Friday, November 17, 2006

Temporary Diabetes


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.

8 comments:

MOM said...

Ahhh haaa. I get to be the first to comment this time. I, her mom, have diabetes, and have had it for about 18 years now. Fortunately, I am still able to be on oral medications. So far have not had to go on to taking insulin. Tracy showed me her "hook-up" and how it all works. It truly is amazing. I just hope I can continue on with my easy to take pills. :0)

Priscilla said...

Wow! That's really something! Medical technology is wonderful. I am thankful that I don't have diabetes. One of my good friends does.

lm1 said...

yes Tracy's mom you truley are amazing, I only wish my in laws did as well as you!

Kate said...

What do the insulin pumps do exactly? I don't understand. My dad has diabetes, and I hope whatever you are doing, works :D

Tracy said...

Kate,

An insulin pump is for people who need to take insulin because their pancreas isn't making any insulin anymore. Some people who have diabetes still have insulin in their bodies and others do not.

An insulin pump takes the place of injections of insulin. Instead of taking shots 4 or more times a day, the tubing from the pump just stays in your skin. Then, when you need some insulin, you get it from the pump instead of having to take a shot. Does that make more sense?

If your dad is just taking pills for his diabetes, then he wouldn't need an insulin pump.

kristina said...

One of my best friends just found out she has diabetes.

Tracy said...

Really? Is she young?

kristina said...

She is the same age as me (35).