Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Basal & Bolus & Carbs! OH MY!

I have just emerged from the sea of pump information. I spent the last 5 days in and out of different manuals, books, and pamphlets attempting to learn how to use my new Paradigm Insulin Pump.

I first read through all of the manuals on it and took these sweet little tests that I aced! I wonder if mom will give me 10 bucks per “A” like I used to get in grade school? I then read through the book about the Blood Glucose monitor that comes with it and that was interesting. It’s cool because it transmits my blood sugar right to the pump and in case you didn’t know, I am a sucker for technology. I am a total geek so wireless technology makes me smile.

After all of the reading I sat down in front of my PC and went through a CD-Rom with my pump in hand. I got to practice setting Basal rates, Boluses, square wave and dual wave boluses, temporary basals, corrective boluses, and a bunch of other stuff that I cannot even remember! It was very extensive but I think I figured most of it out. I am hoping that I will receive a call from my Medtronic sales dude soon so we can meet up and he can school me some more. All in all, it was very good I just want to keep this ball rolling.

The sort of annoying part of all of this information is that this training included the Continuous Glucose Monitoring System that will be available very soon with this pump. After seeing how it works and how easy it seems, I want one badly! I know that with the dinero I am dishing out for the pump, there is no way I can drop another couple grand on the sensor when it comes out. I can only pray (and believe me I will) that my insurance will hop on the band wagon and cover the sensors too.

I am in desperate need of help when it comes to carb counting. I just cannot get it down. Any tricks or tips you guys can clue me in on? I am just not getting how to figure this out. Maybe I should wait and see what my Endo tells me but you know I want to try and impress him with my knowledge so when he tells me stuff I can just nod my head in approval! Yes, I am not only a geek, I am a dork too! ROCK ON!

Stay tuned y’all! I can see cool stuff coming around the corner for this B.A.D. guy!


LaLa said...

Congrats on choosing to pump!!! I'm a brand-squeaky-clean-new pumper (just started Monday), and I can relate to your eagerness to get started! I "started the ball rolling" in February, but it took until May for my pump to be approved, and it took until this past Monday for me to finally get my pump hooked up. Like you, I did my research :) And I practiced :)

Carb counting can be hard, especially when dealing with foods that don't have a nutritional label! If my carb counting seems off, I start measuring and weighing things so that I'm more certain of the # of carbs I'm eating. Most times when my blood sugars are really high post meal it is because I didn't count my carbs correctly. I don't know if this helps or not, but feel free to post more questions so that I can clarify! :)

Take care!

julia said...

What are you having trouble counting? Serving sizes?

My advice would be to invest in a good digital scale, one that does grams and carbs. Soehlne has a nice one - I think they even have one that will figure out carbs for you, but that one is pricey. You can get a decent digital for about $30 at any kitchen place.

Second, measuring cups are your friend. Use them. I find it helpful to pre-measure snacks into baggies for O. This might work for stuff you bring to snack on at work, if you do that.

Third - It's a wonderful thing and they even have applications you can download to a Palm Pilot and I think to one of those keychain e-storage things.

Hope that answers some of your questions. Ask away about anything - O uses the same pump, so I'm pretty familiar with it.

Kevin said...

A geek AND a dork, huh? Right on!

First, congrats on the pump initiation. I know there's a lot of trepidation about going on one, but once you have, you'll never want to be without it.

I gave this advice to Laura, too, but do ALL the hard work involved with getting your basal rates tested and figuring out your carb ratios.

Basal rate tests involve fasting for periods of time and testing your sugars to make sure your basal insulin rates exactly match the rate at which you liver is dumping glucose into your system. This was the hardest thing for me to do (and I didn't do it until 5 years later on the pump (doh!)). Without the right basal rates, you're always going to be guessing (even more than normal) on the carb counting bit.

For me, I found that eating the same meals, where I could accurately count the carbs really helped me nail down my carb ratios. I know eating the same thing over and over can become very boring, but even if you do it for just a week while your doing your initial testing, it will help tremendously.

Other than that, scales and measuring cups and spoons, and calorie king (I was actually given a small calorie king book from my minimed rep, so you might want to ask yours whether he/she could pony one up for you too) are all great suggestions.

I also use the information I picked up from eating the same thing day-in-and-day-out to help in my guess-work. For example, I know my standard lunch is 70 carbs, so if I'm eating something new, I'll guess whether it is more or less than my standard lunch and then add or subtract from the baseline of 70 carbs.

Other than that, it's trial and error. We're our own lab rats. Have fun experimenting!

Scott K. Johnson said...

What more can I say that all of the above hasn't already said?

Add to the congratulations of course!

Counting food just sucks, but there's no way around it. I still get pissed off about it though. But, there's no way around it.

I have a lot of issues around eating, not all of which are D related. So, I guess in a way, it's helping me deal with some of those things too - instead of eating my way through things trying to escape.

In the wise words of our hero MC Hammer - "It's all good".

Scott K. Johnson said...
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