The Insulin Pump

The Insulin Pump

November 25, 2018

What options do you have when your body isn't functioning the way it is suppose to?

Either you can bury your head in the sand, attain a passive state, sit back and wallow hoping that everything will be alright. Of course you can deny obvious facts or refuse to accept advice, hoping that simply denying the existence of the problem will make it go away.

That's the easier option or you can take the matter in your own hands and look out for alternate options to gauge the seriousness of the situation and handle it accordingly.

I've been doing the latter for quite a while now and it has worked for me in a spectacular fashion.

Technology is a boon for someone who is having a hard time understanding their complications and dealing with them.
 I have always been curious about the medical devices and treatment options available for diabetes. The reason was obvious. There were days that would wear me out, struggling with the dropping lows, trying to correct it then going high because supposedly you have eaten so much when you were low and then in turn correcting that. The cycle goes on and it is tiresome.

For anyone who has been in the same shoes as mine exactly knows what I'm talking about.

Then there were days when the sugar levels would refuse to turn below 15mmol/L.

I was tormented,

As the time grew, I started to understand my illness in a better way and more importantly, what it can do to my body and health?  I started to be more cautious. When I came to Australia my endocrinologist changed my treatment, so I went from the orthodox 2 shots of insulin a day to a long acting insulin, one shot a day and one short acting for the food I eat. 

The regular appointments with doctors made me familiar with the concept of Carb counting and adjusting my insulin dosage according to the count. I spent hours relentlessly researching and homeworking on the concepts I grasped.

Even after doing all that my levels used to be all over the place because I didn't have much discipline when it came to food habits and my shoddy sleeping habits.

The amount of things that affect your levels is multitudinal. There is no actual count on that and it varies according to the person.  Sleep deprivation, stress, food, exercise, alcohol, the number of things that can turn your perfect day into a nightmare is quite long and the list goes on.

I can't be too sure which one of these conditions apply to you but there's one thing I'm sure of.

Having a chronic illness demands constant attention and awareness about your body and if you fail to pay heed then it can kill.

My endocrinologist in India once suggested me to get an insulin pump. Hearing about it again from my endocrinologist in Australia made me curious about it and I looked it up. It costed about 10,000 AUD. That there was a lot of money and at that point in time, I wasn't familiar with my insurance covering all the expenses. So I eagerly started waiting for the day I get my residency and then I could get my pump as in my head government subsidize it for Australian citizens like all the other diabetic supplies.

Little did I know that it was actually private insurance that covers all of that.

In Aug 2016 I got sick and hospitalized, one of my friends spoke to me about getting a pump, I was hesitant to get one because of the price and I didn't want anyone from my family paying that much for it, but after our conversation my friend went back and signed me up with Medtronic for a callback from them.

When I spoke to the local representative of Medtronic, she explained to me that a normal hospital cover on any insurance will cover the Insulin pump. I was ecstatic to hear that, but then she added that since I am not an Australian resident my pump supplies will not be subsidized.

The supplies costed $60 a pack each for reservoirs and cannulas which summed up to be about $120 in total and one pack lasts for a couple of weeks before you have to change your cannula and reservoir every second day. She said she can speak to Medtronic and they can offer me a discount on those supplies if I order in bulk, 3 month supplies in one go. I ran with it so from $120 with the discount it came down to $60. In total for 3 month supply. I was paying $300.

It was generous on their part to do that but for me who was living on her own and managing all my expenses by myself even $300 sounded too much but I had scarce options. 

Finally I thought about my health and how the pump would do more good than bad. I signed up to get a pump and attended the workshops. I got all the paperwork done from my endocrinologist. In Nov 2016 I received my insulin pump. The Medtronic Minimed 630 G. I was thrilled.

 

Knowing just the basic functions, I went back home with it from the workshop and that night having a cannula attached just made me irritable and pissed. I was lying on my bed thinking this is how its gonna be for the rest of my life. I have to get used to it.

I consoled myself that it is for my own better. Even now, some days my cannula starts hurting or it get detached by mistake if its pipe gets stuck somewhere or if its not properly attached. It hurts, but I couldn't complaint less. Despite all of the pain, it has indeed helped me a lot to manage my diabetes in a better way and I don't think I would be wrong in saying that it is because of the pump today my kidneys are doing better than ever before, my neuropathy is quite mild, my retinopathy is on hold, my gastropharesis is better.

No wonder It gets frustrating sometimes but the fact that it is actually keeping me alive makes the pain and the frustration worth it. I am now planning on getting a CGM along with the pump.

I have been researching about it but its expensive too, so lets see if I find a way to get it.

I have realized that Everything that irritates us about our disease can lead us to an understanding of ourselves. We need to be a bit patient and try to understand what is it that the body is asking for.

I do the same. I hope you do too.

 

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