“You want a pump, don’t you?” Gwen asked me in the hallway outside of her office on Monday afternoon.
“The doctor’s written here in your file that you’ve made up your mind and that you want a pump. Have you picked which one you want?”
I knew which pump I wanted. It’s not like there was a huge choice to pick from, anyhow. I guess I was just a little surprised at how quickly things were moving. I honestly thought that I would have had to justify to Gwen why I wanted the pump.
“Right, I don’t think I have any of the Animas forms left,” Gwen replied as she hurried off towards Reception to retrieve paperwork for the Animas Vibe insulin pump that I’d picked.
We sat down in her office, where I was met with a stack of paperwork. We completed the order form for the pump itself. We completed forms to be sent off to my health insurer, who would be covering the cost of my pump. We completed forms to be signed off by the endo. We completed forms to be sent off to the NDSS, in order for me to be eligible to purchase subsidised pump consumables. We talked through order forms for the consumables that I will need to purchase prior to pump day. And we completed content forms so that everybody has permission to liaise with everybody throughout this whole loooonnnnnng process.
Gwen grabbed her diary from reception, flicking through pages in search of a block of free days for pump fitting. We eventually settled on a Monday and Tuesday in mid May, where I would be hooked up and trained under the supervision of both Gwen and a representative from Animas.
Gwen has been a significant part of my diabetes journey since the day I first walked into her office nearly six years ago. She’s been the one of the few constants I’ve had among an array of rotating diabetes healthcare professionals. I felt as though I owed her an explanation as to where my decision had come from. I felt like I needed to explain to her why I was abandoning the method of injections that she had taught me to do. In some way, I felt as though I needed her stamp of approval in order to move forward with this scary new way of managing my diabetes.
But the words were struggling to escape from my mouth. I was overwhelmed.
“You don’t need to explain it to me,” Gwen said.
“I do. I never made this decision lightly. That’s why I didn’t decide straight away back in November. But injections are a lot of work. I don’t do the same things every day. I don’t eat the same meals every day. I don’t live that regimented lifestyle that seems to produce those good results. I feel like I owe it to myself to give the pump a go. My hba1c has been fluctuating within the range of a point over these last few years, and I’m aiming for it to be more stable and at the lower end of that range.”
But no matter how many words I managed to string together that day, I realised that this wasn’t Gwen’s decision to make. It was mine. It was a decision that I made for my own diabetes, and my own life. It was a decision that I will have to own. Right now, it’s a decision I’m damn well proud of.
Gwen totally respected that this was my own choice to make, and she never once tried to sway me either way. But it was still nice to feel a stamp of approval in her final words.
“I think you’ll enjoy pumping. I think it will give you the edge that you’re looking for.”