Living with an Insulin Pump

by Cassandra Merkling
(last updated August 18, 2009)

First of all, what is an insulin pump? Well, it is a device for diabetes patients. It literally pumps insulin into the patient without the patient having to repeatedly prick himself with a needle again and again every time he needs insulin. There is just one prick and the needle stays in the patient for days. The insulin pump makes it so that the patient's body has just the right amount of insulin all day long. The user can program the pump to keep it working at a useful level for his needs.

The nice parts of having an insulin pump are that the insulin received is predictable and adjustable, since the insulin the pump provides is fast enough to act at any time the patient wishes to eat, sleep, or exercise. With an insulin pump, the patient can eat whatever she wants without there being the repercussions of spiked blood sugar. There are some downsides to using an insulin pump, though. For example, the insulin pump is extremely expensive and can get in the way of an active lifestyle because it is fragile and cumbersome. Some activities will have to be eliminated or adjusted so that the insulin pump can go along with the person as often as possible.

The insulin pump can be removed from a person at times, such as when playing a sport, but it can only be disconnected for about an hour (you will have to find out exactly how much time works for you on your own). You also may have to give yourself a bolus, or booster of extra insulin, before you take the pump off. Sometimes it can be done after you have exercised a little bit. There are those who prefer to keep it on at all times, though.

There are lots of ways to wear an insulin pump. One suggestion that I have heard of is to sew a baby sock into your pocket or onto your pants so the pump can be kept securely on your person. If the tubing is not visible, the insulin pump can often be mistaken for a pager. If you are a woman, you can place your insulin pump inside your bra or between your breasts, clipped onto your bra. You can leave the insulin pump in one of your socks, and some clothing made for teens and children have pockets for MP3 players that are perfectly sized for an insulin pump.

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