Hello all, this is my first post on this site. I found it while browsing for others who don't necessarily think the insulin pump is the best invention since sliced bread. I'll share my feelings and maybe others can tell me if I haven't given it enough time, or maybe I'm doing something wrong.
I have been diabetic since 19, I'm 31 now. I resisted the pump for many, many years at many different doctors disapproval. Finally, I gave-in last October. I think I hate it. Yes, it does have its benefits, but I'd like to express some frustration. Mainly, I wanted to have a continuous glucose monitor. If I'm going to wear one of those around, I might as well just have the full-on pump for all the reasons they tell me are good. I was setup with the Medtronic Paradigm, with continuous glucose monitoring.
In the beginning, things seemed to work rather well. Changing sites and sensors took me a lot longer and hurt a lot more than the shots I was used-to taking. Not having to carry insulin pens with me was nice, and the CGM is great (when accurate). Then, come November the pump put me in the ICU. I changed infusion sites in the morning before work. By lunchtime I felt horrible and went home. My blood sugars were on a steady climb since breakfast and were pushing 300. I bolused additional insulin throughout the morning, but to no avail. After I started throwing up I called my doctor, who told me to get to the ER. An IV drip of insulin and 24 hours later, I was feeling just fine. It turns out the infusion tube kinked inside of me, so I was not getting insulin. However, the pump never indicated to me that it was having a delivery problem. The medtronic rep recommended I use a different type of infusion set, which I have been.
Fast forward to December and January. I start experiencing similar problems, but fix it with a manual bolus from an insulin pen before it puts me in the hospital. Then I install a new infusion site and go on. After having this happen a few times, it was suggested to try sites on my upper buttock, instead of the abdomen. I have done that 4x now, twice it has not worked (including now).
The first time I moved the site there, no problems, everything was great. 3 days later, I swtiched sides. One day in, and I started having some pain. 2 days in, there was swelling and a bump forming, as well as high blood sugars. I removed the infusion site - with some blood, pain, and signs of infection. I sited a new infusion on the other side of my body. That one worked fine.
Which brings us to yesterday. I inserted the infusion set and went through the day normally. I woke up this morning with some pain and signs of bleeding from the infusion site. "Great," I thought. By lunchtime today I was +300 on the CGM, and relying on an insulin pen until I can get home from work and change sites again.
It seems that the sites will bleed or bruise, and that reduces or eliminates the ability for them to absorb insulin. It's very frustrating that this device I am supposedly relying on is only working 2/3rds of the time, and I end up taking shots anyway.
Here is my laundry list of complaints about the pump:
- See the above story
- I was told it would eliminate many of the highs and lows I was seeing with shots - it may have reduced some their severity, but has probably increased their frequency, especially lows
- My A1C went from 6.7 before to 7.3 in the 3 months after starting the pump
- I hate the constant reminder of "hey, you have diabetes" every-time I see the thing.
- Having to unhook and be extra-vigilant when: showering, swimming, etc. - not to mention the scarring and sensors/infusion sets stuck to me.
- Getting tangled in the cord
- Changing basal rates because I am doing something active (exercise, work, etc)
- Just generally feeling like less of a normal person because this thing is always connected to me
Are these normal new frustrations? Most things I read before going on the pump seemed to be that people connected to it, magically their management was better, and they fell in love with using it. I don't know how this is possible, I am debating getting rid of it! 4-6 shots a day and 7 finger-pricks was way less involved than trying to manage this thing. Will it work today, or won't it? I better make sure I bring an insulin pen, just in case.
I will admit the upside of being able to skip/delay a meal instead of being on a very specific timed eating schedule. I'm not sure if this outweighs my negative feelings though.
I guess I'm just ranting and looking to see if I'm being irritable (remember, my BG is high) or if the pump is not the wondrous device I was lead to believe it would be.