Pump Vs Needles

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Pump Vs Needles

Postby Austen » Fri Jul 31, 2009 6:40 pm

Hi all,

I am considering going for the pump and a few people have recommended it to me. I am not sure about the whole being hooked up to something 24/7 but from what I hear the benefits out weigh any negatives.

Would appreciate any feedback from people who have made the switch or are considering it and liked it our not and any issues that came up.

Thanks,

Austen
An optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty. (Churchill)
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Postby Torie » Fri Jul 31, 2009 8:25 pm

Hi Austen

This question has been asked a whole heap. I recommend trying the search function first because this is one of the main things that people are worried about when pumping.

For me, it sits in my bra and I never notice it. It actually feels to me like I no longer have the 'burden' of diabetes because I don't have to find a pen and inject, I can just whip out the pump for a few seconds and push some buttons. And it's weightless and totally hidden under my clothes.

Much easier when people think I'm playing with an MP3 or mobile than a junkie shooting up...it's the ones who wonder why I'm shoving my hand in my bra for a 'feel' that give the really funny looks!
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Postby Trevor » Fri Jul 31, 2009 9:18 pm

Hi Austen
Not sure if you are M or F, being a male I to had issues with being attached 24/7, I have had the pump 9 months now after 40 years on injections, it is the 2nd best thing I have done D wise , the best thing was a DAFNE course, control is a heap better and I like Torie dont feel like a junkie anymore, you will need to carb count fairly accurately but it gets easier every day
Good luck
Trevor
Live long & well with T1, from another OHBT1D
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Postby Jen (nli) » Fri Jul 31, 2009 9:26 pm

Love the pump...!

Its not for everyone but I do think for me it was the most positive thing I did for myself and my diabetes. I much prefer pressing buttons to injecting. I can button press one handed. Injections required two hands. (I'm sure some people here can inject with one hand, but I wasn't that good!). And I can button press in meetings at work and its more acceptable than pulling out a pen and injecting one's self.

I always have the insulin with me... unlike pens where occasionally I'd leave it at home. Its one less thing I have to think about.

Sometimes I think it would be good to go about not being attached - in which case you can go back to injections. I have done this occasionally. But in five years of having a pump I've been very happy with it.
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Postby tristo » Fri Jul 31, 2009 9:56 pm

I'm ignorant with the pump because I've never seen one in real life or seen how they work. Atm I don't like the idea, control atm (still honeymooning) isn't a big problem and pens don't bother me, not as much as i imagine having something attached to me all the time - the idea doesn't appeal really... i'm also inclined to believe one day we'll say wow you had a pump that didn't know your BGL automatically - how quaint! when we get close to that day i'm keen to get hooked up :)
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Postby kaito » Fri Jul 31, 2009 10:24 pm

Hey Austen, I've been using one for nearly 4 years (updating to a new one in october!!) and I've been really happy with it.

Like u said, being attached to a machine 24/7 is a bit of a problem... at first! When my pump broke down recently, I felt really strange not wearing my pump! It's a kind of feeling like you're missing a part of yourself, at least it was for me after being on so long. After a few weeks it is just not an issue, sleeping is no problem - I just unwrap the line from around my waist when I get up every morning!! But some people I know wear it clipped to their pyjama pants or in a pocket on their pj's - whatever works for u!!

Also feel a lot less self-conscious in public - I didn't mind doing injections in public but I must say its a lot less obvious pressing buttons on the pump!

But I suggest u do your research into pumping and the different pumps available before u decide, because while I've found it fantastic it's not for everyone, and you should make sure you know what you're getting into before all the finances/health insurance claims!!
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Postby Jessie L » Sat Aug 01, 2009 12:36 am

Hi Austen
Lots of info and discussions on pumps simply use the search feature and read away!

