It has been six months since Arden made the switch to the OmniPod insulin pump. The move to a pump has had many benefits, including lower A1C, a steading of her overnight BG readings and of course the disappearance of multiple daily injections. But there is another benefit that I have recently become aware of... We have less stress.
When Arden was diagnosed we did what any of you would do, we followed directions. We learned how to give an injection and we gave them everyday, most days eight times or more. I didn’t realize then what I can see now. Being thrust into a life or death situation takes away the luxury of contemplation. I imagine being drafted to fight is similar in that you are handed a gun, taught too briefly how and when to use it and then thrown into the fray. If you dare take the time to question what you’ve been told... you’re dead.
Similarly, we gave Arden her shots. Two in the morning when she got out of bed. Another three hours later, then at 2pm, 4pm, 6:30 and two before bed. Eight times a day we stuck a needle into Arden, my best estimate is that she was stuck six thousand times in the first two years. I can tell you now what I could not perhaps for my own sanity have admitted then. It broke my heart every time. I probably gave 90% of those injections and the experience has left me with an indescribably feeling in my gut.
Every time Arden eats, drinks, gets into a car, runs, walks, gets quiet, is sad, trips or when it’s just been too long since one of those things has happened, she needs to be accessed. In those moments it’s as if someone whispers over your shoulder, “Arden has diabetes”. When I open my eyes at 4am because I heard a noise outside, my first thought is, “I should check Arden”. When I’m standing in left field watching Cole play baseball and Arden runs over to ask for a dollar... I hear the whisper. As oppressive as this fact of our life is, it was compounded by the injections. Because after all of the waiting, checking, testing and worrying I had to take out a vial of insulin. The vial is swabbed with alcohol and the needle is uncapped while the numbers run through your head, “her BG is 189, there is 40 minutes left on the last injection, she wants to eat a hot dog, hot dogs have no carbs but the roll is 23 carbs unless it’s a potato roll and then it’s 26, what if she doesn’t eat the entire hot dog?". Then I hold the vial up to my face and extract the insulin, tap tap on the needle, turn to my baby and jam it into her body. 8 times a day. I can tell you that takes a toll on your soul. I couldn’t say any of this before the OmniPod because admitting it would have taken away my ability to give those injections - but that is all gone now.
Today, we test Arden and tell the pump how many carbs she will eat and then press a button. Arden’s insulin pump didn’t take all of the worry out of diabetes but it has significantly lessened our stress.
Insulin pumps aren’t covered by everyone’s insurance and they are quite expensive. Children who are un or underinsured are incapably of getting the relief that I described here... I have been profoundly impacted by the benefits of insulin pumping and saddened by the fact that they aren’t, because of financial constraints, available to everyone who wants one. I am at the moment not sure how but I want to find a way to change that...
This blog was linked via Twitter and FaceBook on 9/24/11 in response to a conversation that I had with one of the readers. If you are reading it now... it is not been six months since Arden switch from MDI to OmniPod as the blog indicates but over two years.