Getting an insulin pump – educating Amy

Pumps: are they any good?

Having been a member of the Twitter diabetes online community (#DOC) for several months now I’ve learned one key thing about pumps: they’re pretty good.
Quotes like “the pump gave me my life back” are commonplace and it’s a rare thing to find someone who started pumping and went back to MDI (multiple daily injections of slow-acting and fast-acting insulin).
So it leaves me with the feeling that a pump is a worthwhile thing.

It’s the child’s decision

To get one thing clear up front, I would never wish to impose an insulin pump on Amy.
She’s 12 years old now, she’s very logical, she can weigh up pros and cons, so she can choose when or if she wants to switch to an insulin pump.
But how would she know whether she feels a pump is for her until she knows the facts about pumps, its good points and its bad?

Sowing the seeds

For many months now I’ve been talking to Amy about pumps, from things I’ve learned from the many #DOC tweeps who are pumping their daily insulin. Giving her the odd quote here and there; showing her the odd picture or two; working into life events which would be easier or quicker if using a pump.
A good example of this is Amy’s lunchtime routine at school: currently she has to do a blood glucose test, enter the carbohydrates she’s about to eat, go into a room/cubicle, prepare her injection, remove the necessary clothing, do the injection and finally it’s time to eat. With a pump she can cut out the requirement to move to another room, there’s no need to prepare the injection, no need to remove clothing, nor do an injection.
If she switched to an Accu-chek Combo pump once she’s entered the carbs into the meter she’ll just need to click a couple of buttons and the insulin will be delivered.
More importantly this will give Amy her lunchtimes back and will mean that’s not missing out on the social side of school.

Held back by fear

So Amy had already started to understand that a pump has many benefits and she wasn’t bothered about wearing the pump 24×7 but one thing however always held Amy back, the fear of needles.
To any people reading who (thank God) don’t have type 1 diabetes I’d just like to say that repeatedly having to stab yourself 10 times a day doesn’t remove your fear of needles.
Amy’s specific worry was about the cannula, not the cannula itself but that it would hurt if someone banged into her.

Asking questions at clinic and fainting – 28th December 2012

Two years after being diagnosed we were at Amy’s quarterly clinic and the Doctor turned to us and asked if we had any questions.
I said “Amy, ask the Doctor about that worry you had about pumps”.
She asked about the cannula and the Doctor said there were many types, some metal, others are like plastic. Amy seemed intrigued.
“Shall I go and get a pump” asked the Doctor as she walked out to get one.
Amy fainted.
After resting for a while we left the clinic and never mentioned anything about pumps for a few weeks.

A more successful question time – 15th March 2013

At the end of the next clinic, after everything had been discussed and checked I hesitantly murmured “Amy, did you want to ask any questions about pumps?”.
She did, the same answer came back about the cannulas.
She didn’t faint.
She asked a few more questions and I discussed the different pumps with the Doctor and the DSN. Things were going well.
As we walked out of the room the DSN got a pump they had and came back to Amy and asked if she’d like to see it.
She said yes.
She didn’t faint. We seemed to be getting somewhere.

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5 Responses to Getting an insulin pump – educating Amy

  1. Maria M says:

    T1D is a process I guess, that’s different for everyone. It’s great that you’re allowing your daughter to make her own decisions. Keep up the good work!!

    • kev says:

      Thanks for commenting Maria. Luckily because of her age and her ability to find the right decision in any given situation I had complete faith that she would choose a pump in the end.

  2. Lydia says:

    The cannula was my biggest fear also. I decided to go on pump theray at 17, I am

  3. Sydney says:

    I’m 21 and have been on the pump since age 11. I have the accu chek spirit combo and I love it. To me it doesn’t hurt anymore than an injection did. If I press down on my site where the cannula is I can’t feel anything at all. The pump has been the best thing that could have happened to me as a diabetic and made me feel a little more normal without the shots.

  4. Shannon says:

    Amy sounds exactly like me! I read it and I was like “This is like my life story!” If she ever wants to talk just ask for my email:)

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