As for my personal experience - I have had a pump for a few yars now and yes hate being connected to it but regularly swap back to needles to avoid building up (too much) resentment. I am a girl though and often wear dresses so hiding it is tough.
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Postby sty » Sat Aug 01, 2009 1:47 am

Personally-was on injections for 18 years, been on pump for 3, and you couldn't pay me to go on injections ever again. I know it's not for EVERYONE, but my pump has dramatically changed my life. I'm with Jen, it's the decision I've ever made for my diabetes.
I don't mind being attached at all, it was weird for maybe a week at first, but after that I didn't notice/wasn't bothered. It was like learning a new language at first, but became automatic soon enough.
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Pump vs Needles

Postby olddog » Sat Aug 01, 2009 8:11 am

Hi Austen, for a good couple of years I was determined I would never go on the pump. I just didn't like the idea of having something permanently attached as a reminder that i had a chronic illness. However at the beginning of last year I thought that since my Private Health would cover the cost I should try it. I figured as it wasn't costing me anything I had nothing to lose, I could take it off if I didn't like it! I've been on a pump now for about 1 1/2 years and it was the best decision I made. As has already been mentioned I hadn't realised the psychological relief of not having to pull out a needle ever time I wanted to eat. I was on holidays earlier in the year on a beach in bathers with my pump attached to my towel and someone said to me 'that's an interesting looking MP3 player!'. It opened up the conversation about Type 1!! Anyway my pump malfunctioned earlier this year during an exercise session and the thought of going back on to needles and Lantus filled me with terror. Fortunately it was only for less than 24 hours but I hated being back on needles. For me the pump is so much better - initially it's a lot of hard work but it makes life with D easier. As a girl who in summer loves strapless dresses etc it does mean that there are some clothes I find difficult to wear (and there are times I resent that) but I guess it's a small sacrifice and there is no way I'd go back! I think the biggest thing for me was the mental liberation!
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Postby Austen » Sat Aug 01, 2009 8:50 am

Thank you for the feedback people. I have also, as suggested, had a look at some of the past discussions including a long one from George in the Solid Gold section.

I didn't mention before but I am a 28 yr old male with a young family (5 month old boy). Diagnosed with T1D begining of July this year.

I guess since I am new to D I will first get used to needles then look at the pump. Good point about the private health, I pay for it so I should use it. Also reading the reduction in long term complications tends to make me (and my wife) want to give it a try.

Will see how we go, thanks again this is a good sounding board.
An optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty. (Churchill)
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Postby ali m » Sat Aug 01, 2009 8:50 am

I had the same misgivings about being hooked up permanently too, but in the end I wasn't. I was a poor student when I first started pumping (10 years ago this December), and the disposable bits were not subsidised. I would want the freedom and control it gave me during the week for my clinical placements (I was a medical student), but on weekends I would save money and go back to MDI. Basically I would try and use one set of reservoir and cannula per week only, and go back to shots if it failed or I ran out of insulin in the reservoir.
It is entirely possible and easy to do this, for special occasions, beach days etc, but another flexible option is the "untethered" regime. A bit of long acting insulin is injected, say 50-70% of your basal dose, then the rest plus boluses is via the pump. Obviously this is "chatting to your endo" territory, but it's a good option for those who want to be pump free for hours rather than attached all the time. I've considered it on occasion, but have never actually done it.
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Postby Caraline » Sat Aug 01, 2009 9:42 am

I only did MDI for 5 months before going on the pump, but it was long enough for me to know I never want to go back to MDI. I just love my pump & everything it does for me. Being constantly hooked up doesn't bother me and of course you can disconnect for short periods without any problem.

