Totally Pumped

Let’s start at the beginning. Roughly 43 years ago, in the fall of 1971, I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. This, in my opinion at the time, totally sucked. Every single day since then—some 16,000, give or take, I have stuck one or more needles full of insulin into an arm or a leg (or occasionally my butt) so that I could stay alive. As science and medicine got better, the number of shots went up; for around ten years, I have been taking four or more shots a day.

That ended on Friday.

On Friday, I took one shot, and then began to use an insulin pump.

And by that evening, I couldn’t imagine why I hadn’t been using one of these for years.

The pump itself is a reasonably simple device…a syringe is driven by a motor through a very high-ratio gear box, and that whole thing is linked up through a small computer that calculates the dose based on your current blood sugar, the carbs you’ve eaten recently, and the duration of the insulin you have in the syringe.

Oh, and it has a remote that has memorized a large number of foods that you can use to calculate the insulin dose. And for those it hasn’t? Well, that’s what Google is for.

Technically, the whole thing is kind of sweet.

But beyond the technical—I haven’t stuck a needle in myself for days. Days. OK, I do have a flexible plastic tube (the cannula) stuck into me, and I’ll have to change it in a couple of days, but. No needles!

So this will be a new technical adventure. I haven’t tried it in combination with the bike, yet, due to unremitting bad weather (today was wet and cold and dark).


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