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3. Twenty Years of Pumping

Having just moved a short while ago and having uncovered lots of papers and manuals that I thought were long gone I have to comment on this thread:

Pumping 20 years ago was attachment to a LARGE box (try about twice the current pump size in EACH dimension, but I'll get the figures in the next day or so).

At the time I went on it I was blind in both eyes from retinopathy. The doctors gave me no hope for seeing again (as one eye bled over the optic nerve and the other over the macula) and they were giving me time lines on kidney and other failures.

At that point my doctor offered me the insulin pump since nothing I was doing was working (I was already on six shots a day with blood testing, I started that route even before I lost vision).

I have to say that attachment to the pump is something one must get used to (constantly). After 11 years of pumping (and about that many different pumps) I got married to a wonderful lady who wanted to know if this box was 'coming to bed with us' (proving that long term diabetes even with some history of complications was not a deterrent to long term commitment).

I find it very hard to understand those who complain about attachment to the pump. One is attached to the meter full time to keep sugars straight and attached to the syringes or pen to be able to keep said sugar straight. The pump is just a much easier delivery system that also brings LOTS of advantages along with it.

Is it a box that's there all the time?? Yes: I remember one of the other people who started on the pump around when I did quit after two and a half years because he couldn't handle being connected full time. He had survived a heart attack a year previous and his doctor said it was only the pump that had been able to see him through the recovery. And he still quit.

I guess a person has to make up their own mind whether a shot at long term health and better daily control is worth connection to a machine (which is getting better every 18 months (about the cycle of the pump companies to introduce new models it seems). It is about being connected with this group of people who are always here and always helpful (albeit too much at times) and always willing to help straighten out problems, whether for someone investigating pump use or a newbie or a pump dinosaur (yes, I've had some things straightened out by comments and people on this list).

I'm more than happy to correspond with anyone considering a pump or having second (or third or fifteenth) thoughts about it. I know childhood and teenage diabetes too well (I started at age two) and was on shots the first 20 years.

Now having completed 20 years pumping I don't even consider going back. I've kept my old pumps (and used one recently) in case of problems with my current one.

--Yerachmiel Altman

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