I have met people on the internet who alternate between the two, maybe do a few months on the pump & then a few months back on MDI. Just because you might make the decision to pump, doesn't mean that you have to be stuck with it forever.
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Postby Austen » Sat Aug 01, 2009 11:35 am

Just found out my Australian Unity policy does not cover Insulin Pumps!!!
Not happy, have full family hospital cover and been paying it for years and now they tell me a pump is excluded.
Less than impressed.
An optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty. (Churchill)
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Postby artemis » Sat Aug 01, 2009 12:10 pm

Austen, if you have hospital cover, you are covered for an insulin pump. What you need to do is quote an item number for the pump you want eg the Medtronic 522 is MC354 and the 722 is MC353. I can't find the info for the Animas pump at the moment, but ring your fund again and quote one of these numbers and see what happens. BTW you have to be in the fund for 12 months before you can claim for a pump.
Jane
Infundo ergo sum.
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Postby Austen » Sat Aug 01, 2009 12:19 pm

I did quote the MC353 but after a long delay they came back and said no again. I am not sure if they actually looked it up properly. Will have to speak with the manager.
Got to say I am filthy with the service.
Thanks for the assistance.
I have been in the fund for over 15 years.
An optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty. (Churchill)
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Postby artemis » Sat Aug 01, 2009 12:23 pm

I guess you have the option of changing funds, but I know that the funds do have to cover the pumps. The problem is that the people at the call centres usually don't have a clue. Perhaps you should put a complaint in writing to head office. Personally I had no problems with Medibank Private and others here have had no probs with other funds.

I would say that this is probably a case of someone not knowing what they are talking about, but surely it is a case where you should be put through to a supervisor.
Jane
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Postby melbel » Sat Aug 01, 2009 12:24 pm

Austen...don't be discouraged...they have to cover you by law if you have hospital cover....they can't NOT cover you. Most people have found the best way to navigate the quagmire that is private health is to let their diabetes educator so it...they have experience dealing with this type of issue and it will shortcut the process no end.

If you are really keen get onto your education team and they will be able to give you advice on what has worked for them in the past.....
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Postby Austen » Sat Aug 01, 2009 1:20 pm

Aust Unity's response to my enquiry again was that it would only be covered if it was a surgical procedure and if the device would not be covered as it is detachable. Sounds like garbage to me.
Would it be considered a surgical procedure?
I will speak to my diabetes educator to see if she can sort it out for me.
Its all much harder than it should be really.
An optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty. (Churchill)
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Postby melbel » Sat Aug 01, 2009 2:02 pm

If it is listed in schedule 5 ALL private health funds must cover the cost and currently ALL the pumps available are listed on schedule 5. you have nothing to worry about......sounds like you need to go further up the food chain in your enquiries...the general rank and file customer service people tendto get a bit confused by it all especially as it is not a common item......
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Postby yondi » Sat Aug 01, 2009 2:05 pm

I think the pumps fall under prosthetics.
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Postby Kate » Sat Aug 01, 2009 5:39 pm

Austen -
If you have had a search round the forums on people startign ro considerign pumps you will have heard this before but my number one tip for getting a pump is to have your diabetes educator and/or the insulin pump company do all the dealings with the private health insurers. Doing it yourself is a huge waste of time and worry as you are discovering. All the advice here is correct and useful but if I was you I wouldnt be wasting my time becoming an expert in the intricacies of pump finding - let the people who do it every day do it for you! I'd spend your time looking at different pumps available and their features and deciding which one best suits your lifestyle - lots of discussions here on CHOOSING a pump too.

One other point of clarification - pumps themselves dont reduce complications, lower HbA1cs do (only proven measure of complication risk). And pumps have been shown to reduce HbA1cs in groups of people studied by ~1% on average. For me it reduced it dramatically but others get good results on injections. The pump isnt a magic device- My second big pump tip is not to have huge expectations as unfortunately you still have diabetes in the wash up. It's a great tool for many but not a magic bullet by any means and better to be pleasantly surprised than disappointed. Just my opinion.

Kate
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Postby Austen » Sat Aug 01, 2009 7:04 pm

Sound advice.
Thanks
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Postby Topcat » Sat Aug 01, 2009 7:13 pm

Austen,

Kate and the others are correct, the pump IS covered by health funds, by govt legislation, but only if it is done as a day admission to hospital.

It is covered under your hospital cover as a prosthetic and not as an extra.

