FAQs

Question: What's it like to be attached to something all the time?

Answer: Like anything else that is new (wearing a wedding ring, breaking in a new pair of shoes, and carrying a purse), in the beginning, pump wearers notice the pump far more than they do after a month has gone by.  There are times when being connected to an insulin pump is more cumbersome, such as when showering, getting dressed in the morning, or when trying on clothes at a store.  In order to make it easier for pump wearers to handle routine tasks such as these, pump companies have developed the infusion sets that allow the pump wearer to quickly and easily detach from the pump for short periods of time.
 
Question: Does the pump require any special care or maintenance?

Answer: Pumps are designed to be durable and maintenance free.  Pumps have alarms to indicate a need to change batteries and some pumps schedule free technical inspections to ensure continued pump functions.  Pumps should be cleaned off periodically and your pump trainer will indicate how to do this with your pump.  The pumps have multiple built-in safety systems to ensure that you are alerted to a problem should one occur.  Technical support is available 24-hours a day, 7 days per week.
 
Question: What happens if I drop my pump?

Answer: All pumps have been designed to withstand all the normal things that happen in life.  No matter how careful anyone is, occasionally the pump will fall to the floor.  If this happens, you will need to check the pump display and make sure the tubing and reservoir/cartridge are intact.  For the next 24-hours you should pay particular attention to your pump to ensure it is responding to your button presses and displaying the correct information.  Many pumps are water tight or resistant, so if the pump is accidentally dropped in water, all you need to do is dry it off.
 
Question: How do I know if my pump is working?

Answer: The time of day is always displayed on the main pump screen.  This means that the pump is on and delivering the programmed amount.  Rest assured that your insulin pump has multiple built-in safety alarms to alert you if your pump stops delivering insulin, including alarms for low and depleted batteries, empty reservoir, and clogged infusion set
 
Question: What happens if my pump breaks?

Answer: In the event that you suspect something is wrong with your pump, you should call technical support.  If they are unable to resolve the problem by trouble shooting, they will instruct you on how to return your pump for repair.  Your pump trainer will review with you a back-up system for insulin delivery, which may include use of a replacement pump or injecting insulin.  Pump users can expect a high level of performance from their pump, which includes rare technical problems.
 
Question: Can I feel the insertion site?
 
Answer: The insertion site should be completely comfortable.  If you feel the site, you should check it to see if it is red or irritated.  Most infusion sets now come with a removable introducer needle, only a flexible micro-tube is left under the skin.  These infusion sets allow for painless, comfortable delivery even during vigorous activity and exercise
 
Question: Where do I insert infusion set?

Answer: The infusion set can be inserted in the subcutaneous tissue of the abdomen, thigh, hip or arm.  Most people prefer the abdomen because it has the most consistent rate of absorption of insulin.  Usually, women place the infusion site in the lower abdomen, while men chose the upper abdomen.  You may want to experiment to find the most comfortable position.  The important thing is to remember to avoid inserting into bony areas, under belt lines or in other areas where clothing might cause irritation.
 
Question: What happens if I forget how much insulin I programmed?

Answer: The insulin pumps have the ability to display the time, day and amount of insulin given for recent meals and corrections (boluses).  This feature is particularly useful for recording information in your log book and for troubleshooting the causes of unexplained blood glucose readings.
 
Question: What happens if I forget how much insulin I programmed?

Answer: The insulin pumps have the ability to display the time, day and amount of insulin given for recent meals and corrections (boluses).  This feature is particularly useful for recording information in your log book and for troubleshooting the causes of unexplained blood glucose readings.
 
Question: Will my insurance company cover an insulin pump?

Answer: Most insurance companies are aware of the extraordinary findings of the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT), and therefore understand the importance of achieving blood glucose control as close to the normal range as possible in order to prevent the onset and progression of diabetes complications.  Because pumps are only prescribed in response to specific clinical issues (i.e., the inability to safely achieve adequate glycemic control, hypoglycemia during sleep, work/shift schedules that require flexible insulin deliver, etc.), most insurance plans provide reimbursement for insulin pump therapy.  However, because there are so many different insurance companies and because each company can have hundreds of different "plans," the only way to determine for certain that your insurance plan covers insulin pump therapy is to do a "verification."  The pump company you choose will work with you and your insurance company to determine your level of coverage.
 
Question: How do I wear the pump?

Answer: There are almost as many answers to that question as there are pump wearers.  Because the pump is small, it is easy to conceal completely.  You decide where you want to wear it:  in a pocket, tucked into a bra or garter belt, or placed in a case that can be worn on a belt.  Some people prefer to have their pump out where it's easier to get to for programming.  This can be done with a simple belt clip available with the pump, similar to that used on beepers.
 
Question: Where do I put the pump while I sleep?

Answer: The answer to this question is:  "do what works best for you."  Some pump wearers place their pump next to them on the bed, while others leave it on a bedside table.  Many wearers put it in a pocket of their pajamas or under their pillow so they always know where it is.

Question: Can I take a bath?

Answer: Of course!  It's true that the pump is a fairly sensitive instrument and should be protected from being immersed in water.  But there are several easy ways to handle the pump when bathing or showering.  Many pump wearers like to use a disconnect function on the infusion set so that they can easily disconnect from the pump at the infusion site
 
Question: Can I swim?

Answer: Absolutely.  Sunbathe, water ski and play baseball. You name it; some pump wearer has probably already done it.  For swimming, most people use a disconnect infusion set to simply disconnect from the pump temporarily.  For more rugged sports like climbing Mount Everest, sky diving or white-water rafting, it is best to use a protective case that protects the pump from shock and water.  For activities that involve a lot of vigorous contact football, rugby, disconnecting from the pump might be preferable.  During skiing, skating and other winter sports, you will keep the pump under all your layers of clothes where it will be protected and warm so that your insulin won't freeze.
 
Question: Can I travel?

Answer: With an insulin pump, traveling becomes less complicated and more enjoyable.  However, traveling still requires preparation.  Remember to order your supplies in advance and pack plenty of supplies to last you during your trip and to carry emergency supplies for back-up.  Your pump trainer will assist you in identifying the appropriate supplies to pack but may also include:  a letter from your physician that explains the necessity of carrying insulin supplies and equipment; prescription for insulin, both short acting and intermediate or long-acting, according to your physician's instructions; accessible snacks and bottle water; enough blood glucose testing supplies to allow more frequent testing.

Also pack your insulin carefully so that it is not exposed to extreme temperature or temperature changes and always pack your pump supplies in carry-on luggage when traveling by air or train.  Do not pack your supplies in checked luggage.  You will need to adjust your pump's clock when crossing time zones.  Insulin pumps will rarely set off airport metal detectors, so there is no need to remove your pump when passing through airport security.