First Insulin Pump

After 20 years of being a diabetic I have finally made the decision to switch over to a pump - I went with a Medtronic, ordered it today and should be here on Monday. I'm so excited and can't wait to start this journey!  I had to tell everyone here because no one but a diabetic can understand the joy and anticipation of a new pump (especially when it's your first one) and I'm sure you all know what I'm talking about.  Before I start everything I was wondering if anyone had any advice or "words of wisdom" for a first time pump user.  Thanks!

Hello Brian,  I did shots for 29 years before switching.  When the trainer and I first set up the pump I must say it was a little wierd to have the infusion set in place, but the feeling goes away fast.  

I advised the trainer I was not going to start on saline, usually they start you on saline to "practice".

sleeping with the pump is something to get used to, no major isues, it's just a little something you will feel if you roll around alot.  

the first morning you get up and eat breakfast will be a treat, not having to get up to take lantus (or whatever long acting) is a treat.  

my cde/endo were way too conservative at first.  I know darned well what kind of bolus I need in the morning, and it the "bolus wizard" is telling you something stupid - use your judgement.  My first bolus suggestion was something like 3.4 units when I knew the shot should have been more like 6.  

don't get discouraged.  getting your basal rates will take time.  once they are set up you'll feel great, but be prepared for ups and downs at first.  I wasn't happy with my programmed basal rates for more than 6 months.  buy "Pumping Insulin", it's a great book.

cheers and good luck.

I loved my pump! I would say that the most important thing at the beginning is to be patient. It can take a while to get all the levels adjusted and it may feel as though your control has slipped. Don't worry, you will get everything sorted out fairly quickly.

I was really paranoid at first sleeping with it, but had no problems. Again, you will work out what you need. Some folks let it flop around (and they don't pull out the set) while I would always clip it to the neck band of my jammies. I didn't sleep on my stomach so it was no problem.

Best of luck and feel free to ask lots of questions.


Thanks guys I just got everything in the mail today, looking it over as I speak..going to my endo next week for training so hopefully I can read through all the material and get a better idea of what's going on before then.  All in all I'm looking forward to getting it all hooked up.  I know it'll take a lot getting used to something always being attached to me, but I know it'll all be worth it in the end

You'll LOVE the pump.  Even after 10 years I'm still slightly awed when my blood sugar is the same when I wake up as it was when I went to bed.

Joe and Cora gave great advice.  I'd also add to make sure your pump settings are set correctly:

Target blood sugar (mine is 100 instead of having a range)

Carb factor

Correction factor

Insulin duration time

At first when you get the pump it seems overwhelming, especially when you do the first set change on your own.  Just know you'll get through it and if you mess something up it's easy to correct.

For the first few days I tried to eat food that I had accurate carb counts for and avoided the high fat/high carb stuff until I got the pump settings down.  Once you get the basics you can start using dual and square wave boluses for pizza and other more complicated food.

When I first started a pump I was kind of anxious because I felt like I'd forgotten to do a shot.  After so long shooting up it felt weird not to do it.  No one but a diabetic could understand that...

Jenna that's a good idea I didn't even think of it. Today I started wearing my pump attached to my belt to get used to having it there before I have everything all hooked up.  One question I had for Joe (or anyone else who who have any suggestions) was where you place the tubing when you're wearing a button down or polo shirt that you have to tuck in. I would imagine for a regular shirt you can just run the tubing underneath from the pump to the infusion site, but not sure if having the shirt tucked in would pose any problems or be awkward.  At my job I have to dress in pants/belt/nice shirt tucked in so I would also be looking for a way to "hide" the tubing so I can look more professional. Thanks again!

Congrats Brian.

Before you know it, you'll be saying I never want to do shots again. Hiding the tubing will become easy after a while. You may cut holes to hide the tubing. Pockets are a place to start. I eventually just tucked my pump in my pocket. Depending on your pump, and infusion dets, you will have opportunities to try differnt tubing lenghths, ifusion sets. I suggest asking your CDE or pump educator for samples of different lenghths/styles to try. Don't be satisfied until you try different ones. I have found the long tubing works best for me.

Besides hiding your tubing from visual exposure, you must also remember that flayling tubing can, and will most likely get caught on something, and pull out your site,

A couple hints/suggestions;

1) Check your resevoir before leaving on a drive, or going to bed. The warnings can happen when you least want them too. Filling a resevoir in the middle of the nite can interupt the all important sound shut eye.

