Friday, 13 April 2012

The Dream Is Over

In my last post, I discussed how my insulin pump had died and how I had begun taking multiple daily injections while deciding what the next step would be. I wrote about the things that were fun about going back on injections: an extra pocket, no tubes, and I could disrobe with the grace and take-no-prisoners-confidence that any insulin-producing man exudes.

So, was it really just that not having a pump offered some simple conveniences, or was there something else going on? (Of course there was something else going on...) I think that what I really liked about not having the pump, and especially about not having the CGM, was that I got to pretend that I wasn't a diabetic. I realized this while talking to a member of my Diabetes Support Group*, who takes multiple daily injections. She said that she was only diabetic when she was shooting up, testing her blood sugar, too low, or too high. Hearing that made me realize how accustomed I had become to the hum of constant "systems checks" in the background of my mind:

"This is Central Command. All units report in."
"Central Command, this is Mouth. I am dry. Repeat, I am dry."
"Mouth, this is Central Command. Drink water and await further Orders. CGM, report in."
"Central Command, this is CGM. Glucose is six-point-seven, trending slightly upward."
"CGM, this is Central Command. Continue Monitoring Glucose (get it?) and await further orders. Hands, do you copy?"
"Central Command, this is Hands."
"Hands, commence finger-stick reconnaissance and report back."
"Central Command, this is Hands. Commencing finger-stick."
"Central Command, this is Hands. Finger-stick reads Eleven-Point-Niner. Repeat, Eleven-Point-Niner."
"CGM, this is Central Command. Re-calibrate Eleven-Point-Niner. Repeat, Eleven-Point-Niner."
"Central Command, this is CGM. Re-calibrating Eleven-Point-Niner. Repeat, Eleven-Point-Niner. Sorry my reading was off, Central Command."
"CGM, this is Central Command. Noted. Pump, this is Central Command, do you copy?"
"Central Command, this is Pump. Basal rates are at Zero-Point-Eight units per hour. Insulin on board is Zero-point-three units. Awaiting orders."
"Pump, this is Central Command. Deliver Two-Point-One units of Insulin. Repeat, Two-Point-One units of insulin."
"Central Command, this is Pump. Delivering Two-Point-One units of Insulin. That's Two-Point-One units of insulin."

And on, and on... That's what happens when you have to take control of what should be an automatic reflex. What if you had to think about breathing, pumping your blood, or blinking? So it was nice, I guess, having a little bit of quiet. Getting to pretend that my body could just take care of itself, automagically. Of course, my blood sugars were not as stable, and without the CGM, it took me much longer to realize when I was high. Or low...

So, I've decided the dream of getting to play non-diabetic just isn't worth the dream of having more stable blood sugars and more knowledge about what's happening at any moment in my body. The dream is over.  I'm currently using the loaner pump minimed sent me (to their credit), and I'm in negotiations with them, Sun Life (my extended health coverage), and my endocrinologist to get a new pump & CGM. Minimed Veo, here I come. I guess I'll also have to give up, for the time being, on the dream of having a pump with a color screen!**

* "The Injectors" meet the first Monday of every month at 7:00 p.m. in the Arbutus Room at Vancouver General Hospital. These are some of the best people ever. In just a handful of meetings, they were instrumental in organizing much of the emotional chaos that followed 20 years of isolation as a diabetic.
** It sounds like I'm complaining. I guess I am, a little bit. BUT, it's only because I'm spoiled. I remember what it used to be like when CGM didn't exist, testers took 2 minutes and were wildly inaccurate, pumps had to be worn in backpacks, the exchange diet ruled, and the effect of long-acting insulin could change from day to day. I'm extremely grateful for what we, as diabetics, have. The Veo is actually a miracle.


  1. Ben, you do rueful humor very well indeed. I really liked reading this.

  2. Hi Devin! Thanks! I was totally going for rueful humor! I'm glad you liked reading it. I always read your blogs, by the way. Except the sports one, of course. I like the way you use words.