So a while back the people who make the OmniPod asked me if I would like to contribute to their new blog called Suite D. I said yes, but I had one caveat that I honestly never thought that they would agree to - but they did!
See, Insulet wanted me to write a series of posts about how we use text messaging to manage Arden's type I and I wanted to tell that story here on Arden's Day. My caveat? I get to repost my writing here after it has run on their blog. This is not something that many websites would agree to because they understandably want their content to be fresh and exclusive -- I want to give major kudos to Insulet for agreeing. You may be wondering what I said to get them to allow me to do this... Well, it was simple really. I couldn't write for them and give them my full effort if I felt like my writing was taking something from Arden's Day and taking something from you. I was honored to be asked and I wanted to take the freelance work, but not at the expense of my readers here. So we struck a simple, and I think, very reasonable deal. I get to repost after the piece has been live on their site for at least thirty days. A BIG "way to go!" from me to Insulet for being so cool and blogger friendly! Here's part 1 of my 6 part series on gaining independence through technology.
Part 1: Helping Children with Diabetes Gain Independence
I recall being handed syringes in the hospital and thinking that they seemed so very lightweight. I guess that I had never held one before that day and didn’t know what to expect. They felt flimsy in my hand and I struggled to understand just how these bits of plastic and metal were going to keep my daughter healthy.
That was my perspective only a few days removed from our two-year-old daughter’s type 1 diabetes diagnosis in August of 2006. Today, I realize that if Arden had been diagnosed fifty years earlier those little needles would have likely looked and felt like something from a science fiction movie.
Gaining Independence through an Insulin Pump
The technologies that help to improve the lives of people with type 1 diabetes are nothing short of amazing – and the ways that we use that technology are ever expanding and evolving. I love the idea of utilizing what we have available today to the fullest, but I always keep an eye on the future and wonder where it will take us.
The first time I saw the table full of insulin pump samples at our endocrinologist’s office, the OmniPod insulin pump jumped right out at me. I was first struck of course by the tubeless nature of the device, but quickly, my mind raced with the possibilities of how the manufacturer could continue to adapt and blend advancements, because of its self-contained design. I told my wife, “I like that one. When they improve it we won’t have to wait to benefit.” That’s what I liked most about the OmniPod – it felt like the future and I couldn’t see a limit to the possibilities of where it may go.
Here we are many, many years later and I find myself about to talk to you about technology and how it has improved my daughter’s life – really my family’s life – and given her more independence. But now I’m going to talk about another piece of technology that we all have in our pockets, something that when used correctly will take you to the future and free you from restraint. Let me explain…
Giving Our Children More Freedom with Diabetes
Our children go. They go to school, to their friend’s house, to a movie – they are constantly going. Parents of children with type 1 diabetes are conditioned to fear the feeling of their child’s natural desire to just go. We want our children to have that leisurely feeling of course – that carefree, run-out-the-back-door feeling that we enjoyed as children. I don’t want to think about what could go wrong on a school bus ride. I hate telling my daughter she can’t visit a friend’s house because their parents don’t have a working understanding of diabetes and I am willing to bet that you feel the same.
Freedom and independence for our children with diabetes – but how?
How Technology Can Provide More Independence
Arden was missing class each time she visited the nurse’s office at her school. Before recess, before gym, before lunch, after exercise and every other time diabetes came to call, Arden missed class time. It was only five minutes here and three minutes there, but by the end of the day those minutes added up. After a week, they were hours and by the end of the year, they were days. Days of learning, days of socialization and days of her life – gone.
If only I could just be there, stand in the corner so I could invisibly wander to her desk and oversee her insulin dosing decisions. I just needed to be able to whisper in her ear that she didn’t need all fifteen carbs to correct that low blood glucose. I only needed to be there for a second, just like when she is home with me. Then it hit me… I can be.
Arden was in her bedroom one Saturday afternoon when I needed to know what her blood glucose (BG) was. Instead of walking upstairs I sent her a text message that said, “Test your BG please.” A few moments later I received a return message: “134.” I was with her, but I wasn’t. We were managing her blood glucose with only a momentary pause to her activity; this was the minimal interruption that I dreamed of. If only she could have her phone with her at school…
I’ll be back soon to tell you how I explained to the school what I was planning for her diabetes management, their surprising reply and all the goodness that’s come since.
Please know that I was compensated for my writing in an amount that would be considered standard for freelance blogging. My family pays for Arden's Omnipods with insurance and out of pocket cash. My writing for Insulet has no impact on my opinions or the information that I share here or anywhere online.