Tools of the Trade

This is my insulin pump. It is an alternative to taking my insulin through multiple daily injections. Instead, the pump pushes insulin through a small plastic tube inserted about a half-inch under my skin. It gives me a varying dose every few minutes all day long and when I push the buttons, it sends extra insulin based on what I eat or my activity level. For comparison, it is shown here next to my phone. I usually carry it tucked in my pocket or clipped (like a cell phone belt clip) somewhere on my clothing.

This is where my infusion set, the plastic tube that provides my insulin, is inserted on my side. I pull it out like a band-aid and insert a new site on either my belly, lower back, or outer thigh every three or four days. If you look to side, you'll see a small red circle from a week-old site change.

This is a bottle of insulin. One bottle lasts about three weeks for me, but everyone's usage varies.

This is how I test my blood sugar. After pricking your finger, you touch the drop of blood to the center of the strip, and it sucks a small amount into the meter for testing. A "normal" reading is 70-120.

In addition to finger-pricking, there is another way we can monitor blood sugar. This is a Continuous Glucose Monitor, or CGM.

It is inserted under the skin, and the needle pulls out, leaving behind a very thin wire. You manually input a current blood sugar reading from finger-pricking, and it then calibrates and begins checking your blood sugar on its own every six minutes. The round white part at the top is a wireless transmitter that, in turn, sends the readings right to my insulin pump, which will beep to alert me if my blood sugar falls below 75 or raises above 150. It requires a new calibration, or finger-prick reading, every six hours so it can stay accurate.

Last, but not least, is my medical identification bracelet. Should I ever pass out, be in a car accident, etc., this will let people know the kind of treatment I need. EMTs and other medical professionals are trained to recognize jewelery like this.