On Thursday, my mother-in-law and I went to children's hospital to learn about insulin pumps. We attended the "pre-pump" class which gave a basic overview of four different kinds of pumps. The class is designed to help people decide if an insulin pump is the right choice for their family.
I had done a little bit of research prior to attending the class. I gathered information on pros and cons for each of the pumps that would be covered in class. Aaron & I found a pump that seemed suitable for an active & curious two-year-old boy.
At the class, my mother-in-law and I got to see examples of each pump and learn how each one would be attached to the skin. We learned valuable information via the power point slide show and the pamphlets given in class. One major thing I learned about was how much insulin I'd have to inject into pump every 3rd day when we'd do a site rotation on Michael.
Michael is a little boy and doesn't require much insulin every day. The pump that Aaron & I were interested in the most was actually the pump that allowed the least amount of insulin to be injected before the pump would even work. Still, we'd be throwing away so much insulin every 3rd day. It wasn't economical for us to pursue this route at this time in Michael's life.
When he's older and attending school, he'll need more insulin each day. He'd also be old enough at that time to leave the site location alone and not pull at tubes or pods. We feel at this time that we're going to continue with multiple daily injections.
I did learn more about the continuous glucose monitor (CGM), and this is what we're really interested in at the moment. It's a small sensor that's placed on the back of Michael's arm or tush and it sends a signal to a hand held receiver. This device can detect what the blood glucose level is in Michael's tissue. This would be an enormous help during the night when we'd like to know if his blood sugar is dropping, rising, or holding steady. This would eliminate the need for finger pricks every hour to two hours during the night. We could just look at the hand held receiver and see the trend. Manufacturers recommend that a finger prick always come before a correction. So, if the CGM said that Michael was low, we should get a blood glucose reading via a finger prick before we corrected the low blood sugar with a spoonful of jelly. Likewise if the CGM showed that his blood sugar was high, we should confirm with a finger prick before we administer a dose of insulin. Also we would still have to prick his finger before each meal just to calibrate the CGM and make sure we get an accurate blood sugar reading before we administer any insulin or food. But the pros totally outweigh the cons on this for us. We don't mind pricking his finger to calibrate the CGM, and we don't mind the need for a finger prick before meals. The fact that we could get "an inside look" at his blood sugars and see trends is so worth it. The removal of blood sugar prick every hour overnight when he's sick would be great. We could let him keep sleeping and we could just peek at the hand held receiver to see what his blood sugar was doing.
The CGM would also alarm if Michael got too high or too low. We plan to have the hand held receiver on Michael's nightstand while he sleeps, and we plan to set a baby monitor beside it. The parent unit of the baby monitor would be in our room and we could hear the alarm if it went off overnight during those unexpected lows or highs. This is invaluable.
There were three families in the insulin pump class-- myself and my mother-in-law; a mom, grandma, and thirteen year old boy; and a couple without their daughter there. When the couple without their daughter present was asked how old their daughter was, the mother replied "she's little. She's a baby. She's three." My heart stung a bit. Michael is only two. After chatting with this family a little later on in the class, we discovered that they were diagnosed right before their daughter turned two. It was so nice to meet a family who was in our boat of "child diagnosed under the age of two" and was surviving! At the end of the class, we both realized that insulin pumps weren't for our kids yet and the tiny amount of insulin they received each day. However we both realized that the CGM sounds like a miracle worker and we're both pursuing it. This class was a good experience. The couple applauded us for attending within a year of diagnosis. It was nice to give & receive the knowing smiles that come with having a toddler with type 1.
So although I won't be pursuing an insulin pump for Michael at this age, I will be fighting to get him a CGM.
Until Next Time,
Much Love, Reba