Monday, 4 November 2013

Starting My Animas Vibe Insulin Pump

I was connected to my lovely blue Animas Vibe on the 14th of October 2013. It's been almost three weeks and I feel in some ways I have settled in quite nicely to it. I thought I would take the time to run through what it has been like for me and how I found the training.

As I mentioned in another post I was lucky enough to "meet" Kaitake another T1D from the North Island of New Zealand. She posted a couple of super comprehensive posts about her pump start, see part one here and part two here. Her pump training was a couple of weeks before mine so it was really reassuring to read about someone else's experience with it.

For my training, there were three diabetics, two nurse educators (who popped in and out), our pump trainer and I had brought along my other half for the morning of Day One. I felt a little bit silly being the only one having a support person but I am 100% happy he came along. It wasn't because I needed support but because I wanted him to learn about the Insulin Pump and how it works. Afterwards he said to me that he thought it was a really great idea for him to come so I was so so glad that he felt happy to be learning about it.

Our first step was the introductions and the next one was to put in an infusion site! It seemed like a pretty big jump, I thought we'd be talking about the pump for a bit before doing something practical. Three of us in the training were using the same infusion set and the other was using a manual inserter. I think I could possibly look at using a manual inserter in the future but for now I am happy with my Inset 30. The trainer stuck one on her first - which I think is a fantastic teaching method. You shouldn't be prepared to teach something that you're not prepared to do yourself. I was the last to do mine and it took me a few times before I actually squeezed the two ends and put the set in.

Infusion set  and line 

You can't see but the needle on it is quite long which made it a wee bit intimidating for me. However, it doesn't all go into your skin. I've changed my set about 7 or 8 times and it's still a wee bit scary for me. It takes a few seconds for me to calm myself down and press on the set to  pop the needle and cannula out. It actually makes a rather loud thwack noise too! Putting it in the first time was nerve wracking for me, I'm not a fan of the unknown. Once I knew what it was like and the pain of it, it became much easier. It's not that painful either, just like a quick pinch.

The next step was filling the cartridge. We watched the trainer fill a cartridge once and for the next step we all filled a cartridge with "pretendy" insulin (it actually said that on the vial) and then we all did it for real. There's a lot to filling a cartridge a

AND THEN - I was connected about midday on the 14th and I have been ever since.

Except for when I shower - I disconnect then. And for... bedroom activities. ;)

There's obviously a lot to the training. We went through Insulin Sensitivity Factors, Insulin On Board, Temporary Basals, Insulin Correction doses in the absence of ketones, Correction doses with ketones, Sick Days etc.

These are the two giant booklets that come with the pump

And even after 1.5 days of training there is still more - these are the advanced features which I am yet to learn about. I really wanted to know about them straight away but I think they refrain so you can get to know the pump without being overwhelmed. It totally makes sense but I had already read ahead and wanted to learn about the EZ Bolus features. My DNE is happy for me to learn about them when I feel ready so I have an appointment booked this week for the pump trainer where she'll go through it with me.

I must say that I was really happy with the trainer. She was friendly without being your best friend (you know how annoying that can be of strangers?) and approachable (feel free to call at any time) and realistic (Please don't call to order consumables off me after hours).

I am loving the pump but there are down sides, extra stuff to carry around, extra testing, the need to be extra careful with carb counting, the need to find it somewhere to go on your clothes. But I think these all outweigh the general ease of not doing injections 4-5 times a day. I'm seeing it make a difference on my day time numbers and seem to be stable a lot more often through the day. I'm struggling a little bit with overnight numbers but working on that.

I'm excited for what's to come on life with a pump :)