Thursday, July 9, 2009

Love/Hate relationship

Diabetes technology is a wonderful thing. Had my daughter been diagnosed 40 years ago instead of 4, we wouldn't have home blood glucometers that give a readout in 5 seconds using the tiniest drop of blood. We wouldn't have a blood ketone meter that tells in a half a minute whether or not she is in danger of developing diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), which can be fatal. We wouldn't have a pump, a CGM, rapid-acting insulin, carb counts on all the food she eats, or the wide variety of sugar-free products that are available to us today. Not sure, but we might not have even had disposable needles - the idea of sharpening a needle after boiling the syringes on the stove pretty much turns my stomach. (If she was born 40 years ago, she wouldn't be my daughter, either, but that's beside the point.)

The downside to all this is that all this technology takes time and effort and brainpower that I often don't have to spare in order to keep it working. I LOOOOOOVVVVEEEE having the continuous glucose monitor that reads her blood glucose levels every 5 minutes. OK, for the purists out there, it reads interstitial fluids rather than blood, but it still tells me where she is and if she's trending up, down, or relatively stable. FABULOUS information that is available with the push of a couple of buttons rather than a finger poke every 5 minutes.

Downside 1 - batteries. Tonight, I used up the last 3 button batteries I had trying to get a new CGM sensor and transmitter to talk to each other - a new battery comes in each box, but that doesn't mean that it's a new battery that is fully charged! After 30 minutes of sweating and swapping and praying that the last one would work, I heard the lovely little "BEEEEEEP" and saw the "New Sensor Detected" message I had been trying to find. Now, the 10 hour wait for calibration begins...which is a whole 'nother downside for a different day.

Downside 2 - carrying all this stuff around. The pump is tethered to her body by the tubing of the infusion set. This doesn't mean that it stays put, though - I just watched her stand up and screech because the pump fell towards the floor, yanking on said infusion set....OUCH. No pockets means nowhere to put the pump, the CGM receiver (which is not tiny, either), the lancing device and the test strips, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

Downside 3 - she hates all this stuff. HATES it. She doesn't want to go back to shots, because I've given her the option, but having multiple pieces of equipment to carry around with her is terribly annoying. She LIKES not having to poke her finger 10 times a day or more, but the need to drag everything with her really ticks her off sometimes. Understandably, of course. Who wants to be tied to a couple of remote controls constantly?

Shortly after M was diagnosed, we went to a research presentation and heard a local doctor speak about putting kids on pumps. His idea was to incorporate the insulin pump into a cell phone/MP3 player. He said that would guarantee that EVERY teen would want one, and I think he is correct! If only there was an iPod/Phone/Pump wouldn't take care of the battery issue, but integrating EVERYTHING into one easy to carry unit would sure be a step in the right direction!


  1. "No pockets means nowhere to put the pump, the CGM receiver (which is not tiny, either), the lancing device and the test strips, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera."

    I'm only a Type 2 diabetic, so this isn't an issue for me, and I don't even know if outfits with inner pockets are easily available.

    However, on another blog yesterday, I read a post by a mother who made outfits with inner pockets for her child, and then turned that into a business.

    As they say, necessity is the mother of invention.

    In her case, the mother was necessarily an inventor.

  2. Jim, if my daughter wasn't a fashion-conscious 12 year old, I'd do that (or buy them rather than make myself)...however, if I show any interest whatsoever in any particular garment, it is immediately dubbed "dorky" and rejected. Preteens, or at least my preteen, are insanely picky - but I appreciate the suggestion. At this point, I just encourage her to find clothing when we shop that not only meets her fashion "sense", my criteria for modesty and age-appropriateness, but also has pockets. This is not an easy task given the state of young girls' clothing these days.

    BTW, I wouldn't say "only a Type 2" - diabetes sucks, no matter what type you have. Type 1 and Type 2 are a couple of very different critters, but they both suck. IMO, anyhow. :)


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