We've come a long way when it comes to changing my son's insulin pump inset. That's the connection point from the pump to his body and we have to change it every three days. Sort of like a more mild, shallow version of a shunt - better explained here. It's like giving him a shot every three days.
A lot of people use a numbing cream, like Lidocain, so it doesn't hurt going in. On the advice of our diabetes educator, we didn't use the cream at first. You have to leave the cream on for at least an hour and it just seemed like a lot for something that (we were told) wouldn't hurt that much. Truly, it seemed like a good idea at the time. Benny hated the button (as we call it) but right after it was on him, it didn't hurt at all. We thought he'd just get used to it.
He didn't and It was awful. We basically held him tight and popped the button on for the first year. That's not too hard with a two year old, but as he got bigger, it got tougher. And it was just heartbreaking. I spent about the next six months trying to convince him that the cream wouldn't hurt. He wouldn't even let me put it on his skin. Finally, one day, don't ask me why, he let me use the Lidocaine. What a difference.
Benny still doesn't like when it's time to change the button. He'll ask for one more story, one more TV show, anything to stall. But it is night and day compared to our experience before. We do all sorts of silly things to make it easier and distract him. His favorite right now is having Slade hold him upside down while I pop the button on.
Recently, though, Slade wasn't around and it was button day. I reminded Benny that upside down button placement is not a one-person job. He said, let's have Elmo do it.
Benny's always loved his stuffed animals. When we first got his pump, his Mickey Mouse doll wore one too. Elmo is his favorite now and he's been helping us with diabetes for a while. You see, sometimes Elmo has diabetes too and Benny has to check Elmo's blood sugar. He gets a pretend juice box if he's low, insulin if he's high. Benny will put a button on him and talk to him about diabetes. It's great.
I wasn't quite sure how we were going to have Elmo help us out here, but I was willing to try. As usual, my kids showed me the way. Lea came in to see what was going on and she decided we'd play "Elmo says." She held Elmo and had him tell us what to do. Put your hand on your head. Hop on one foot. Let Mommy put your button on. And it worked! Yay, Elmo (and Lea)!
The only time Benny complains about having diabetes is when we change his inset. I think he's a pretty cool customer with all the finger pricks and glucose checks, especialy for a four year old. But if we can get this button thing a little less stressful for him, I think it will be so much better in the long run. We may feel a little silly playing Elmo says every three days, but if it works, bring on the silly.