On Monday of this week, I came down with temporary diabetes. Two of my coworkers and I are wearing insulin pumps for two weeks to learn more about how they work. We are to pretend that we have diabetes, test our blood glucose levels at least four times each day, count all the carbohydrates that we eat and treat them with "insulin". It is actually saline that we are using, so don't worry about me accidentally overdosing myself with insulin.
The three of us who are wearing the pumps do not really have diabetes. We have each been working in the Diabetes Education department for about a year and working towards our certification. We should all be ready to take the certification test about August of next year. Learning to manage patients wearing an insulin pump is a vital part of our jobs and it is the next step in our training. It's very exciting but also a bit intimidating.
BTW, in case you are curious, an insulin pump is a device about the size of a pager. It contains a cartridge that is filled with very quick-acting insulin. The insulin is delivered very slowly all the time to mimic what the pancreas is supposed to do. Then, when you eat or have a high blood glucose reading, the pump calculates (based on the settings that are programmed in) and gives the amount of insulin that is needed as a larger dose. All the insulin is given through a tube that is inserted just under the skin (usually on your abdomen). The tube must be changed every 3 days to avoid getting an infection at the site.
2 days ago