Thursday, June 9, 2011

Diabetes Tip ~ Pump at the Pool?

My pump and the old-school insulated insulin/syringe cases

Supposedly my pump is water-proof but I've heard horror stories of it not being as water-proof as advertised, making me hesitant to even try bathing with it.  My 3 pumps (yes one died and another's demise will be showcased in this post) have never gotten wet just as a precaution.

I figured out a few years ago that I could bolus my hourly basal rate, remove my pump to swim, and return and repeat every hour.  I followed this routine during every visit to the pool and on the first 2 days of our vacation in 2008.  On day 3, I placed my pump in my pool bag like normal and went off to enjoy the lazy river.  When I returned an hour later, the clouds had shifted and my bag was in the sun.  The pump continued to work, until the next morning when it stopped functioning entirely.  Did I mention we were out of town?

It was a HUGE hassle seeing as how I had no long-acting insulin nor any syringes (nor a prescription for either).  Plus, being a weekend, it meant I had to wait until Monday for my new pump to arrive.  Thanks to other people's misfortune's, Animas (the pump company) figured out what likely happened.  The bag created an oven, allowing the pump to be in over 105 degree conditions--it's limit is 104.  Thus, it broke.  In Texas, we OFTEN have days over 100 meaning I'd have to be extra-careful.  That experience TERRIFIED me of the summer months. 

In the past couple of years, I've tried not to spend much time outside in the summer, and when we would go to the pool, I'd just bolus 2 hours worth of my basal rate, leave the pump at home, and hope all would be okay--usually I went low and/or high.  When we went on vacation again last summer, I left the pump in my hotel room and went back every hour to bolus more insulin.

This summer I figured out a trick that I can't believe I never considered before.  I take a small ice chest and keep the pump inside an insulated insulin holder, inside a plastic baggy.  I leave it at the top so it doesn't get too cold (or wet).  I can easily take it out to bolus my basal rate every hour (or whenever necessary).  So far it has worked out great and has helped to prevent the lows and highs I had come to associate with pool time.  I am so relieved to have a better, healthier option!


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