This week we’re taking Benny to the Carolinas Diabetes Center to learn more about and try an insulin pump. It’s a big step because if he takes to it, it may mean the end of shots for us.
Here’s how an insulin pump works, according to a wonderful website, Children With Diabetes: An insulin pump is a small mechanical device, a little larger than a pager that is worn outside the body, often on a belt or in a pocket. It delivers fast-acting insulin into the body via an infusion set — a thin plastic tube ending in a small, flexible plastic cannula or a very thin needle. You insert the cannula beneath the skin at the infusion site, usually in your abdomen or upper buttocks. You keep the infusion set in place for two to three days (sometimes more), and then move it to a new location. All insulin is delivered through the infusion set.
An insulin pump certainly isn’t a cure, and it doesn’t mean we can stop checking Benny’s blood sugar with those finger pricks. In fact, we may have to check him even more, especially at first. But the big advantage of the pump is that it gives you much better blood sugar control. You can use much smaller and more precise doses and instead of a shot every time Benny eats 15 carbs or more, we’ll be able to just press a button.
They’ve only been recommending pumps for children as young as Benny for a few years. One of the biggest studies on preschoolers was published in 2006.
I’m curious about so many aspects of this. How will he wear it? Most adults I know wear their pumps like a pager, clipped onto a belt or waistband. I’ve seen little kids with a kind of fanny pack to hold it on. I can’t imagine my very active 2 year old will tolerate that – but maybe he will. The infusion site looks sort of like a nicotine patch to me once it’s in. Benny doesn’t even like band-aids (Off, Mommy!) so we’ll see how he takes to that.
I just feel like this would be easier if Benny could really comprehend the advantages of the pump. At two years old, I can’t tell him “no more shots” because he’ll still get one every three days as we change the infusion site. Our Diabetes Educator, Linnet, was very reassuring. She says there are plenty of little kids running around Charlotte with these pumps and it works out just fine.
We think we’ve decided on which brand to use (there are six companies that make different models). We’ll get to see it up close, touch it, press all the buttons and figure out if it’s really the one we want to go with. (It’s not why we chose them but I like their tagline.. “takes a thumpin’ and keeps on pumping.) Our insurance only pays for a new pump once every four years so it’s a big decision we’ll live with until Benny’s six. Six? Now I’m thinking about my little guy going to kindergarten with a pump. That’s a whole other set of worry!