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Nurse: You must be Mr. Tristan! It’s nice to meet you.
Me: Yes, this is my husband, Heath.

Heath shook her hand and said his name again. She still called him Keith. That’s life with an unusual name.

I have been wanting Heath to come with me to one of my appointments with my pump nurse. He has been telling me he wants to run Tableau on my data. Today was the day when everyone’s hopes and dreams were realized. We downloaded my pump last night and Heath did some preliminary analysis. I’m so glad I married a data geek. Hopefully it was helpful for him to be at that appointment. He knows my frustrations and he got to hear the nurse’s perspective. Plus, he got to see how she interprets the data.

Things we learned:

  • Fruit snacks aren’t helping me much because they aren’t straight glucose. The fructose in the fruit snacks has a lag time before it turns into glucose and brings up my blood sugar. Huh. Didn’t know. She suggested I eat honey or glucose tabs or something that is straight glucose. Then follow it up with protein and carbs.
  • Amazon gouges diabetics with the cost of their glucose drinks. Glucose tabs are gross. They taste a lot better than the orange flavored chalk we used to have to eat in the 80’s. But they are still sickening sweet and I don’t like them. The drinks are quick and painless and don’t taste too bad. A quick search on Amazon showed that I’m better off checking Target’s shelves. I buy my glucose tabs there so I’m sure they have the drinks.
  • I should use my temporary basal rates a little more often, especially on days where my blood sugar won’t come out of the clouds. I’ve done it before but I could try it more.

When we talked on the phone to set up the appointment, the nurse said she wanted to consider getting me a new pump. That was another reason why I wanted Heath to come with me. I thought it would be a difficult decision. She gave me three brochures for three different pumps. Right away I didn’t like one of them. She had one in her office and I was immediately turned off to the size. I thought it was rather large. I have a hard enough time fitting my pager sized pump under my clothes and in my pockets. This thing was slightly thinner but much wider. She took the case off to prove that it is not much thicker than a credit card. It’s definitely thicker than a credit card.

She told me that the teenagers love that pump because it has a touch screen like an iPhone. That was not a selling point to me either. It has a rechargeable battery. That piqued my interest. Until I learned that it recharges like a cell phone … while I’m still attached to it. Supposedly it doesn’t take too long to charge and it lasts for three days on a charge. Still. I wasn’t convinced that was the most well thought out technology. I can swim with it. Which means I can also shower. Except now that I think about it how would I do that? I don’t know about you but I shower in the buff. I was leaning toward another pump. The only reason being it was not a Medtronic pump. I have never used anything else. Maybe it was time for a change.

When we got home I kept looking at the brochures wondering which was the best option. How could I decide? There was a website that supposedly had testimonials from people who actually use these pumps. They are less likely to give me a sales pitch and more likely to tell me what realistically is a great feature and what is a frustration. I hadn’t gone to the site yet. Being the researcher that he is, Heath pulled up a YouTube video on how to insert the Dexcom CGM (continuous glucose monitor). It was extremely complicated and brought up bad memories. Twice they said I’m supposed to pinch my skin. All I could think of was how I used to pinch my skin to insert an infusion set as if I was giving an injection. I did it in my pump training. The trainer noticed but all he said was it was not a conventional way of doing that.

When I was pregnant with Gavin I had pinched my skin up so much out of fear. I have never liked inserting infusion sets. That time it hurt worse than it had ever hurt before and I was bleeding like crazy. I completely flipped out, convinced the needle had hit the baby. The pain was that deep. Heath called Mini Med and was told I really shouldn’t be pinching my skin to insert an infusion set. The inserter should be rested gently on my flat skin. The guy on the phone didn’t think I had stabbed my baby or even nicked the uterus. It still took quite some time to calm down. Somehow I was able to change my own infusion sets for the rest of the pregnancy. Another bad experience and Heath and I decided I would never do that myself ever again. The panic attacks weren’t worth it.

This was all I could think of watching that video telling me that part of inserting a CGM sensor was to pinch my skin not once, but twice. The other great part was when they said to lift up on something. “You may feel some pressure but continue to pull up all the way.” Um no. That ain’t gonna happen. I am not thrilled with CGM technology as it is. Seeing a video that shows a complicated 15 step process of inserting the stupid thing and full on telling me that sometimes it may be uncomfortable – yeah, I’m not doing that. Forget it. Heath looked a little horrified too.

Next he pulled up a video on how to insert the new Medtronic CGM sensors. It was much easier than the insertion process of the sensors I have now. No weird angles to keep in mind. Certainly no long and painful steps. That sealed the deal. I will be going with another Medtronic pump. I like that it has the thresh suspend feature. If I don’t respond to a low alarm the pump automatically suspends itself for two hours. I have read about this feature from diabetic bloggers. They seem to love the feature. I think it makes a lot of sense. Of course I have to be wearing a CGM sensor in order for that to work but the sensors seem much easier to put in than ever before. Supposedly the lag time between the reading of the interstitial fluid and a finger stick reading is less. I like that. The new pump also comes with a super cute glucometer. It’s so little and cute it looks like a piece of candy.

The other two pump models I was considering had pretty screens with a million buttons. That seemed to be the only thing they had going for them. It’s not a beauty contest, it’s a functionality contest. The other pumps came with glucometers that don’t automatically sync with the pump too. Not a deal breaker for me. I can type in the numbers but it is an extra step. I thought it would be so hard to decide. It seems so easy to just stick with the Medtronic models. Every time I have the opportunity to switch pumps I always end up choosing another Medtronic one. The other pumps don’t seem to offer anything special. At one point I wanted a wireless pump. Only the part that sticks in my body was huge because it has to hold a couple days of insulin. And I would still have to keep a pump on me somewhere within range of the site to control the insulin flow. It felt like too many extra steps that it wasn’t worth the freedom of being tubing free. I would rather be tethered to a pump.

I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing. For some reason that last bout of sickness unplugged my high numbers. My weekly average has come down dramatically. I’m finally seeing some positive results. For now all I can do is still try to bolus early, eat healthier, and continue to exercise. Something has got to work. With Mr. Tristan on my side analyzing my data, maybe I will figure it out. After all, he was the elite tweet today on BYU Sports Nation. He must know something!

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