Abandoned for Now, Not Forgotten

He sits on a ledge on the second floor of my home, each day peering over the side and pondering whether he should plummet to the carpeted stairs below. A suicide leap, as it might be. The reasons are probably what many face at down-times in their lives: feelings of being all alone, abandoned, not loved or appreciated by anyone. Simply, they have nowhere to turn and it all seems like too much to handle.

During the past two months, that's been the case in my house. We have a possible jumper, and those thoughts of being abandonment likely flood the system despite the reality that I do, in fact, have nothing but love and respect and appreciation for this wonderous creation of God.

Who do I speak of, you ask?

You may know him by other names or even the opposite gender, but in my household we know him by the name of Bacon Gibbs. Yep, my Minimed 722 insulin pump. Who has the name honoring both the wonders of those meaty strips as well as the NCIS character we all love by the name of Leroy Jethro Gibbs, former star of movie classics like Summer School.

As you may recall, I've been on a Pump Hiatus since the end of March. My continuing Pump Hiatus is the first time in nine years that I've been without pumping on a constant basis. This is in no way an indication of my feeling about pumping, because this was by all practical purposes a life-changing conversion back when I began in 2001. Rather, it is a time to let my body heal and just to step back and once again try injections, as I'd done each day for 17 years before pumping.

Intitial reports reveal that I haven't been a fan of Multiple Daily Injections (MDI), simply because of the fact that you must inject yourself many times a day as because bolusing isn't as easy, the food-effects are delayed, and there's that crazy long-acting Lantus complicating life so you're not just on a fast-acting regimine like before. You've read about the First Month Unconnected and that my D-Radar appears to be Raspberry Jammed these days. These issues remain true, now that I've arrived at the end of my second full month.

Overall, my body is healing - the goal of my embarking on this non-pump journey in the first place. So there's that, which is nice. It also nice that my regular syringes and the Lantus Pen Needle Tips cost nothing thanks to my insurance, which is a welcome change from the high-cost pump supplies I'm used to ordering. Those are two of the big positives. Plus, there's the simple notion of not being connected to any device and having to discconect and reconnect, adjust my sleeping habits depending on where my site is located, or examine whether a bent cannula or kinked tubing is at fault for higher-than-normal BGs.

But I miss my pump. Reasons stack up. For example, those carb-evil foods of pizza and chinese food (two that I love and have never traditionally had issues with while pumping) are delayed even more than before, and so the three-hour delay I'm accustomed to lasts as long as the eight hours they talk about in D-textbooks. Insulin absorption is also off and means that my Humalog takes longer to actually start working, I've found. So my pre-meal boluses need to be earlier and it takes longer for my corrections to bring my BG numbers down. It also means that what injection/infusion set sites worked before no longer do the job - Stomach and Abdomen were best pump sites, but absorption doesn't work there for injections; instead it's my lefts or arms that haven't been great pump sites for me.

Not to mention that it's more of a hassle to have to inject insulin by needle at a restaurant or out in public, as it brings more trepeditation from folk rather than just some button-pushing on the device at my waist. And, it's simply more to remember - that you did, indeed, inject your bolus and aren't just imagining that it happened.

Like a recent morning when I had to attend an early morning court hearing for work, and rushed to get out the door earlier that day. In doing that, I bypassed my Lantus injection at the normal time of 7:30 a.m. As I walked by the place at home where it sits patiently and waits for my twice a day attention, I even thought about whether I'd taken it and assumed I had. It wasn't until lunch-time that I realized my error, and likely why my BG numbers somewhat higher despite my activity and lack of food or coffee at that point in the day. Of course, I don't carry my Lantus Pen with me and leave it at home, so I either had to choose to head home at lunch or just wait until my 7:30 p.m. injection - I opted for the latter, as work has been busy lately. That just highlights the issue of having to remember one more thing, rather than just having my Humalog all at my waste-line or in a bottle that I carry with me always.

After going through several Lantus Pens in the past two months, I've now started the final from the box of five to run through before getting back on my pump therapy. It's possible I might just go through one of them and store the other in the fridge, but I'm not that sure yet. We'll see, maybe after discussing it with my Endo at the next visit in early June. Either way, I'm looking at transitioning back to pumping and getting re-settled by the time at the end of June when it's off to Orlando for the Roche Summit. That is the plan, at least. We'll see if it changes.

I just hope that in the meantime, before my Pump Hiatus officially ends, Bacon Gibbs can hold out without jumping off the ledge to the stairs far below. Maybe I'll have to show some attention, picking him up, putting a battery in him, and pushing some buttons just to show I care. Because I do. And I miss him wholeheartedly, not regretting for a single moment the choice back in college of starting a pump. I look forward to our reunion and hopefully a better, more appreciative relationship that will lead to lower A1C numbers by the end of the year. We will do it together, because that's what Bacon Gibbs & I are: a D-Team!


Virtue said…
Oh, I can leave pump things behind as well as any MDI necessity... One time (an ONLY one time) I got up in the morning, had my shower, got ready and went off to work. On the subway, after eating my breakfast, I went to pull out my pump for a bolus. I couldn't find it. I couldn't find it anywhere- I'd left it at home :( Had to go back and get it...

BUT! My pump survived and I came back for it... So, Bacon Gibbs, the same will come to you!!! Hang tight, little buddy.

(Michael, glad things are working out on your pump-vacation.)
Anonymous said…
Thanks for the update Michael. Having a first hand view of MDI v. pumping from someone who has actually done (or is doing) both is really valuable. Thank you for documenting it for all those who may be wondering.
karend1 said…
Still debating on a pump vacation for me, but the idea of syringes in a restaurant again kind of makes me want to stay pumping.

Great post.
Anonymous said…
I'm sure Bacon Gibbs knows just how much you love him and are thinking of him. Please keep updating -- it's nice to have other DOCers as guinea pigs. :)
Cherise said…
I tip my hat off to you because I wouldn't like going without Polly P. I'm sure Bacon Gibbs misses you a lot.
Anonymous said…
This article made me laugh. Not exactly the comment you want to here I'm guessing, but as a fellow pump-user for 6 years now and having gone through three pumps now courtesy of our large staircase and me tumbling down it, each one has been renamed. Currently I am testing a new pump and of course this one had to be named too. His name: Dinozzo. Yes my pump is named after the NCIS character. And so my reason for laughing: I'm not the only one who has named their pump after an NCIS character : )

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