I know this myself as I have been trying very hard with the system for the last 9 months to get approved for one. For you, your DE and Endo will do the hard yards in getting approval. As a T2 I do not qualify and am sorting it all out myself. I will be funding my own way, having decided to proceed based on the helpful feedback from people on this forum.
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Postby abs » Sat Aug 01, 2009 10:25 pm

Hey Austen

I've been T1 since 1973, so 36.something years now

Still on MDI, get an A1c of in the 5's and 6's, and completely not interested in the pump.

I dont have a problem injecting, sure its a minor hassle, I probably test as much as the next T1 on the pump - >5/day, and do my own version of uneducated carb counting, and get it reasonably okay

Even though I have full medical cover, I have no interest in the "give it a try, wont cost me anything" philosophy, but can see why others certainly would


That's my take on the discussion
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Postby Jessie L » Sat Aug 01, 2009 10:55 pm

Austen - i'd ask to speak to the specific consultant on prosthesis. I'm with Aust Unity (Although the Grand United section) and it is covered WITH a hospital vists and specialists letter saying you need it.

If at firts you don't suceed become a pain in the arse until you get the right answers. and if they are saying you arent covered get them to send you this in writing don't take a teleconsultant verbal word for it
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Postby mfcr06 » Sun Aug 02, 2009 7:10 am

Austen

I didnt even ask my PHI if I was covered, I let the DE do it all.

All was covered. I didnt pay for a thing.

I would be finding yourself a D clinic where they do pumps and go from there. Much easier and less stress for all.

I too was hesitant about going on the pump from 25/26 years of MDI, but it was the best lifestyle decision I have made.
Fiona - T1D Mum of Blue and Pink
Surviving 34 years of T1D :)
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Postby abcde » Sun Aug 02, 2009 9:23 pm

Seeing some of the comments flying around about pumps is interesting. I have personally stuck to injections for the following reasons, the first being biggest resistor:
- I still have some insulin from my own pancreas and about every 6-12 months it requires me to readjust my basal insulin rates, either upwards or downwards depending upon how much of the work it decides to do. With injections when I pick it up, it means adjusting the one daily dose. However with a pump wouldn't this mean having to adjust and completely reset all the dosage plans and how much effort is involved with that?
- the risk of infection. When I have sores of any kind they take at least 6 weeks to heal even though my control is quiet good. This concerns me that if I managed to get one that the sore would be there for a long time and with limited room on the abdomon I would quickly run out of room to stick the canule.
- being a restless sleeper I roll around a lot at night. Therefore pulling the line out would be quiet easy.
- My doctor keeps telling me that as my control is so good (HBA1C of 5.5 or below) that I would be mad to change. The risk of 'messing it up' and loosing that control is too great. Why change if its not broke?

Thought I'd throw these in the melting pot, the first one being by far my biggest issue. THat being particularly so as I have seen nothing being written on it anywhere so far ...
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Postby andy72 » Sun Aug 02, 2009 10:17 pm

Gday Austen, i am starting on pump in a weeks time...i am with australian unity with family hospital cover and have been told twice that i will be covered. one person i spoke to had to go away and check with somebody else, but came bac with a yes. i have to stay in the hospital for about 4 hours to be considered an in patient in order to be covered. have been T1 for 24 years and just recently my endo suggested pump, as my hba1c's have been elevated for a number of years..between 8 and 9. i have had no complications at all since being diagnosed. went to a couple of info sessions on "pumping" and decided to give it a go. got nothing to lose. if i don't like it, i can go back to mdi. keep persisting with health fund to get the correct answer. all the best, andy.
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Postby Kate » Sun Aug 02, 2009 11:31 pm

Jessie L wrote:If at firts you don't suceed become a pain in the arse until you get the right answers.


