Thursday, March 15, 2012

Lessons from an Unplanned Pump Vacation

After writing my "It could be worse" post, things, actually, did get worse.

On Sunday I called the one person I knew whose daughter is diabetic to see if she uses the Quick Serter.  She doesn't.  By this point, I took my pump out of my body because it was doing no good.  Since I am a wimp and cannot insert it on my own, I decided MDI was the only way to go because it was that or the ER, which would really interfere  with my life. 

Since I was having problems ordering a Quick Serter from the Medtronic website, which I have had problems with in the past, I decided my plan of action would be to call them on Monday morning, have them overnight me a Quick Serter, and be good on Tuesday morning. 

I called Monday and was told I would have my Quick Serters by Tuesday at 3 PM.  I thought this was awesome news because I would be re-connected to my pump by track on Tuesday night, where I need that insulin to stay in a happy blood sugar place and not go high. 

But then Tuesday at 3 PM came and went, with my device nowhere to be found.  I called Medtronic and tried to be nice to the customer service person because it is not their fault.  They entered the shipping wrong the first time (3 day instead of overnight), so my supplies were not going to get to me by Thursday.  After pleading my case of their error and my need for the device, they happily agreed to send me my order overnight, so it would arrive by Wednesday at 10 AM.

Sure enough, Wednesday at 10 AM the secretary at my school brought me a nice package from Medtronic.  I was overjoyed to be reconnected to my pump at noon on Wednesday.  Three days was a long vacation.  

I don't keep an extra bottle of Lantus on hand for situations like these because they rarely occur (this is the first time this has happened to me since going on my pump over 7 years ago).  As (I would hope) all diabetics know, you need long-acting insulin to maintain blood sugars.  Since I didn't have any, I decided that I would give myself extra insulin at meals.  But only 2 extra units.  I figured that since I typically get around 0.5 units per hour, and insulin lasts about 4 hours, this mathematically makes sense.  Surprisingly, this did work out....for the most part.

My meals are not 4 hours apart.  I eat breakfast at 6:45 and lunch at 11:45...most days.  On both Monday and Tuesday, I did not get the chance to eat  until 3 PM due to a variety of things going on at school.  Although I had to take a correction shot Monday, and not on Tuesday, I noticed some very odd trends.

On both days, I had a normal blood sugar at lunch (about 11:45 AM).  For example, on Tuesday it  was 129.  I did not eat or take insulin.  By this time, all insulin from breakfast has worn off because that was 5 hours ago.  My blood sugar actually dropped by 3 PM.  It was 119 when I tested on Tuesday.  Yes, I realize this drop is very, very small, but it should have increased...and didn't.

Also, overnight I noticed similar trends.  I went to bed with a lower, but normal number of 77 on Monday night and 82 on Tuesday night.  I woke up at 199 on Tuesday morning and 187 on Wednesday morning.  I assumed I would be much higher due to not having active insulin in me for so long.

Here are some other things I noticed and learned:

  • I really liked not being connected to anything, especially while running. 
  • Adrenaline raises blood sugar sooo much.  At track on Tuesday my blood sugar skyrocketed, and I ended up just stopping.  It was not worth it.
  • I realize just how much easier my pump makes my life.
  • Shots hurt.  I don't know how I did them for 17 years.
After looking at my blood sugar movement, or rather, lack thereof, in the afternoon, a part of me was like "Hey, maybe I'm not diabetic anymore! :)  "  Just kidding.  I'm not crazy....and I know it is not true. 

To nicely conclude my story, Medtronic told me that they cancelled the "mess up" shipment to me.  Guess what arrived today at 2 PM?  Yep...more Quick Serters.


  1. I have been considering a pump-cation for a few months now. This makes me want to really give it a go. It's really impressive to know that you learned a few things. And that track workout - good call on stopping.

    1. Some times having a break is good to remind us of how great the pump is :)