Tuesday 6 December 2011

How quickly we adapt

Have you seen that John Lewis Christmas advert on TV at the moment, where the doe-eyed little boy is counting the minutes to Christmas, apparently desperate to open his presents, only for us to discover that truly he just wants to give his own lovingly wrapped, crinkled and adorably wonky present to his parents?

Well, in a weird, completely different and only very tenuously related way, it reminds of when I first went on a pump. More specifically, when I first had to change a cannula. Why? Because when I first attached for the first time in January 2010, I was acutely aware of everything about the pump. The pump itself, heavy feeling and enormous. The tubing, which I tucked away as neatly as possible and found myself being somehow telepathically aware of its positioning at all times and most of all, I was aware of the cannula.

"Where is it?"

"Did I just knock it?"

"Has it come out?"

"Should it feel this, well, invisible?"

I knew the exact hour and minute when it needed changing; three days after first putting it on. Of course I couldn't last the full 72 hours,what with me having the patience of a chocoholic in a Lindor factory and vaguely recall removing it at about 2.5 days.

What a difference two years make. Nowadays I have the once clumsy and fiddly process down to about 10.5 seconds flat, need to give it no second thought and funnily enough, if I don't set my alarm on my phone to tell me when to change, can easily go a day or two longer before my immune system and blood glucose tells me it has outstayed its welcome.

I guess it shows how easily we adapt to new situations and also how we also get excited about the silly little things. I suppose it was also the first 'big' challenge I had as a pumper. Could I change the cannula? Would I do it right? Would it hurt? I still remember the questions. The biggest one at the time still being, will this work for me? After all, without successful cannula changes, the pump was a no-go track. Every time I see that advert I think of my own excitement, anticipation and wonky attempt at changing those first few cannulas.

Turns out it was one of the most simple aspects of being on a pump and I had nothing to worry about.


  1. Interesting, I haven't thought about when I first got my pump in a while...I remember sleeping was impossible. Now it only wakes me up ocassionally.I prefer the longer tubing so I can put it far away from me :)

  2. Adaption is indeed the art of diabetes... way to go on that! And congrats on navigating the pumping world since you jumped on the fun ride. Thanks for the post.

  3. I've never been able to watch that John Lewis advert properly since Charlie Brooker in his Guardian column said the box the child delightedly presents to his parents actually contains the family Labrador's severed head. It changes the atmosphere of the advert somewhat...

    Anyway, I agree - I do set changes now in 11 seconds flat and don't give them a moment's notice. The first one took half an hour and three instruction books!

  4. Tim, haha what a wonderfully morbid comment to make in a Guardian column. I too have now had this ruined for me. Thanks ever so :)

    DL, I prefer longer tubing too, although oddly enough always clip it to my PJs as I toss and turn a lot at night and when I have tried to sleep with it under a pillow/on a nightstand I have woken myself up by pulling on my own tubing - and cannula - because I have inadvertently wrapped it around myself.

    Michael, Thanks! Adapting to diabetes was a lot harder, so I guess each little adaption since has been a bit easier!


  5. Being on MDI, some the various aspects of the pump scare me a little.. :D So it's lovely to see how well you're getting on with it all!

  6. My hubby has adapted, too. He is so (ridiculously) squeamish he couldn't even touch my pump on the first day. Now, he can even do the Aviva Combo blood test bits and deliver a correction bolus for me, although I prefer to do my own lancing...

  7. Emma, if you have any questions at all I am trying to set up a blog email address so that I can talk to people 'off-record'. If you want a chat some time I am more than happy to answer questions, the good and bad.

    Lesley, I know isn't it great. So in a way, your pump has helped M overcome a huge fear! I think that means thanks are in order :p