OOORRRR handball the task to someone who has the direct line of the right person in the company, knows the right lingo and terminology and will do it all for you ... seriously, as I said before, leave this thankless task to people who are happy to do it on your behalf. there are many other thankless tasks associated with D that we have to hang onto and definitely cant handball,so when the opportunity persists save yourself the pain !
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Postby benny81 » Mon Aug 03, 2009 9:17 am

Hi Austen,

Yep, I'm with abcde - got good control with mdi and feel no need to change yet (i'm still honeymooning). My partner has been t1d for a while and is pumping so i see what it involves. Atm i feel that pumping's not for me. id on't find the needles too annoying and pumps seem they can be annoying for different reasons. Horses for courses... good luck with your decision,

b.
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Postby Austen » Mon Aug 03, 2009 11:04 am

Thanks everyone.
Kate I am definetly taking your suggestion and leaving the hard work to the people who do this all the time. I have my hands full with my 5 month yr old to waste time with the fools answering the phones and knowing nothing. Same group told me the birthing costs for my wife would not be covered because the baby would have to wait 6 months to be covered...they are hopeless. Yes the birth was covered of course.

Andy thanks and good to hear your opinion on it and that Aust Unity covered you, I hope your decision works out well for you. Jessie likewise I have full Aust Unity family hopsital cover from the old Grand United days. I am now very confident I will be covered and am not going to worry about it and will focus on learning.

Best course of action for me is to first adjust to the whole diabetes thing mentally and get used to the needles then have a chat with my edcuator and work out if the pump is right for me and see how my HBA1C are going.

I am thinking I may give it a go and will research it more then get the right people to do the Private Health hard yards.
An optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty. (Churchill)
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Postby Austen » Mon Aug 03, 2009 4:12 pm

Hi all again,
Just a quick update, an Aust Unity manager called me to apologise profusely and to confirm that the pump is (as everyone here said) covered under my hospital cover.
Now I just have to decide if I want to give it a go.
Cheers,
Austen.
An optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty. (Churchill)
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Postby Kate » Mon Aug 03, 2009 10:54 pm

Austen wrote:Best course of action for me is to first adjust to the whole diabetes thing mentally and get used to the needles then have a chat with my edcuator and work out if the pump is right for me and see how my HBA1C are going.


Hi AUsten - Just a word of warning that not all diabetes educators and endos are "pump friendly" - majority now but plenty are either very conservative or not very experienced with them or both.

I also, personally (but strongly!), don't believe in the concept of "getting used to needles". Getting used to diabetes, absolutely that makes perfect sense, but when I was dx in 1983 noone said to me, "now you better get used to no blood glucose meters and boiling glass syringes like Ds had to do in the 1970s and before, and we're going to put you on that treatment first before we give you, oooh disposable syringes and a BG meter which have just hit the stores." Same time, pumps arent for everyone, but if it is for you, there's no reason, in my opinion, to wait. (I am happy to be proven wrong by evidence to the contrary but have not seen any to date). There are increasing numbers of people (mainly kids as the prompt access to specialist care is better) going straight onto pumps at or shortly after diagnosis without a problem.

Good luck with your decision and all the rest of getting your head round this thing .... you sound like you are pretty on top of it which is a real credit to you. All the best , Kate
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Postby CrazyCory » Sat Aug 15, 2009 11:11 am

Sorry to bother..

But i am revisiting the idea of getting a pump, previously i have been unable to get one because i don't currently have private health insurance due to it being unfordable for me.

I have no idea about how health insurance works, but after reading this thread i was very interested to discover that pumps are possibly covered under the normal "hospital cover" package and not some extra. (forgive me if im wrong)

Been looking at plans, just wondering if this basic hospital cover plan would be sufficient to get a pump?

http://www.mutualcommunity.com.au/publi ... ns.action#

Any info or suggestions would be great :)

Thanx

Corey
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Postby Caraline » Sat Aug 15, 2009 7:58 pm

My understanding is that all you need is the basic hospital cover, not all the ancilliary stuff.
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Postby abs » Sun Aug 16, 2009 6:26 am

Corey, all basic hospital covers will work

You'll need to have it for 12 months for the "waiting period" to elapse
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Postby Austen » Thu Aug 20, 2009 9:11 pm

Corey,

From my head butting with my insurer I found out that as everyone here said it is covered. The pump is covered under the basic hospital cover and it is just the waiting period that will hold things up for you. My best advice is to go through the experts and let them deal with the insurance company once you have served the waiting time.

