Thursday, July 22nd was a day I had both been anticipating and dreading all summer. This was the day our youngest daughter, Maddie, who was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes on December 7th, of last year, was to go on the pump. We’ve actually had the pump in our possession for over a month in order to learn about it and “use it” with saline instead of insulin as much as possible before it being hooked up to her body. Last Thursday was “hook up” day. We had it on the calendar as Pump Day. Maddie couldn’t wait! To her, it meant the end of shots, the end of Lantus (the more “stingy” of the two kinds of insulin she received), more freedom, more independence, and a cool gadget to wear, just like her 5th grade friend who also has Type 1 Diabetes. “I’m pumped about the pump, mom!” she would say.
I too had some excitement about fewer shots to give (we made it clear to her that there would be times when she would need to have a shot even though she was going on the pump). I too had some excitement about more freedom for her to eat at odd times and to have some special sweets, like birthday cake at a party. I too, in theory, was glad for her to have more control in her diabetes regimen, though we really drilled into her the importance of mom and dad double checking her carb counting and BG levels. I was NOT, however, glad about the idea of her being hooked up to something 24/7. Somehow the thought of my little girl always having tubing coming out of her mid-section, with a small computer device clipped onto her shorts or worn in a pouch, did not seem very “free”. My emotions bounced around from grief to gladness, from resistance to acceptance, from fear to a knowledge that this is really the best way to manage her diabetes. I also know that she, as a child, has a TON more resilience and openness to her new life, than I do. And I did NOT want to infect her with my resistant attitude.
Aside from her almost passing out when the first inset went in at our Diabetic Educator’s office, everything has seemed to go fairly well, considering. SHE is doing great! My husband and I are exhausted from being up round the clock at night to check her blood sugars, trying to remember how to “correct” a blood sugar, how to bolus, what this particular alarm means, how to load the cartridge, prime the tubing, the cannula, etc. On Sunday we successfully inserted inset #2 (it’s an hour and 1/2 long process!!) and things went much better than the first time…I’m hopeful that each time we do this (every three days), it will get better and better. I hope.
On Sunday, in church, Maddie drew this picture and one other she asked I not post. I tried not to show her my teary eyes when I saw them. It is just an expression of what’s on her mind these days. She loves her lime green pump. Yet she doesn’t love calouses on each of her fingers (her other drawing). But she charges on, each day, taking hold of her new life with diabetes, seemingly fearlessly. Her dad and I are SO proud of her. She is brave, responsible, joyful, and beautiful. Her 13 year old brother told her today that he would not be so brave as she, if he had diabetes. I think she really took this to heart…it’s different when someone other than your mom and dad are telling you these things.
If SHE is pumped about the pump…I am gonna be also!!
P.S. To identify for you the objects in her drawing: #1 is the lancet, used to prick her finger for blood sugar testing; #2 (on left) is the bottle of test strips with the code number on it; #2 (on right) is a test strip; #3 is her blood sugar meter with the strip in the bottom and it is registering 158 (a bit on the high side, but we don’t panic with that number:).