This weekend my family and I went swimming at my father-in-law’s house. Swimming can be a pain for a pumper, especially when our pump isn’t waterproof (there are some brands that are waterproof, but mine is not.)
I had to take off my pump right before getting into the pool – put it in the shade, because insulin goes bad in the heat – check my bg (167) and then get in the pool. And I had to be aware of how long I’d been in there, without my insulin to cover the lunch I’d just eaten.
While in the pool, I was talking to our 11 year old, E. And we had an interesting conversation about diabetes.
E: How long can you stay in here before you have to get out and put your pump back on?
Me: I’ll get out in about 30ish minutes, so I can check my blood sugar. But I’ll get back in if I’m not too high.
E: Why can’t they just make something that shoots enough insulin in you so you don’t have to wear a pump?
Me: Well… there’s a lot more to it than just “shooting enough insulin.” See.. we all have an organ in our body called a…….
E: Pancreas, I know. Mine works and yours doesn’t. (I’ve taught her well 😉 ) But why can’t they just surgically remove yours if it doesn’t work?
Me: I suppose they could, but that wouldn’t be very good for me. Surgery of any kind is risky and to a diabetic, we have a higher risk of infection. So there is no need to take it out, really. It’s just in there wasting space.
E: So they can’t just put something in there that would give you insulin, so you don’t have to wear a pump anymore?
Me: It’s not that simple. See, your pancreas knows how much insulin to put out to cover any food you eat, or how much not to put out if you aren’t eating. So that’s what my pump does – let’s me manually put in how much I need it to give me. So if ‘they’ just put in a random amount of insulin, it wouldn’t know how much I needed at any given time.
E: So it’s kinda like our pancreas has a brain of it’s own?
Me: Yea, I guess so. But it’s really more that your brain is telling your pancreas how much insulin to release. Crazy, huh?
E: Yea, that is. Why can’t they just find a cure?
That’s the million dollar question, kid.
I did stay in the pool around an hour, checked my bg and I was 205. That is a little high, but not too bad considering I’d eaten lunch right before I took off my pump, and hadn’t had insulin for an hour. All in all, it was a success. We’ll probably go again next weekend, and I may very likely have an entirely different outcome. Rinse and repeat.