One of our big challenges in diabetes care has always been the way Benny's insulin pump connects to his body. It's called an inset and I've described it as looking like a small nicotine patch, with a bump on top. Pictures almost always show it in the stomach. Usually in a thin, gorgeous female stomach like this lovely: Very realistic, right? But that's another blog!
There's a 6mm cannula that extends underneath the skin (more on insets and how they work here). You can't put it near muscle (ouch!) or where there's no body fat (nothing to grab onto). Benny got his "button" at age 2 1/2. At the time, he was about 30 pounds, so his backside was really our only option for inset real estate.
Eventually, you need to rotate around the body or the skin can get irritated. Sure enough, after 4 and a half years, we've started getting some bad spots. Bad news: Benny's been scared to move it. He tells me when he's 10, or a teenager, we can relocate to his stomach. But not now.
As I often do, I turned to Linnet, our diabetes educator, for advice. She suggested that instead of changing the site to his middle, we just inch it up a bit, onto his lower back. And she suggested we bribe him (although she used the word "incentive." She's good).
It's tough to not want to reward Benny for good diabetes care, but we decided that early on. You don't get a gold star for brushing your teeth and I'm not going to buy you a pony for checking blood sugar (even though I really, really want to sometimes). However, this inset-situation just seemed different. Did he need something to just get him over his fears? Slade and I talked it over and decided if he was still nervous about moving the site we would offer a reward for doing so.
I was shocked when he not only said he'd try it, but that he was excited about it. I did the inset change in his sleep – we do about half of them that way now. When he woke up, he didn't notice right away, but was thrilled when he realized what had happened. He talked about it all day! He even said it was a lot more comfortable in the new location. (He also showed all his friends by lifting up his shirt. Since he didn't usually pull his pants down to show where the inset had been, I think they were a little confused. But it was sweet).
It did seem to hurt more coming out, but Benny had no problem letting me put the new site in the same place on his right side. Yes! No "incentive" needed.
So, do me a favor – don't tell him he missed out on a big reward. I promise, I'll take him to the Lego store for his next good report card or keeping his room clean or something. For now, I think it's enough for Benny to realize that at seven years old, he's beating back some pretty big-time fears.
So proud of him.