To pump or not to pump?

A debate that I see often, is whether it is better to have an insulin pump, or to stick to injections. Obviously, there is no right answer as every diabetic is different and has a different regime to suit their needs but it’s something I’ve always been torn over.

I’ve mentioned before that I’m currently on 4 injections a day, varying depending on how my blood sugars are behaving. There are days when I only need 2, there are days I could need 10. I’ll be honest, I don’t fully understand how an insulin pump works, I’m just going off various conversations I’ve had with other diabetics. I know that a pump is a small, pager looking device that you clip to your clothes. A tube links the pump up to an infusion set that sits just under your skin. It works alongside a CGM which is a continuous glucose monitor.

A CGM is a sensor that you can wear on your arm (or anywhere else possible I think) and it constantly monitors your blood sugar. It works with a small machine like a glucose monitor. It also has the ability to alarm if your glucose begins to drop. For this reason, I’ve been looking into the possibility of getting myself one.

Living on my own, I’ve had a few scares. My glucose has dropped so quickly I haven’t felt it and I’ve managed to give myself many burns and bruises. The other day I didn’t feel anything wrong until I was already sitting at 1.2mmol. However, from what I have seen and heard so far, the device is not currently available on the NHS. Up front, I’m looking at over £1000 and around £60 a month for the sensors. It’s totally out of any price range I could afford. I’m yet to speak to anyone in the UK with just a CGM on it’s own so if you’re reading this and you have one in the UK, or you have any more information I’d love to find out some more about the process!

Back to my point though, the CGM works alongside the insulin pump to continually deliver insulin in small amounts throughout the day, in keeping with your blood sugar. The infusion set needs changing every week or so (Although I think this varies) It’s an amazing device but takes a lot of hard work and upkeep. A CGM doesn’t take away the need for finger prick testing, it takes regular calibrating. It sounds like a breath of fresh air right? I’ve been so tempted so many times, but the idea of being hooked up to a machine, day in, day out is so off putting. That and hearing so many stories about sites being ripped out when it catches on a handle, or the tubing clogs, the list goes on. I’m really not trying to scare anyone, I’m just explaining what’s putting me off. I’m the most clumsy person ever and it just feels as if it would be a disaster waiting to happen!

Having said that, it’s a Sunday afternoon and all I want to do is relax on the couch and stuff my face, so I’m having to really keep an eye on my bloods today and keep on top of my insulin so today I can totally get the benefit of a pump!

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