Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Pump Vacation

This summer my family and I took a vacation to Southern California.  We planned to camp on the beach for 8 days and 7 nights.  Every day was spent at the beach, and every night sleeping in a tent.  This is actually a family tradition I've been doing my whole life.  I knew what this kind of trip entailed and I decided that I'd like to go ahead and take a vacation from my pump while camping at the beach.

I spoke with my nurse practitioner at my last appointment a few weeks before my trip about going on a pump vacation.  She wrote down my dosages, my conversion tables, and instructions for switching off of pump and back again.  She gave me samples of insulin pens so I didn't even have to fill a prescription.  I felt perfectly prepared for leaving my pump at home and taking my insulin pens and needles.  

I was really looking forward to going off the pump because everyone needs a break from it now and then.  I also knew that this vacation would be a LOT easier without worrying about my pump, my site, where to clip it while at the beach, changing sites, sand, sun, heat, water, etc. It was also a whole lot less to pack, I realized.  I only took my meter, extra strips, 4 insulin pens, 1 extra vial of insulin, insulin pens, and a few syringes.  Usually I haul insulin vials, infusion sets, reservoirs, setters, test strips, and my meter- lots more bulky.  

We left for California on a Friday night.  On Thursday night, my pump ran out of insulin.  So, I decided then was as good a time as any to turn off the pump and switch to MDI.  I waited for bed-time, took off the pump, turned the batter around, and took a 35 unit injection of Lantus.  Friday morning, my sugar was quite a bit higher than it should have been so the next night I increased to 37 and eventually up to 40.

I quickly realized that the computer at the doctor office had a 1:20 lowering dosage when I usually use 1:33. So, I was coming down too low after corrections.  I adjusted that to 1:33 and it wasn't quite enough so changed to 1:25 and that worked out okay.

My meal dosages were working out okay.  I noticed that I was significantly more aware of my carbohydrate counting and intake, especially at snack-time.  I had purposefully packed some low-carb and no-carb snacks for our trip.  Many of you know about my battles with weight and my attempts at calorie counting and dieting.  On the first of my summer vacations, where I spotted another pumper in the wild, I gained 5 pounds in 3 days.  With this vacation being 8 days, I did NOT want a repeat of our last vacation.  I worried quite a lot about gaining weight and I think that injecting helped me manage my portions and snacking pretty well.  Don't get me wrong, I ate like I was on vacation but I tried to keep it in check.  I also made sure to stay active walking, hiking up the beach stairs, swimming, riding bikes, boogie boarding with the kids, and just chasing the kids around during the day.

Despite all of my efforts, I struggled with SEVERAL high blood sugars.  I saw numbers in the 3 & 4 hundreds every day.  It was frustrating.  I was doing everything I could to get them under control, and keep them there.  But, no matter what I did, they still seemed to be out of control.  Even though it was so nice not WEARING my pump, worrying about a broken belt clip, or where to hook the thing while wearing a swimsuit, I looked forward to coming home and putting my pump back on.

I have to admit though, I wish I had played with the numbers, ratios, and dosages a little more to get it REALLY right before going off.  However, I knew that I had to get my numbers back under control and FAST.  So, the first night I was home, I threw my pump back on and skipped my Lantus dose.  I knew I'd go low during the night.  And I did.  But ever after, my sugars have been much better and I feel oh, so much better too!

I'm not sure what I would do next time.  Maybe I'd try wearing my pump at the beach, maybe I'd try being more aggressive with my insulin pens.  I'm just not really sure.  I suppose I'll cross that bridge when I get there.  I'll weigh my options, perhaps revisit this blog entry, and make a decision.

PS: my first weigh-in post vacation was minus 1.2 pounds.  I couldn't have been more thrilled.

Pump free me teaching my son how to boogie board!

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