My mom likes to joke that there are only two events in my life that cause me to have a major meltdown. The first is when my computer doesn’t work. The second is when my insulin pump breaks. This is what happens when one becomes too dependent on technology.
Now, when I say my insulin pump is “broken,” that can mean one of two things: My infusion set, the technical term for the tubing that connects my pump to my body, is not working, OR my actual insulin pump is not working. The former is not a big deal. Infusion sets break all the freaking time, and while I would prefer that happened a little less often, I can fix it myself in about five minutes. (I replace my infusion set every few days anyway, so I always have the “supplies” on hand, and it’s the same process to replace a broken one as it is to replace it as scheduled.)
But when my actual insulin pump breaks, that is a slightly bigger deal. When this happens, I can’t fix it myself and I won’t have an insulin pump for 1-2 days. Major meltdown ensues.
Today, the power at my office inexplicably went out, and after about seven minutes of waiting, the trainers realized they needed to send us home before anyone fainted from the heat. (It’s a high of 99 degrees Fahrenheit here today. One can only stay inside a windowless, un-air-conditioned room for so long.) I was thrilled, and decided on my way home that I would surprise Adam with a treat – I had been eyeing these Cookies and Cream Cheesecake Bars and we had some Newman-O’s that weren’t getting eaten, so making these seemed like the right thing to do.
I was out walking with Beau and reading over the recipe when I heard the six beeps every pump-wearing diabetic hates. I felt the normal anxiety rise up, and I snapped at Beau to hurry along before realizing that rushing Beau home wasn’t going to make my pump not broken. So I slowed down, enjoyed the rest of our walk, and, once we were home, began the process of calling Minimed, then calling my doctor, then picking up some long-acting insulin, then monitoring my blood sugar like a hawk for the next twenty-four hours. (Not that I don’t monitor my blood sugar pretty closely on a daily basis anyway. I’m a very good diabetic.)
But instead of totally losing my shit, I did this all with a smile and a thought of how grateful I am for the people that work 24/7 to provide pump support to people like my 19 year-old self, whose pump broke at 11 PM on the Saturday night of Memorial Day weekend while vacationing in Myrtle Beach with 16 (drunk) friends. Not only are they available, they are always very calm, reassuring, and talk you through exactly what you need to do, from removing the battery so the beeping will stop to what you need to tell your doctor to how to set up your new pump. (They overnight a new one to you, along with instructions and a pre-paid label to send the broken one back.) Of course, this being the 8th or 9th time I’ve gone through this process, I didn’t need any of these instructions, but still appreciate that they are available.
After hanging up with Minimed, I called my doctor, and got her voicemail. I wasn’t sure she’d be back in the office today, so I hung up and called back, pressing “1″ for “If this is an emergency.” When the woman answered, I immediately said, “I’m sorry if this isn’t an emergency, but my pump is broken and I need some long-acting insulin called into the pharmacy.” The woman assured me that, yes, I had pushed the right button, and connected me with my nurse practitioner, who helped me figure out my “back-up plan.” The office even gave me a sample of the long-acting insulin so I wouldn’t need to pay for it. All in all, a very positive experience.
And through the whole “ordeal,” as my former self would refer to this process, I was calm and joking with the people on the phone. Adam came home in the middle, heard me talking, and asked, “Is your pump broken?” When I nodded yes, I could tell he was surprised (impressed?) that I was not on the floor, tears running down my face, as I kicked my feet in a tantrum.
Growth. Definite growth. Especially because I’m in my super-irritable phase of PMS and I had just been the victim of my biggest pet peeve on the way home. The thing is, as we all know, shit is going to happen. The what and why of what happens, and whether it is a consequence of a poor decision or we are innocent victims are not important; what matters is how we choose to deal. And throwing a tantrum just isn’t as much fun as it was when I was
19 23 12.
And you wanna know a secret? I’m choosing to kind of enjoy it this time. Don’t get me wrong – I love my pump, and am constantly grateful that this technology exists that allows me to lead such a “normal” life (even if it does cause the growth of “fat pads” and occasionally fails – it’s worth it). But for the next twenty-four hours, I’m going to enjoy not being hooked up to anything. It’s sort of freeing.
Just so long as my computer is working.