Friday, February 6, 2009

Insulin Pump

I've had several people ask me lately, "How does the pump work?" So I thought I'd do a post for those that are still unsure about how the pump will work for Kacey. I just spoke with Kacey when she called me at lunchtime and she was so excited about showing off her "make believe pump" and new site. She said all her friends told her they thought it was "cool". Her teacher let her show the class the site and how it disconnects. I know I've said this before, but I'm so very thankful to have such a wonderful, caring and involved teacher like Mrs. M. She's really made an impact on Kacey's life and when you have a teacher like that, you remember that teacher years down the road. Mrs. M was excited to hear all about what we learned last night. I even offered for her to borrow the CD that came with the Cozmo packet and she gladly accepted. She's also said she'd like to attend the 3hr pump class once we get Kacey's pump.
As some of you already know, we have officially decided to choose the Cozmo insulin pump. You can read all about this pump at to get a better understanding of how it works and the wonderful features it has.

The pump is a plastic case that's about the size of a deck of cards or small cell phone. It contains a reservoir that holds several days worth of insulin, a tiny battery-operated pump, and a computer chip regulating how much insulin is pumped. The infusion set is a thin plastic tube with a fine needle at the end. It carries the insulin from the pump to the site of infusion beneath your skin. It delivers insulin in two ways: continuously at a low dose and rapidly in a larger dose. The low dose is delivered every few minutes (3 minutes for the Cozmo pump) 24 hours a day to maintain a "basal" level of insulin, just like the pancreas does in people without diabetes. The larger dose, or "bolus" doses are given before meals. With the press of a button, you program how much additional insulin the pump is to release, depending on results of blood sugar and the amount of food you intend to eat. Your body is unique so you must work very closely with your doctor to get the doses just right for you. The Cozmo pump also has the glucose meter that attaches to the back of it. Kacey will never be without her meter again.

Most people quickly adapt to wearing a pump. When the infusion set is properly inserted and the skin at the site is not irritated, you should not be aware of your pump. The most common infusion site is the tummy but you can also use the hips, thighs and arms...basically the same places you use for injections. The tubing comes in lengths long enough to allow you to put the pump in your pocket or clip it on your belt. You can even get the tubing long enough to stash the pump safely in your sock. The infusion set should be changed every 3 days to avoid infection at the site area.

The Cozmo pump is waterproof but it can be put in protective cases during sports. Some pumps have a quick-release device for temporary detachment. Most patients feel that the adjustments they have to make are minor and that having their diabetes well controlled makes the effort worthwhile.

Insulin pumps have been available since 1979. They have become very popular over the past several years because of their convenience, flexibility, and ease of use. The insulin pump isn’t for everyone though. You must be willing to check your blood sugar at least four to six times a day, before each meal and before bed and remember to bolus every time before eating. Insulin pump users must also know how to count carbohydrates and should have their diabetes in control before starting the pump.


Molly said...

I've been using a pump for the last 15 years. Back then, there were only two choices--minimed and disetronic. I used a disetronic first, (for about 6 years) then switched to a Cozmo. It's a great pump and I really like it.

Pumping has its share of problems--site kinks/infections, adhesive issues (getting sites to stick in hot, summer weather) and technology glitches. BUT... I would NEVER go back to shots. I feel crippled without my Cozmo.

Congrats, Kacey. Be patient with the start up. You're going to love it.

Shannon said...

WOW! I am learning so much from you. We have an appointment with our endo on Thursday. Since we have medicaid now we are hoping to get Brook on a pump soon. Who knows when it actually will be though!

Btw, I tagged you on my blog. I hope you can find time to do it! :)

Jill said...

Thanks Molly! :) I have a feeling that once we take the "make believe" pump off tomorrow that she is going to feel lost without having something on her side. I have a great feeling she will adjust really fast. She was out riding her bike earlier since we have some good weather and she shifted that "make believe" pump to her side and hopped right on with no complaints. Her site still looks great considering it's in new territory and she hasn't complained once :)

Shannon~ Good luck getting the pump! We've been waiting a longgggg 6 months for it and I'm so glad it's finally here :)