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[IPk] The pump & hypo awareness
Having seen much regarding chips and restoration of hypo awareness I relate
to what the pump achieved for me.
First I note an incident, when aged 10-12 at Kings hospital, a nurse came
running into the waiting area (looking around the floor) asking for me. I
had been doing a crossword and when I told her who I was she told me to go
away, because I could not be myself and would not be in a condition whereby
I was able to speak. The reason for this was that my BG was 23 (in the days
when Britain used the same units as the rest of the world) ie. 1.3mmol/l.
Due to there being no form of home blood sugar testing until the mid/late
70s the only form of control was urine testing, with Clinitest. Good
control amounted to no sugar in the urine (blue clinitests), the only
problem with this was that "blue" could amount to any BG from 7 to zero.
The result of "good control" was a life with many low BGs and an increased
number of hypos. As a result my hypo-awareness had been completely removed
by the time I went to university (with severe results).
Within a few months of using a pump my health had improved vastly, as
others kept telling me how well I looked. After about two years I realised
that for the first time since early childhood I was aware of low BGs,
before becoming hypo. ie. my hypo awareness had returned. I also note that
the warning signals were very different from those in early life. I suspect
that the speed of return of hypo awareness depends upon how long they have
been lost. This ties up with the research work done by Stephanie Amiel at
In answer to Elizabeth's question about being able to maintain control
without some regular (small) hypos I note that for a period of 8-9 years
(after being on a pump for 5 years initially) I only encountered one hypo.
Since then hypos have become more frequent again. This experience causes me
concern about the body's ability to overcome anything alien. While people
may be well controlled on one (MDI) regime for some time, this control
usually begins to fail later. I believe from my own experience the same
may(?) be true for the pump, although it would seem that the period of time
is very much longer (15+ years). There has been no controlled research to
discover the truth or otherwise of this assertion but if it is true it
worries me that there is such keenness to put children on pumps, at early
ages (other than within research), because if true it would mean that
control begins to go wrong at just the wrong time in life (late teens -
Whatever this may be irrelevant if medical advances continue, as within the
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