Off the Dial

Clean Living

Our recent beach vacation will be fondly remembered for a nice diabetes breakthrough for Benny and a bone-headed move by me. 

We rent a place with a full kitchen and laundry and instead of schlepping full size containers of coffee and detergent we just pour a week's worth into zip-locs.  Since I'm approaching old age, I also took a few days worth of the Benefiber powder I started using last year (it works great, thanks for asking).

When I cleaned up the kitchen and ran the dishwasher I was tempted to try the "Awesome Brand" detergent I found under the sink, but instead used the stuff we brought from home.   The next morning, though, I spotted the bag of dishwasher soap in the laundry room. That didn't make sense.  It also had blue flecks that I hadn't noticed the night before. In fact, the stuff I put in the dishwasher looked a lot like….. oh no.


Detergent on the left – fiber on the right.  I had washed our dishes in taste-free, sugar-free, soluble fiber – and they came out clean!! 

No harm really, but the first thing that went through my head? "It looks just like Skinny and Sweet. Except for the little skull and crossbones on the label." 


I suppose it could have been worse. At least I didn't try to put detergent in my coffee!

Stick To It

I recently wrote about the trouble we have getting Benny's inset to stay on during long periods in the water.  Beach trips and waterparks are a huge headache because he hasn't liked the idea of putting anything over or under the inset to help it stay put.

(An inset is how an insulin pump connects to the body. More on exactly how it works here)

We went to the beach this month and, low and behold, Benny changed his mind! After the inset came off on our first splash through the waves, we picked up some large waterproof band-aids and asked if he'd give it a try. "Sure," we were surprised to hear him say.  Just like that, another milestone reached. I knew it would happen, just never thought it would be so soon after I wrote about it!



We tried two brands (left) and each was fine, but this method is far from perfect.  The band-aid completely covers the inset so we had to remove it to give Benny insulin.  We did about two band-aid changes a day, carefully peeling it off (and holding our breath) while the inset stayed in.

That meant an infusion set change once every three days ( as normal) instead of twice a day, which we've had to do before on these kinds of trips.

Most people in this situation use IV tape and cut a hole in it for the inset. We were given some tape at diagnosis, but since Benny didn't like it, we haven't looked at it since 2007. When we pulled it out before our trip we realized the expiration date is accurate - no sticky four years later!



Thanks for the great suggestions after my original post, including this from Misty of Box of Chocolates.  She found a new kind of tape that comes pre-cut. My health insurance won't pay for that right now; I had to go with the "house brand" from my diabetes supply company. (Their words but don't you love the idea of a "house" brand instead of a generic? Makes me want to order a bottle!)

I'm excited to try the tape so we can give insulin while protecting the inset. I do think the totally band-aid covered site may still be the best idea for the beach - all that sand and salt. It certainly made this trip easier.

All in all, another reminder that as Benny grows and changes, so does his diabetes care and knowledge.  A reminder to be patient, go with the flow and enjoy all these crazy, wonderful times. 


Lea & Benny lead the way to the beach! (click on the picture to enlarge – you can easily see Benny's pump on his waistband)

A Trade-Off at Carowinds

Interesting lesson in trade-offs last weekend at Carowinds.  We always have fun there, but taking a child with type 1 diabetes to an amusement park – with a water park – means you have to plan a little bit more. 

It also means more supplies. In addition to the backup stuff I always bring, I threw extra insets, shots and insulin into another bag, along with a frio (sort of an ice pack). Gotta keep the insulin cool in this hot weather. 

Not very practical to go on rides and schlep all that, along with Benny's pump and meter, so I rented a locker.  I hadn't done that before at Carowinds and it was terrific. Very easy, well worth the rental fee and it was great to walk around carrying nothing but the key holder around my wrist.

Our problem is that Benny's inset often comes out after a long time in the water. The inset is how his insulin pump connects to his body, so it's a big deal.  There are a few ways to help keep it on – move it off his backside (where it rubs on water slides) or put IV tape over or under it for example - but so far he's refused  to try them. Benny is a very compliant kid with a great attitude, so if he says no, when possible, I let it go.

Of course the darn thing came out after an hour in the park.  He got off the slide, reached into his bathing suit and just handed it to me. I knew we were far from finished with the water rides so I decided to just leave it off. No sense putting on a new inset only to have it come right out, but it also meant no insulin.

Meantime, we had a blast. Here's my favorite ride of the day –  Down Under Thunder:

(It's not us in this picture. But you knew that.)

I thought I'd hate this ride, especially after climbing up four stories to get to the top, but it was terrific.  As we stepped into the raft the staffer asked "Who's riding backwards?" Benny yelled, "My Mom!"  

(I don't recommend an online image search for "Down Under Thunder," especially if you're at work. Those Aussies have sort of a different idea of what that term might mean!)

All told, we left out the inset for about 3 1/2 hours, during which we splashed on more rides, ate lunch and braved a few roller coasters. When I finally got the pump back on Benny on our way out of the park, his BG was almost 500.  Of course he wasn't feeling great just then but by the time we got home he was much improved and back in range.

We traded a day of fun for several hours of high blood sugar. Was it the right thing to do? Obviously I think so, but I'm sure some of you are outraged, thinking absolutely not.

One thing I've learned after four and a half years of raising a very young child with diabetes (dx'd at 23 months) is that things change. I'm confident that soon this won't be as much as an issue. Benny will move his inset to his stomach or his leg, he'll be more willing to use IV tape to secure it.  He'll grow up and get more mature, he'll grow up and get more involved in his diabetes.

He'll grow up. Fast. We won't get another chance to make these memories. Kid first, diabetes second when possible.