Tuesday was the big day!
Sweetpea was pretty nervous the night before. We tried to keep her mind off of it but she couldn't help but worry. Right before she went to bed, she said to me, "Mommy, I'm not going to worry about it now. I'll worry about it tomorrow." Worrying at 3 years old - definitely my child!
We got up bright and early to head down to the hospital. Mom and Dad went with us so they could learn and occupy Sweetpea during the training. Sweetpea & J were too nervous to eat! Sweetpea even refused to get dressed and insisted on wearing her orange Halloween kitty cat pajamas into the hospital. What a sight!
Training went really well. We got the EMLA cream on her to numb the site. She wants so badly to be involved and do it herself. She ended up with gloves on helping me rub it in! After many hours, we were ready to hook up! After waiting around for 3-4 hours, even Sweetpea was ready to just get it over with!
We took Ruby, Sweetpea's Cabbage Patch kid, with us. Ruby also has diabetes! "We're twins!" Sweetpea says! "I can't believe she has diabetes, too!" Yes, what are the chances? We decided to hook Ruby up to a pump, too. So, we practiced on Ruby! This REALLY helped Sweetpea know what was going to happen and see it before we did it to her. I made Ruby a pump pouch and even a little pump that looks just like Sweetpea's. I'll post some pictures of Ruby and her pump later.
It really went a little better than I expected. Yes, there was crying. Yes, there was panic. Yes, she had to be held down. BUT - up until just a few weeks ago, this is what we dealt with at every shot. So, we're used to it. The actual insertion went really well! We practiced on fake skin (which Sweetpea thought was really cool) but inserting on fake skin is totally different from inserting into your child who is flopping around like a fish out of water!!
She was thrilled to death to get the pump into her pump pouch and get on with the day!
We went down to the cafeteria to eat. By this time, we were all starving and we wanted to stay close by just in case we had questions. Lunch went well. But the best part was after lunch.
I got the calculator out and was adding up the carbs she ate and was getting ready to do the math when J said, "What are you doing? You don't have to do that any more!" Oh, yeah! We add up the carbs she eats and put that into the pump. Then it does the rest. Awesome.
We put the number of carbs she ate into the pump, pushed a button and....VOILA! Insulin administered! Done!
I seriously thought I might just break down in tears! You have no idea what a totally wonderful moment that was! Pure joy!
Unless your child is diabetic, you might think I'm total basket case for getting emotional over a little mechanical device. I'll try to explain.... In that moment when we entered her carbs in and she got her insulin without needing a shot - it was an overwhelming feeling of freedom. No longer do I have to hurt my child to give her the medicine she needs to stay alive.
You know, words just can't seem to really explain how wonderful it is. It seems I say that a lot - I just can't find the appropriate words to express exactly how I feel. You know diabetes must be pretty powerful if it can leave me speechless multiple times!
It was just all the shots - 5 1/2 months worth of injections. Five times a day. Every day. Over. It's like crossing a finish line. Having a weight removed from your shoulders. The lifting of a black cloud. Priceless.
She slept well with the pump. She loves the pouches and has had no trouble wearing it at all! She is still so excited each time she eats that she does not need a shot! She's just beaming! Yes, priceless.
Today was our first site change. We can go 2 days before we need to change the site. That's a story for another post!
I wanted to give you a little Pump 101. In case you don't know...
An insulin pump is a small device that is about the size of a pager. The insulin is in injected into a cartridge that goes inside of the pump. A small catheter (tubing) goes from the insulin cartridge into a site in her upper butt area. You can also put sites around the stomach, the backs of your arms - any place you could give an injection. The tubing connects to a very small cannula that goes under her skin. The cannula is a very small, flexible, plastic tube that goes under the skin and delivers the insulin. You insert the cannula with a needle that is then removed - leaving just the small, flexible tube under her skin. It is held down with adhesive. Insulin travels from the cartridge, through the tubing and into her body!
What an insulin pump CAN do:
- A pump allows you the freedom of no more injections. The site can be prepped with numbing cream so that needle insertion is totally pain free!
- A pump does not use 24 hour insulin. It uses the fast acting insulin that is delivered around the clock - this is the basal rate. You can adjust the basal rate to increase or decrease at certain times of the day if needed (unlike a shot which is a one time dose).
- A pump allows you to give a dose as small as .02 units. The smallest does available in a syringe is .5. If you are small and need minuscule doses, this is fantastic! It eliminates rounding and allows for a more precise dose to be given.
- Blood sugar is better controlled with a pump. Pumps have shown to decrease the A1c number. A tightly controlled A1c helps to reduce the risk for nasty complications in the future.
- A pump allows you to eat whenever you want - unlike injections where sometimes it is better if you wait or eat at scheduled times. Sweetpea can now have that sucker or cookie at the friend's house!
- A pump eliminates the "did she eat enough to get a shot?" worry. You can give tiny doses so force feeding her is over!
What an insulin pump CAN NOT do:
- It does not check blood sugar. You still have to do finger pricks. In fact, you need to do them more often with a pump.
- It does not mean no more thinking about diabetes 24/7. In some ways, the pump is more complicated than basal/bolus therapy.
- It does not mean you can sleep through the night. In fact, we're back to checking at 12 and 3 am again.
- It does not mean less supplies. I had to clean out another cabinet for all the new stuff.
- It does not mean you don't have to carry around extra stuff.
- It does not mean blood sugar will be stable. Hopefully, it will be more stable than before. But, with diabetes, blood sugar will NEVER just become stable or get regulated and allow you to forget about it. This is a HUGE misconception about diabetes that makes me crazy! I hate it when people ask me if she's stabilized yet. I appreciate the concern and I know that, like I was...oh, 6 months ago...they just don't understand diabetes. BUT - the answer is, "NO. She's not stabilized. And she NEVER will be. Thanks for asking. Yeah, we may a few good weeks here and there but we're in this craziness for the long haul."
- It does not mean you can forget about diabetes.
- It does not mean there will be no more highs and lows.
- It does not mean that you can return to a normal life. "Normal" life ended for us - permanently- on April 27, 2009. The pump will allow us some more freedom and enable her to do more "normal" things. But our life is not back to normal. Never will be. There is nothing normal about having your child hooked up to machine 24/7 that delivers her life-saving medicine. There is nothing normal about all the medical supplies we have - or the fact that we know how to use them. There is nothing normal about the constant worry and fear that your child might die in her sleep or collapse from a hypoglycemic episode. No, the pump does not take that away. I wish it did.
- Finally, the pump is not a cure. It is just a more advanced form of life support.
I'll post a pic of Sweetpea and her pump soon! She does love it so! She named it "Fuzzy". I'm not sure why... it is NOT fuzzy. But, whatever....!
We are thrilled with the pump, too! It is a huge blessing that will help us out in many ways. We are so thankful to have it! We all get so excited at each meal when "medicine time" is now so easy!!
It may not be a cure -but until that day comes, we will be thankful for the blessing of "Fuzzy"! He definitely cost a lot of money, but to us, he's priceless!