Friday, 9 April 2010

Invisible Ally

You know that feeling where you have a computer stuck to your hip which is feeding you insulin and reminding you each and every second that you are diabetic? Nah, me neither.

A year ago, the pump was still my worst nightmare and in my [ignorant] mind, a sign of failing at controlling this disease which took me prisoner at 4. The idea of going on a pump was about as tempting as a bout of e coli - and I would have chosen the latter. But when I started to come out of my cave and open my mind, I found that all the reasons other people professed as their reasons for going on the pump, could have been written by my own hand! In fact, I couldn't find one negative thing about it. Well, perhaps one. The fact that it was always there. At least with injections, I thought, you can forget about it in between jabs and no one will know.

I'm not quite sure what I envisaged with the pump. The way I used to react when someone mentioned it, you would think I had to rent a trailer to carry it about with me. Really, it's a very small device. Smaller than most mobile phones, smaller than a purse or make up bag, all of which I carry without a second thought. But when people used to say "I just don't notice it", or "You forget it's there", the sceptic in me would surface. Who's paying you? Which company is it? Animas? Medtronic? Of course you notice it, we weren't born with a plastic wire connecting us to a box with built in computer!

Here's the shocker, I found myself saying it this week. Really. The first night I had a bit of trouble getting to sleep. But not because I could feel it, more because I was thinking about it. Taunting myself about what happens if it stops working. I don't know why I do it, but give me a topic and I could manage. So the second night, when I fell asleep as soon as my face hit the horizontal, I was surprised. "Perhaps it's because I was so tired from last night" I told myself. Not so, in fact, every night this week I have fallen asleep without a second thought. I've never rolled on it, never gave myself an accidental dose (yes I know, but I have a skill for worrying remember), never tugged on the tubing or pulled it out. Nada! Not just that, but now that I have learnt that a bra is a girl's best friend in more ways that one, I don't have to pin it to any part of my clothing which could be seen. I can't feel it when I sit, or walk, sleep or run. It doesn't hurt to inject, because on Tuesday, for the first time in 23 years, I didn't do an injection.

I have yet to see the actual benefit of being on the pump, as it can take months to fine tune the settings to the needs of your body. The way you would organise your files on your pc to suit your needs or what routine you do at the gym to make it work for you. But that was never a doubt in my mind. The reason injections don't work for me is clear, my body needs different levels of insulin at different times of day. The pump can fix that. What I thought the pump couldn't do, was be invisible. Turns out, I was wrong. it doesn't happen often, but I'm glad it happened now.

I guess the moral of this story, is that when people with experience tell you how something is, stop being so cynical and give it a go.

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