‘Dumbing Down’ Diabetes

So, how does it work?

The pump does two things. It continuously delivers a rate of insulin in the background to keep me stable. Then I also press a few buttons on the pump to deliver insulin every time I eat. The other end of this line just connects to a little piece of plastic that sits underneath my skin. 

So, do they have to implant it?


And you don’t need to use any needles?


I definitely feel guilty of ‘dumbing down’ my diabetes when I’m trying to explain it to people who don’t have diabetes.

I’m more than happy with this approach. I don’t have to twist my tongue trying to explain the complexities of this freaking condition every time, and those on the receiving end will get my point more easily.

But I guess the one little flaw in this approach is that the people around me will never see just how many decisions go into managing my diabetes each and every day.

Nobody sees the fasting that I have done at all ends of the day in order to ‘test’ the rate of background insulin that the pump infuses into my body every three minutes. Nor all of the decision making that goes into adjusting those background rates of insulin to get them perfect. The same could be said if I were managing on needles.

Nobody sees me searching for the carb counts of different foods on my phone, weighing food items on kitchen scales and doing the maths to come up with a carb count for a meal so that I can tell my pump how much insulin to deliver.

Diabetes needs to be considered in almost every single activity that I undertake, and nobody sees just how heavily all of these decisions weigh on me. It’s hard to separate emotion from the numbers that show up on my blood glucose meter, given they’re a direct result of the decisions I’ve made. A ‘good’ number can totally validate the decision I’ve made, while a ‘bad’ number can make me feel guilty or a failure.

3,099 days with type 1 diabetes might feel remarkable, but the number of decisions I’ve had to make on my own in that time amounts to much, much more than any of these stats could ever show.


  1. Lynda Ledger

    Hi Frank, I really appreciate hearing about your daily challenges with diabetes. It inspires me to do the best I can for my patients; sometimes just listening until we can nut out a way to make things better. Lynda CDE

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