So I woke up this morning full of excitement and a touch of nerves. Even though I have bought into the insulin pump whole heartedly, the idea of being 'plugged into a machine' is a daunting prospect.
For months I have been researching the pump that I was told I would be on. The Accu Chek Spirit (http://www.accu-chek.co.uk/gb/products/insulinpumps/index.html). While it is a smart looking device with many settings, my research had led me to the Minimed Paradigm VEO (http://www.medtronic-diabetes.co.uk/product-information/paradigm-veo/index.html). Minimed have the option of having a CGM (Continuous Glucose Monitoring), which is a sensor placed on the skin a short distance from the pump which takes blood sugar readings at regular intervals, meaning extremely comprehensive readings throughout a 24 hour period, rather than the snapshots which fingerstick tests give you. To get readings during the night, on my current system of blood testing, it would require waking myself up throughout the night (i hear what you're saying, hence I don't). Although this function is not yet available on the NHS, it is available if you are prepared to pay. I haven't reached that decision yet, but it's good to know it is available.
So imagine my surprise (and pleasure) when I walked in to see the Minimed Paradigm VEO on the table! It turns out that Minimed have donated the pumps for this trial, so we will be using brand new Paradigms on our trial. Result!
The first things to happen is the experts will give you a complete run down of the pump, it's basic functions (there are too many to learn in just three hours) and how to set it up/insert it. The functions themselves on the paradigm VEO are (so far) simple and easy to understand. With just a few clicks of a button you can programme your personalised background insulin dose according to times and doses you require. Although I have only learnt the basics, within an hour I already had the feeling that this would give me so much more flexibility than the 'old' system.
As for inserting it, I don't think I can remember seeing a needle that size for a while! It looked as though it would be fiddly as there seems like there is a lot of plastic to remove, a needle to insert at a 45% angle, sticking and positioning to do, and needles to remove. As it turns out, the fiddle is minimal. Granted, it is not as easy as a straightforward injection, but it was far less painful than the needlesticks. Perhaps it was luck, perhaps because I decided just before I inserted it, that I would have to damn well get used to it if this was the way forward. Whatever the reason, I was pleasantly surprised by the relative ease. I was even more surprised to realise that you cannot feel it at all. Not even when you're moving or lying on it (that was the first thing I tried, seeing as my precious sleep does not take well to being disturbed!). I have to admit, the wire is my least favourite thing at the moment, mainly as I don't know what to do with it. But that should come with time and experience. It certainly seems that those who have been on it for years have found so many weird and wonderful ways to disguise their pump, it will only be a matter of time before I am able to do the same.
So, my first day as a 'pumper' (not sure about the name yet!) went well. I have another day of learning about settings and safety tomorrow, but for something I have at times been very apprehensive about, I think it's been a success.
Catch you soon!