My Little Friend & I

The Pod

A few weeks ago I introduced ‘my little friend‘ to the world.

It was my fault that we got off to a dodgy start. Between my ignorance and nervousness, our relationship was strained. Today I’m happy to report that the ‘bugs’ in our friendship seem to be worked out. After all, practice does make perfect, or at least comfortable.

For my beloved readers who are following the “Insulin Pump Series”, I will post about this journey now and then, to keep you in the loop about my new ‘remote controlled’ life.  Or however you think of it. Lord knows my family has their own way of referring to this change: The Pod person. The adventures of Robo-Grandma.  My youngest granddaughter has trouble remembering the word “Pod”. She calls it a “boob”. And she likes to pat it, as if it’s a pet, instead of a medical device. (She’s so sweet, I can hardly stand it! But I digress…)

Today’s report is short and sweet. 🙂

It used to take me 30-minutes to do the Pod change because I would verify everything in the User Guide, before doing it. Since I change Pods every 3-days, I have done it 7 times now, twice without the Guide! The “remote” (its official name is “Personal Diabetes Manager” or “PDM”, but that’s boring), takes you step-by-step through the process. Although there are a lot of steps, they become easier every time I do them. I don’t dread Pod change day like I did at first.

Y’all have a fabulous week & thanks for listening!


Here’s Your Pump, Now Bond With It…

Let me introduce you – to my little friend…

MyLittleFriendYesterday Maureen, the OmniPod trainer and Certified Diabetic Educator (CDE), and I opened the box shipped to me by Insulet™, with my OmniPod “start-up kit.”

Maureen showed me all the components and “we” programmed it to my doctor’s specifications, edited settings, and then,  attached my 1st Pod.  For two hours, she patiently showed me features, explained why I would use them and gave me a lot of information. (We also chatted about non-pump related stuff and shared a laugh or two.)

I won’t go into all the technical & medical details but basically this is how my “pump” works. I know you have been chomping at the bit to find out  😉

The Pod (shown above) is the insulin delivery system. Once attached to my stomach and activated, it acts as an artificial pancreas and deliver an amount of insulin that a normal pancreas would do.  Starting up a Pod is fairly simple – I will follow, step-by-step (lots of pictures) in the Quick Start Guide manual. There are a lot of steps and I do not want to miss any and ruin the Pod.

First I fill the Pod with insulin (a saline solution that we are pretending is insulin). Then I figure out where I want it to be on my body. I clean that place with alcohol pad, let it dry and then pull the paper off the adhesive tape (like you would a band-aid). The tape covers the bottom and sides of the Pod. It does not look like near enough tape to hold it on for 3-days, but it sticks well, so far.

Now, I can activate it. The PDM sends the information we programmed to the Pod. When that is accomplished the PDM tells me to hit “start” and the Pod will inject a needle with a cannula under my skin then pull the needle back, leaving the tube in. The injecting takes a few seconds to begin after pushing “start.”

This is the worse part. Waiting to be punctured. You know it’s going to happen, but since you are not doing it yourself, you don’t know exactly when it will go off.  Even though you are expecting it to happen, when it does happen it surprises you.

Yesterday, I squealed and jumped – almost falling over.  I got lucky and it didn’t hit a nerve, so the pain was nearly non-existent. I hope I get used to this step quickly!  I will be changing the Pod on Friday by myself. In fact, Maureen told me to “play” with and get to know the PDM. It has several menus and functions. Some I will use a lot, and some infrequently.

She will be teaching an in-depth class for two mornings next week. It’s then that I will go “live” with real insulin. God help me. So the more I “play” the more confident I will be when this happens. At least that’s what Maureen told me. Why would she lie?

Yes, this whole thing makes me nervous.

The Personal Diabetes Manager (PDM) is the “brains” for the Pod. (Shown below) It does the dose calculations after I give it my blood glucose level, and the amount of carbs I plan to eat for my meal/snack.  It shows me the values and asks me if I want that dose to be delivered. I tell it yes or no. I can edit the value the PDM suggests if I need to. I can’t enter special info to influence the calculation, such as, if I’m stressing out, and my blood glucose (BG) is going through the roof, no matter what I’m eating, I can increase the dose to cover it.

PDM-ZoomedOutMy PDM is displaying my current status when photo was taken. This means the time of the last BG test, meal insulin dose, and the insulin “on board.”  It also keeps track of when I will need to change the Pod unit.

In 3-days I have to deactivate the one I’m wearing now, and activate a new one in a different site than the previous one. I will just dispose of the old one. That blows my mind. The Pods are tossed away! They expire (no longer work) after 72-hours. This seemed very wasteful to me until I learned that the insulin being body temperature will start to “go bad” and not be dependable anymore. Then there is the need to give the skin a break from the injection site and adhesive, but putting a new Pod in a different place.  The PDM is really my pump. It controls the Pod via Bluetooth.

Basically, I have a remote-controlled pancreas now. How weird is that?  I’m already writing a list of things that will make my life easier using my little friend. Hubby has “homework” also. He is checking to make sure that I remember to take my real insulin injections. Very important job!

TTFN,  (Ta-Ta For Now)


Diabetes: Under Surveillance

One of the first steps toward preparing for the pump* is the 72-hour Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM). On a Monday, I went to my doctor’s office and a sensor was inserted into my abdomen that would take blood glucose readings every 5-minutes. This data would be downloaded when they removed the sensor on Thursday.

Not my stomach, BTW

So, for three days, I had a little plastic pod thing attached to me. It only hurt when the needle inserted the cannula (skinny plastic tubing) under my skin. The needle is removed and the pod is taped tightly so the cannula will not be disturbed. I could go swimming, exercise or anything I wanted to do. Within reason they said. Obviously they don’t know me very well, but I would try to behave myself.

At first, having a foreign object on me felt strange and I was super aware of it being there. Once I got home and doing things around the house, I forgot all about it. I didn’t mind it at all. It made no sounds, I felt no vibrations from it. No pain either. The little pod just hung out with me and took its little samples. Which meant no more Christmas cookie nibbling for me. 😦

It reminded me of those science fiction shows about humans with robotic RoboGma parts. You know, like the bionic woman, but it my case it was closer to Robo Grandma.

I can hear Rod Serling now…   ‘A woman is implanted with a surveillance device – a ‘bug’ if you will, to track the glucose in her bloodstream and send it to her doctor. What she does not know, is that it sends other data to the NSA.’


* Not all health providers have the same rules and requirements, so this procedure may not be required.

photo credit: achadwick

photo credit: pasukaru76 via photopin cc