Thursday, July 03, 2008

Insulin Pump - A Poem

This is something I wrote in March of 2001 as a college student wearing a Minimed 508. Thought some of you might get a kick out of it.

Insulin Pump
Someone in the U.S. dies every 3 minutes from diabetes and its complications.
- American Diabetes Association

I look down.
Here we go again.

I have to stop whatever I’m doing…immediately.
I go grab my little black bag, set it on my bed.
Run and wash my hands real quick –
a tedious step I really can't skip.

I unzip the bag.
gray button, green button,
go back to unzipping my bag.

I pull out a package with a reservoir syringe in it.
Peel it open hurriedly.
Cycle the syringe.
Set it down for a sec.

I open up the *beeeepbeeeepbeeee(-package-)beeeepbeeeepbeeeep*
with the infusion set tubing in it.
Get out a vial of insulin.
Does this bottle have enough in it?

Back to the reservoir.
I draw in 220units of air and inject it into the vial
and the 220units of liquid come barreling
Bernoulli-style into the syringe.

Several minutes of tapping against the hard plastic
until the top knuckle of my index finger is
bruised from thumping the air bubbles
back into the bottle. Can't have air bubbles.
The bends, you know. Missed doses and such.

Off with the needle now.
Attach the reservoir to the end of the infusion set –
caps to be unscrewed, connections tightened.
Prime a good 20 units through the *BEEPBEEPBEEPBEEPBEEPBEEP*
tube. Load the little injection gun.
I take the old reservoir out of the pump and replace it with the new one.

I unzip my jeans, lift my shirt,
and carefully peel the last three days away
along with some medical tape and a tiny catheter.
For about a minute and a half, I'm free.


I should strip my clothes
and run naked down the sidewalk,
a marionette without strings.


I press the gray button 6 times, the green button,
the up arrow 50 times, yes, 50 times,
the green button, the down arrow 11 times,
the green button.

I watch the tiny droplets drool out of the needle’s tip.
My 90-second vacation's over.
I swab down my abdomen with a sticky IV prep,
choose the spot for my 3-day umbilical cord,
and kiss the lips of my injection gun to my unsuspecting underbelly.


Layers of tape over the newborn hole,
a soft quarter-clockwise turn of the needle hub before I remove it,
leaving a hair of a polyurethane tube
like a straw from my gut to God.

gray button 6 times, green button,
up arrow 5 times, no I said
5 this time, the green button,
the green button again, yes again...

Gather up my now-useless garbage.
Biohazard: do not open.
Dispose of properly.
Zip up. Clothes and case.
Velcro. Clip it back on my jeans.
Another three painless days of life guaranteed.
Small price – five thousand dollars and ten minutes.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

So vividly evocative. Brava!.....