By Amelia Rehrman
Taking a break from your insulin pump can be a great way to refresh your diabetes management and give you a change in routine. I personally used an insulin pump for 12 years without taking a break, and wow that’s a long time to have something attached to you 24/7!
This past May I took a break from my pump for a few weeks and went back to using insulin pens. It was just what I needed to refresh my diabetes management and mindset. My blood sugar was not great on the pens, but when I put my pump back on, I was SO grateful to have a technology that handled a lot of adjustments for me that I couldn’t do manually with the insulin pen.
After deciding I wanted to take a pump break and asking my doctor for a prescription, I had a lot of questions about how to use insulin pens, as I hadn’t used them in so many years.
I tried to search for answers, but I couldn’t find any, so hopefully this can help you if you or your child decide to take a break from your insulin pump for a little while! I’m not an expert on using insulin pens, but I can share what I found from my brief experience.
Some questions I was asking were:
When I inject, do I have to prime the pen?
Yes! I tried to prime the pen with 1-2 units every time. This meant pushing 1-2 units of insulin out of the pen once the pen needle was on, but not yet injected.
How do I store the pen? Do I have to keep it cold?
I was so worried about having to bring the pen everywhere with me and the insulin going bad. After asking around, I decided to just keep it at room temperature and when I was out in the sun all day, I put an ice pack with it. It was completely fine!
How do I calculate how much long-acting insulin I need?
Ask your doctor! My doctor told me to take my daily total of basal in long-acting insulin.
Why is there insulin leaking back out of the site where I injected/how do I prevent this?
Make sure to hold the pen in long enough after you inject so insulin doesn’t leak out of the site. When I first started the pump break,I was removing the pen from the site too quickly after injecting which meant I wasn’t getting the full dose of insulin. I started waiting a few seconds to remove the pen after injecting and it was helpful in making sure I got the full dose!
Overall, the pens were a great way to take a small break from my insulin pump, and I will definitely try this again!