Thursday, May 14, 2015

Diabetes Blog Week: Changes

Here’s today’s prompt: Today let's talk about changes, in one of two ways.  Either tell us what you'd most like to see change about diabetes, in any way.  This can be management tools, devices, medications, people's perceptions, your own feelings – anything at all that you feel could use changing.  OR reflect back on some changes you or your loved one has seen or been through since being diagnosed with diabetes.  Were they expected or did they surprise you? Click for the Changes - Thursday 5/14 Link List.

As far as changes to how I manage my diabetes, May 14 is a special day. On May 14, 2012, at exactly 4:44 pm, I started pumping insulin.

This is XPU Mark I, my first insulin pump. I named her XPU because she is my eXternal Pancreatic Unit. When I started pumping, I had no idea how much it would change my diabetes management.

I know I am supposed to write about how pumping lowered my A1c. Or, how pumping helped me with my dawn phenomenon. It did both of those things, but that's not the biggest change.

The biggest change is, well... OK, we're friends, right? I can be completely honest, right? Deep breath. Here comes the hidden truth.

Good evening, welcome to Scatterbrains Anonymous. My name is Marie S. and I am a scatterbrain. When I was using MDI to control my diabetes, I did my best to keep my insulin pens separate. The bright vivid orange pen is NovoLog. The deep green pen is Levemir. The manufacturer probably assumed that the difference in color would be sufficient enough to prevent error. They did not consult me.

What I needed was for the robot from Lost in Space to pop out of the NovoLog Pen and shout: Danger, Will Robinson!

This might have prevented an epic scatterbrain mistake. A few weeks before I started pumping, the inevitable happened. I grabbed an insulin pen and injected a great deal of what I assumed was Levemir. Only, it was NovoLog. A whole lot of NovoLog. I really screwed up. When I noticed, I said something that rhymed with Oh puck! That was not my first mistake mixing up two insulin pens, but it was my last.

As a scatterbrain, I pump for safety reasons. Using only one type of insulin prevents me from being a danger to myself. All day, every day, NovoLog is in my pump. I don't have to look for the right pen. I can't lose my insulin. I cannot lose my pump because of the tubing.

As much as I like the design of the OmniPod, I cannot be trusted with something as critical as a meter remote. It would get lost, probably within an hour after I got it. An hour? Who am I kidding. It would get lost the second I opened the box. My pump tubing is my safety line, and I'm grateful for it.

Mixing up my two insulin pens is what drove me to seek help with Scatterbrains Anonymous. Since I've been a member, I've learned I am scatterbrained because I am physically here, but mentally elsewhere. My name is Marie S. and I am a scatterbrain. This, above all other reasons, is why I pump.

XPU Mark I had an unfortunate accident and was replaced with XPU Mark II. My new pump is an Animas Vibe, XPU Mark III.

Pumping has changed my life for the better. I am less fearful of making a mistake. If I can't remember if I gave myself a bolus or not, I press a button and see my insulin on board. Or, I click my history. My pump remembers things for me, so I can keep my scatterbrained self safe.

Now, all I need is a robot to follow me around, making little notes about where I put things. Marie set her phone on top of the washing machine. Marie set her iPad on the kitchen table. Marie left her purse on the bedside table.

Robot? Where is my phone? Your phone is on the washing machine, right where you left it. Robot? Where is my iPad? Your iPad is on the kitchen table, right where you left it. Robot? Where is my purse? Your purse is on your bedside table, right where you left it. Robot? Where is my brain? Your brain is scattered across fifteen known galaxies. Ah, progress.


  1. Aw, i'm glad you got the pump! You bring up a great point, pumping definitely helps eliminate mistakes! I do still forgot to bolus sometimes but at least I have proof that it was forgotten.

  2. I am terrified of that kind of mix-up. For years I took Lantus by syringe, Novolog by pen; then I took Lantus by pen and Regular by syringe, then pumped. Now I'm taking NPH and R, and both are only available in the US for syringe, so that's how I'm taking 'em, and yes it scares me! At least the NPH is cloudy so the one time I started filling it in the syringe thinking it was R, I realized my mistake.

    1. Maybe you can keep two boxes of syringes. Box a is for R and box B is for NPH and keep them on opposite sides of the room. I have a medication that will kill me if I take it every day. Since I take it only one day a week, I keep it on a difficult to access shelf, far away from daily meds. No chance of accidentally taking it every day. Perhaps separating those syringes will trigger your brain so you use the right insulin. And you're right cloudy is helpful. Good luck and be safe.

  3. When I was on injections, there are so many times when I couldn't remember if I took my Lantus...and the consequences of getting it wrong could be severe. Like you, switching to the pump certainly helped with these memory lapses. (And I also consider the tube-tether to be a good keeps me from losing it!)



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