2) My standard rule is to never leave the house without my supplies. You never know what could happen. Battery, Insulin, Resevoir, 2 Extra Infusion Sets, IV Prep or gorilla snaught, meter and strips, and most important, Glucose tabs or your prefered hypo treatment.

3) CARELINK does wonders for me with the ease of sharing my numbers with my CDE. The download takes only minuites, I can run a multitude of reports, and with a simple e-mail to my CDE, we work through changes together. No more log book!!!

4) I will suggest that you wait a while to start using a CGM. Get all your set-up stuff working first. The CGM is great for me, but I waited almost 8+ years before adding the CGM to my managment.

5) Don't worry about disconnecting for short periods. Showering, swimming. Unless you are a longdistance swimmer or take the super long shower. All will be fine, at least it is for me.

6) My basal rates continuely will need to be tweaked. Changes continue to happen, and I accept those changes, and keep moving forward.

7) Medtronic is the only pump I have used for 10.5 years. The customer service has been good. At times, if you need to call, don't be surprised by having a long wait time. I have always steared clear of the automatic shipment of supplies, something I read a long time ago on a different site.

8) If you are a cat lover, use caution, my cat(s) when they were kittens, all liked to chew on my tubing. Ussually when either napping on the sofa, or in bed. They did grow out of that habbit eventually.

Enough out of me. The best of luck Brian. I am sure you are super excited!!


Since you wear a belt you might try the wrap around leather case.  I'd also recommend getting the belt clip (3rd or 4th item down on this link).  The case that comes with the pump is terrible and the clip on it breaks easily.

Some people cut a small hole in their pant pockets and feed the tubin through there, so it's all under clothes.  Experiement and find what's best for you.

I've used the automatic shipment from Minimed for years and love it.  Only thing you'll have to be aware of is that your doctor needs to verify your pump supply prescription with Minimed annually.  But MM will send you a letter when the deadline gets close.  My previous insurance had me use EdgePark Surgical for pump supplies and it was easier (they kept my credit card on file, instead of billing me for the insurance co-pay like Minimed does), but getting your supplies from Minimed is pretty easy.  And their customer service is great if your pump has technical problems.  

hey Brian, I hated the default clip and use the belt clip.  I use 23" tubing sets, because the 40's are unusually long for me.  So in Kahkis and a dress shirt, pump goes on the belt, tubing pulls straight back and into the pants with no slack, there is enough in the 23" to gop under the tucked in shirt and then to where ever my quick set is.  

since pagers are completely passe, I get questions and comments. when I wear the pump like that but it's never bothered me.

in a suit situation, same gig but I have a black leather holder for the pump, making it into a wideish iPhone looking thing on my belt.  

when I want to actually protect my pump, it goen in the pants pocket, the tubing goes up the pocket under the belt then over the top of the pants hem.  this only exposes 1" or less of tubing, I like the pump with no clip when I am wearing it like this.  I have smacked my pump very hard on the belt clip when I am doing field work that involves climbing, or construction PPE so it works best for me to put it in the pocket when there's harness gear on.  Note - if you are crouched over it is possible to get a "no delivery" alarm if the tubing has a hard kink in it.  no worries, reset the alarme and youre good to go.

as far as suppilies, I carry the minimum.  just a bs tester to work and some carbs.  I travel with a backup tester and infusion sets, when I went to china, I took lantus and syringes with me too... just in case.  cheers and good luck.

I'll definitely try those methods of carrying the pump around with me. Jed, I'll definitely talk to my doctor/pump rep about trying out different tubing lengths to find one that suits me best.  Jenna, I checked out that site and there seems to be some cool stuff on there to look into as well, maybe the leather case that Joe mentioned? Haha I really don't like shopping but am getting excited to shop for new pump supplies!

Another common thing everyone has suggested is cutting a small hole in the pocket to run the tubing through. This will probably be more convenient for me since I'll most likely be carrying the pump in my pocket (never owned a beeper/never got into the whole wearing a beeper or phone on your belt). However, I'd be reluctant to cut a whole in a nice pair or dress pants. But then again, it's just a small hole that no one will even see.

On a side note, I just want to say how relieved I am to be hearing about the experiences of you guys who have been diabetic for so much longer than me.  I know I'm only 23 but have crossed over the 20 year diabetic mark and have been worrying about complications, etc. I'm not calling you guys "old" by any means but you being diabetic for that long and before modern control technologies were in place and are still successfully managing your diabetes after all those years gives me hope for my future.  I'm not sure how much sense that statement makes but hopefully you'll understand what I'm trying to say.  Regardless, thanks for your inspiration and continued support.