Posted by on Wednesday 2 November 2011

Going blue for WDD and some pumping firsts

As many of you will know, November has been claimed by many Diabetes organisations as a month to raise awareness of the condition. We are marking World Diabetes Day, November 14th 2011 in our own small way by turning our pages blue for the month. All over the internet there are little blue circles appearing - the international symbol for diabetes. Yesterday I caught wind of a brilliant project being organised by Mike Young who runs the 'Diabetes in Spain' website. We are not the only ones, it seems laying claim to the month of November. A creative initiative called 'One Day on Earth' invites people to document their experience of 11-11-11 (the 11th of November 2011) through video or photography. Mike is encouraging those living with, or affected by Diabetes to share what it is like to live alongside the condition with the world by giving their submissions a diabetes twist. If you fancy taking part you can find details of how to sign up here:

In other news...

At the risk of boring you senseless, wittering on about the first few hours of life as an embryonic pumper I can report the following:

First comfy cannula. When I went to see the DSN I was given some 'standard' 9mm Quick-Set cannulas. They seemed comfortable enough, though there was a constant low-level itch. I swapped one for another in case the first had gone in wrong somehow, and it felt pretty much the same. How was I to know how it was supposed to 'feel'? A few forum posts seemed to indicate that being constantly aware of the location of the set was not 'normal'. Last night I swapped the 9mm for a shorter 6mm cannula and bingo! About half an hour after insertion the initial tingly sensation has worn off and I cannot feel anything at all. No tenderness when I poke at the plastic surround on the skin. Nothing. I have not tried other varieties yet, but at least I know I can use these. Great!

First 'free roaming' night. The very first night I popped Artoo in the pocket of my pyjamas. I don't usually wear trousers under the duvet, but instinctively felt some sort of containment was the way to go. It wasn't bad, but my legs got hot and Artoo kept falling out. Last night I initially started with the clip fixed to a loop around my neck (another forum suggestion) but didn't like the sensation of being a bit tangled. Early on in the night I dispensed with the loop/clip and just let Artoo roam free. This was by far the comfiest so far, nestling in the dent in the mattres around waist height. As I turn over from side to side I just locate, grab and shift to the other side in my semi-comatose state.

First public display. I went to the gym for the first time this morning. Something I think every new pumper has to deal with is the attachment thing. How others might perceive you as different, even those you don't know, and whose opinion matters very little to you. I wondered if getting changed in front of others would make me feel a little self-conscious. It's normally fairly empty in the changing rooms when I am there but not today... oh no. The place was packed! Nevertheless when I lifted my shirt and detached Artoo no-one seemed to notice in the slightest. I've decided that since my workouts are usually under an hour I will, at least to begin with, detach Artoo and leave him in the locker while I exercise. I even used the little cannula cap thing this morning. But I'm not sure how long that attention to detail will last. Showered off with no problems... Man! that sticky tape stuff is strong. Buoyed by everyone's complete lack of interest on my way in, I decided to test the waters further as I changed after showering and deliberately struck up a conversation with someone while I primed the tubing and re-connected.

Not even a flicker of an eyebrow.

It seems that pumps, like injections in restaurants are protected by a Douglas Adams 'SEP field'. A cognitive filter which applies almost universally with perhaps the exception of some young children and a handful of adults. Because it is something inexplicable, odd and unexpected most people simply do not see the pump, even when you interact with it, merrily press buttons and make bleepy noises. Their brain edits it out of the visual field because it is Somebody Else's Problem and life is much easier without having to worry about what it is.

So there we go. Artoo and I are off and running. And I can't wait to get cracking with insulin next week.

UPDATE: Pumping for two months - a little bit of everything


  1. Hey Mike, thanks for the kind words. I've also set up a new site to display the photos/images/videos over @ (Sorry for the plug)

    May the force with you and Artoo (Jedi Pump) also!

  2. Yay! Glad to hear it's all going well Mike. And great name for the pump! :-)

  3. Ha ha! This could run and run :) "These are not the carbs you are looking for..."

  4. Love the bit about the SEP field, lol. Glad the 6mm canula is comfy. Think 9mm ones are for peeps with a bit more 'padding' !

  5. SEP field! brilliant! glad you found the 6mm to be better. as for the overnighters, sounds like you found a good solution but just in case, my kid usually wears sports shorts and clips her pump to the waistband or pocket.

  6. I was thinking "SEP"? Glad you explained - when I worked as airline crew SEP stood for Safety Equipment and Procedures - I was trying to apply it here LOL!

  7. Hi Mike, great blog you've got here! Apologies if this comes across as spamming, but I really want to get in touch with people like yourself as I'm a type 1 diabetic myself.

    I'm also a student journalist in my final year of study, and I'm planning to set up a diabetes news website called The Diabetes Chronicle. It is set to launch on December 1st 2011 and needs help from people like yourself to get started! I am eager to find people similar to myself who can help me out with this site, and who would be willing to share their story. I've only had type 1 diabetes for 3 weeks myself and I'm getting by through reading great blogs like your own.

    If you could do me a massive favour, please check out this link:! Maybe you fall into one of the categories listed and can help me out! Thank you for reading, and I hope to hear from you soon.

  8. Hi mike

    I've been on my pump since april and love it, I'm sure by now you have the sleep thing sorted but as someone who also hates wearing pyjamas I thought I'd share my solution. I bought one of the pump sports belts, I have one of the many pump jackets they gave me when starting the pump threaded onto the belt and the pump just gets Clipped round my waist each night. No need for pyjamas and no need to half wake up when you roll around the bed, the pump stays with you. Not the most glamorous of looks but my husband says he doesn't mind :)

    Hope all is going well for you


  9. Thanks Debbie! Reminds me I must write a follow-up post :)