Having said that, I want to say that I have decided that I will get to be proficient in using needles first. Kate, whilst I do believe in using the best technology I also personally believe that it is prudent to learn how to handle things manually first as a failsafe.

All the best.
An optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty. (Churchill)
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Postby carolyn » Fri Aug 21, 2009 8:28 am

Medtronic may give you a loan pump for the 12 month waiting period, the application form is on their website.
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Postby Clare » Fri Aug 21, 2009 3:56 pm

abcde wrote:- the risk of infection. When I have sores of any kind they take at least 6 weeks to heal even though my control is quiet good. This concerns me that if I managed to get one that the sore would be there for a long time and with limited room on the abdomon I would quickly run out of room to stick the canule.
- being a restless sleeper I roll around a lot at night. Therefore pulling the line out would be quiet easy.


These two things sound worth trailing a pump if you have the opportunity, because they could turn out to be non-issues. You can't tell if you'd pull the line out without trying, probably. Also I heal pretty slowly, but don't run out of room because I use my thigh more often than abdomen for the pump.

abcde wrote:- I still have some insulin from my own pancreas and about every 6-12 months it requires me to readjust my basal insulin rates, either upwards or downwards depending upon how much of the work it decides to do. With injections when I pick it up, it means adjusting the one daily dose. However with a pump wouldn't this mean having to adjust and completely reset all the dosage plans and how much effort is involved with that?


And this is interesting because you're right but really, you shouldn't be! It's a user interface problem. If it were easy to make a new basal plan that was a copy of the old one but +20% on every rate, that would be great.. does any pump let you do something like this? I'm not talking about temporary rates. If I want a PERMANENT 10% increase, or a decreased basal program that I can switch to for a few days in a row, I have to edit every rate separately.

I so much wish I could design the interface & abilities of my pump!

Btw my personal feeling is that it is good to be used to needles and to "manual control" before switching. I have had site problems occasionally, and I think pump failure is a less scary thing hanging over you if you're comfortable with your backup syringe.
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Postby Liz » Fri Aug 21, 2009 9:31 pm

hi austen ... i am going to get a pump on the 21st sept im looking forward to not having to inject 5-6 times a day my tummy is full of scare tissue from 7years of needles. as i sit here i have the needle from the pump in my tummy to see how it went and honestly i cannot feel it at all and it didnt hurt either when i had to insert it so......so far so good. i also like the fact that the pump can also tell if you have any residual insulin left in your body from the last dose and it automatically adjusts the next dose if it needs to. the other thing to think about is if you try a pump and it doesnt suit you you can switch back to needles but at least you will be able to compare the two..good luck with everything i'll let you know how i go when i get my new pump. I,m looking forward to my new friend, thats how im going to think of it
Cos I can
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Postby abcde » Sat Aug 22, 2009 12:48 pm

Clare

Thanks for your insight on this, its much appreciated.

I suppose in regards to the first two issues your right, its probably best to just give it a go and see how it goes.

In regards to the dosage adjustments, that's the interesting one. They are not just for a couple of days but ongoing. I am going through the readjustments again at the moment, its downwards this time. Firsty I adjust the basal dosage and then over the next week or so I gradually work out what the bolus doses should be. All going well, once that is over things stabilise again for about 4-6 months at which time the issue comes up again. I make adjustments through a combination of monitoring trends in BGL readings, amount of hypos and the like.

I'll have to see how I go, maybe make some enquiries with some of the pump reps to see how they think a pump would cope with this sort of thing.
abcde
 
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