Our Independence Day
This month marks seven years for us with the Animas insulin pump. I remember joking about July and independence from shots. It had been only six months since we’d found out Benny had type 1 diabetes, but we had done the research and couldn’t wait to switch.
My son was 23 months when he was diagnosed. He weighed 28 pounds. We were all scared. Suddenly we had to poke him with needles, check blood sugar and give injections. There was sweating and crying all around. But we all got used to our new routine and life went on.
His favorite babysitters, his preschool teachers and even his grandparents were nervous, though. Everyone wanted to help but no one wanted to give injections. I truly believe, when push come to shove, each and every one of these people could have given Benny a shot (or, in my parents’ case) jumped in front of a moving train for him. However, I understand that it takes a lot of courage for many people to even be around needles, let alone stick one into a toddler.
An insulin pump is a very complex piece of machinery. There are algorithms, fine- tuned programs, specialized hardware and diagnostics that sweep through every few minutes, every day. But to most people, a pump just looks like a pager with a couple of buttons. It’s not pointy and sharp. And ours plays Fur Elise.
I found that I could more easily leave Benny with caregivers. I still needed to educate quite a bit, explaining carb counting, signs of highs and low, and how to actually use the pump. But no needles. That made a big difference for so many of our helpers.
Our Animas pump made life easier and better in other important ways. The dosing is much more precise than with syringes. I used to say we gave benny “puffs” of insulin, sometimes as little as .25 units. You can’t really do that with a needle or with most pens. The Animas One Touch Ping even has a remote control. He can leave his pump in his pocket and bolus discretely or I can give him insulin from across the room.
Plenty of people have great control and management without an insulin pump. I just know it was the right decision for us so I’m celebrating seven years of our independence this month. Imagine independence from diabetes altogether? Then we’d really see some fireworks!