Square wave bolus?, super bolus?, basal rate?.... I need help with some Pump terminology

After 15 years with diabetes I finally decided to get on a pump. My animas ping pump was shipped today. I have the next 3 weeks to check it out and get comfortable before my appointment to learn everything about my new life with the pump.
I’ve been looking into it alot but so far all i have a comfortable understanding of is what a basal rate is. Everything else I’m clueless about.
Can anyone explain to me what a square wave bolus vs. a regular bolus vs. a super bolus etc. is? Thanks!

Regular bolus is when you give all the insulin at once either for a meal or to correct your blood sugar.

Square wave bolus is when you tell your pump to give you a certain amount of insulin over an extended period of time. This is usually used with high fat meals (though I think most people use dual wave bolus rather). For example, you tell the pump to give you two units of insulin over 1 hour. This would be in addition to your basal insulin.

Dual wave bolus is a bolus for meals that can be divided in two parts. One part is given upfront and the rest is given over time (like the square wave bolus). Here’s when I use this:
When I eat pizza, it’s 64g of carbs. For that, I need 5 units of insulin. I used a dual wave bolus and the pump gives me 2.5 units right away and 2.5 units drips in over the next hour. I do this because the pizza digests more slowly and this helps me from going high later. You have to experiment with how long to extend the bolus.

Super bolus is a rather advanced technique. It is when you give some of your basal insulin as a bolus, then turn off the basal insulin in your pump for some time. I would not recommend using this until you have all your pump settings worked out.

I highly, highly recommend the book Pumping Insulin by John Walsh. It was a great resource for me when starting on the pump and it explains everything very clearly!

I agree with Kristin, Pumping Insulin is an excellent book. It has lots of details about how to effectively use a pump, plus a variety of tricks.

Ditto what everyone else said. It can be overwhelming at first, but trust me, it will be like brushing your teeth after awhile! Your trainer will help you with the basics, but typically not so helpful with the square waves. Those numbers really depend on the person, so you might have to play around with those numbers (time and percentages) until you find what works for you, and then write them down (ie, pizza, 60/40% over 2 hours). You can always come back here and ask for what works for others when you’re ready to do it. As for the super bolus, like Kristin said, I would wait on that one. Your doctor should help you convert your shots to basal rates. Again, that will take you awhile to work out, and you will forever be “tweaking” them. Best of luck! I have been pumping for about 12 years now, the last 2 on my ping. Love the remote!

Hi Kathy,

I just started my pump about 10 days ago after nearly forty years of shots. Once the initial headaches got ironed out, I am really happy with it. I still have a long way to go on fine-tuning tho, but it keeps getting better as I begin to trust it more and more. I’ve been blogging about my experiences over on my page.

The Walsh book is very good and also your CDE will be immensely helpful in getting you going and training you on the different techniques, My CDE and I have discussed the different type of boluses, but I haven’t used them yet because we’re still getting things dialed in.

Good Luck!