My daughter was 3 years old when she first began wearing her insulin pump. At that time, her TOTAL daily dose of insulin was roughly 6 to 7 units. Now, at age 10, she’s climbed to about 20 units per day.
In one 24 hour period, about half of that tiny drop must be spread out to cover the glucose pumped into her blood stream from the “storage supply” contained in her liver. This is referred to as “basal insulin”. Her Animas OneTouch™ Ping™ insulin pump administers a minuscule basal dose of insulin about every 3 minutes. EVERY. THREE. MINUTES, people. Twenty-four hours a day...every day -- HALF of that little drop!
The other half is used to cover the carbohydrates that she eats or drinks. She can have a full meal PLUS a cupcake with a juice box and it STILL hardly makes a dent in the volume of the drop.
MY brain decides which hour of the day gets what portion of the drop. I decide when to program the pump to give a smidgen more, when to back off, and when to keep things the same. I decide at what times of the day she'll need more of the drop to cover carbohydrate intake, and when she'll need less. I decide how much of that drop will be used to correct a high blood sugar, decreased to accommodate physical activity, and increased to manage growth spurts and illnesses.
I’ve learned that she grows around 3 - 4 am. Her growth hormone is released during the pre-dawn hours, and during those times, her insulin needs skyrocket. For a few days, I'll be increasing the drop -- maybe even giving her plenty more than 20 units...and then, suddenly, it's too much. I'll need to back down. Way down. Maybe even to a few units less. After a few days of that, we'll gradually make our way back to the new drop. After she grows, her insulin needs will increase permanently. Perhaps by such a small amount, you can't even see it with the naked eye.
Can you see what’s at stake here?
If the drop was administered at once, the results could become life threatening. Withholding it could result in the same devastating outcome.
One little drop.
The drop that keeps her alive.
We need the 0.025u/hour basal increment changes the Animas OneTouch™ Ping™ offers. We need the option to program an hour of zero basal into her regular pattern if we decide it’s necessary. We need the security of knowing that her basal infusion will not be interrupted by asudden rainstorm or falling into a swimming pool. We need to know that she can still administer insulin for carbohydrates if her meter remote gets left behind.
Managing the drop requires a level of vigilance many people will never experience. I have entrusted Animas with my daughter’s drop, and look forward to the memories we’ll be making as her drop continues to bloom.