Last week my pod expired at work. You know my pod as Gizmo 2.0 – a wireless insulin pump that helps me manage my blood sugar levels and keeps me alive. It will always alert me to its pending expiration date by two consistent beeps … four hours… two hours… oh and it has less than 10 units left… one hour… expired.
I rarely let it hit that expiration mark, but that’s mainly to prevent the one long annoying beep (similar to when an EKG goes flat) that literally requires me to use a hammer to smash the pod until it stops (yes, I’ve done this – inserting a pen into the pod to deactivate this sound has never worked).
I have back-up supplies at my work desk (I like to be prepared). And even though I carry a vial of insulin with me and an extra pod, I failed to carry any alcohol swabs. I use these to wipe the dirt and grime from my skin before inserting the pod for a three-day life cycle. But this is an office, so I checked the first aid drawer in the kitchen (underneath the drawer with the ladles, who would have thought?) and found some hydrogen peroxide. It would have to do (three days later I ended up with a rash on my skin where the pod had been so note to self: hydrogen peroxide is not a good alternative). Continue reading →
I’m constantly being alerted by my diabetes devices. It’s amazing I haven’t been conditioned to tune them out. Sometimes, the beeps annoy the hell out of me, and I yell at these devices with little to no effect.
So, what’s with all the beeps? And why do I keep certain alerts on, even to the detriment of office cube mates and dinner companions? Some of these alerts literally save my life. Others just keep me in check. Each alert is different, and over time, I’ve learned exactly what each type of beep or alarm means. But that’s hard to explain in words so instead, I’ll just give a quick summation of what I may be alerted to when you hear an odd sound emitting from my bag. Continue reading →
His name is Gizmo. He’s a small thing, about the size of a pager, with charcoal skin…. Gizmo and I are attached by a long string, like an umbilical cord. He’s constantly pumping insulin. Sometimes, he moves to the comforts of my small stomach rolls. Sometimes, he rides along my back. He doesn’t enjoy the hard surface of my legs, and it feels uncomfortable when I tuck him under my arm.
Many of you may remember when Gizmo and I first met or you may remember this short introduction from my book Sugarcoated. But I first met Gizmo back in March of 2012 when I went from injecting myself with pens and needles every day to the transformative wonders of an insulin pump. With Gizmo I never had another hypoglycemic seizure, and I was better able to function on a daily basis without diabetes getting in the way.
But recently I wrote about possibly saying goodbye to Gizmo and introducing a new type of insulin delivery system into my life. Well just a few days ago I took that step. Continue reading →
As much as I love Gizmo, I’m kind of tired of my insulin pump. I know, I know, I shouldn’t complain. Having a $6,000 piece of equipment attached to me 24/7 has been an immense help in the management of my disease over the past four years.
But I am starting to understand why fellow Type 1 diabetics take a break from the pump every now and then and sometimes forever. It’s not easy having something attached to you 24/7. Right now I carry three devices around with me to manage my disease: my insulin pump (aka Gizmo), my continuous glucose monitoring receiver (aka Cosmo), and my glucometer. That doesn’t count my phone.
Gizmo is about the size of a pager. I usually conceal it clipped to my bra strap or waistline of my skirt or pants. The clip is currently taped together with duct tape, and the Medtronic label is practically worn away. I’ve had Gizmo for four and a half years. I’ve only had to replace it once when the battery container froze shut. For the most part I have no complaints.
But lately I’ve been more annoyed with Gizmo than happy. Take for example: Continue reading →