, steel canula, if you play contact sports etc etc etc the list really does go on and on. In this post I will just explain the pros and cons for each and the next post I will explain my experience so far 😊

For me and my Animas Vibe I have a choice of three different sites:

The ‘Inset II’ available with an auto inserter or manual (without inserter). Available in 6mm or 8mm canula. This canula goes in on a 90degree angle. The inserter is easy to use and great for people with less manual dexterity or younger children. The inserter itself becomes a self contained sharps container which is handy if you are out and about but very bulky.

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Photo retrieved from http://www.nzms.co.nz

The ‘Comfort Short’ which again comes with and without an auto inserter (first photo is with inserter, second photo is without). Available in 13mm or 16mm canula. I find the auto inserter very fiddly to use and if I did not have good manual dexterity I feel I would struggle. Because the canula goes in on an angle there is a little window that the entry to your body can be seen through, this is fantastic to check if the canula is in correctly and keep tabs on any possible issues throughout use. It’s also a great canula for those that have less fat as the canula doesn’t go in as deep as some others allowing you to place it where you may not be able to place the inset II.

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Photos retrieved from http://www.nzms.co.nz

Lastly there is the ‘Contact Detach’ a steel canula with a built in safety loop. It is not available with an auto inserter. Available in 6mm or 8mm canula. This canula is your go to if you have a Teflon allergy. It is not so great if you play contact sports. The inbuilt safety loop is a great feature that keeps your site that bit safer (lessens the chance of it being ripped out). It’s highly recommended for children.

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Photo retrieved from http://www.nzms.co.nz

Hopefully this gives you a bit more information about the possible canulas used for the Animas pump and helps you make a decision regarding which may suit you best.
I would really recommend that you get two different sites on your first script so that you have the ability to try more than one and are not stuck with your first choice 😊

Best of luck choosing your site type and if I can help in any way let me know πŸ˜ƒ

Hope

Pump Start

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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! 

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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! 

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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! 

Hope