It’s actually been a year and almost three months since the 12 year old was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. A year and three months of shots, insulin, blood testing and Those Infernal Glucose Test Strips scattered all over the floor.
He swears he puts them in the trash can. But there they are, on the floor, stuck to the bottom of my shoe, under the couch. I have even found them inside my book bags. And of course, as I mentioned in a previous post, once in my salad.
Our floor has also been carpeted this year with the paper seals from insulin pen needle cases, and the little green caps from pen needles (which, just for the record, hurt JUST as bad as a LEGO if you step on them barefoot), and occasionally the needles themselves (I think we have already established that those hurt worse than LEGOS).
We had some real fun back in August, when the 12 year old left his insulin pen in its case on a bench at an outdoor mall, and five minutes later, when he ran back to get it, found the case, but no pen.
At least it didn’t have a needle attached to it, so whoever took it couldn’t have given him or herself a shot, because that could have been really, really bad, if not fatal. But seriously, what kind of person takes an insulin pen that they find on a bench?
A month ago, the 12 year old was finally put on an insulin pump.
<pause for heavenly music and rainbows>
No more pen needles! Only one needle every three days instead of 5-6 shots a day!
The blood testing remains a constant, however, 5-6 times a day. So the Infernal Test Strips are still the bane of my existence.
The pump gives him a steady supply of insulin throughout the day, as well as delivering extra when he reports that he is about the eat carbs, so overall his blood sugars have been much more manageable.
Everything is wonderful.
Well, EXCEPT FOR the times when the pump doesn’t work. It can be bubbles in the tube, or the catheter (infusion set) not being set correctly, but when the pump fails to deliver insulin, it gets very bad, very quickly.
A week after he got the pump, there were bubbles in the delivery tube, which meant he wasn’t actually receiving any insulin. His glucose number was so high then the meter couldn’t read it. That means it was over 600. Normal is 80-150. Very bad, very quickly.
Although we gave him an injection of insulin and brought it down right away, he ended up with such bad stomach cramps at 6 a.m. the next day that I called 911 for the first time ever. By the time the ambulance and paramedics arrived, the stomach cramps had lessened enough that they let us drive him to the ER instead of giving him a $1000 ambulance ride (phew). And by the time we got to the ER the cramps were pretty much gone, so after some tests, they sent us home.
But still, the neighborhood appreciated the excitement early in the morning. I know this because the 8 year old from across the street called me, much to her mother’s chagrin, in the middle of the excitement (no fewer than 9 people in my tiny living room) to ask me why the ambulance was outside our house.
And then there was the other day, when he rolled over in bed at 6 a.m. and knocked the infusion set out of his side, and then shoved it back in (all the nurses reading this scream “Noooo” in unison) and taped it in place with medical tape. He got up at 8:30 a.m. and told me “Oh, Mom, by the way, I don’t have any infusion sets left,” so I called the pharmacy, only to be told us we couldn’t get any more that day because the insurance company wouldn’t pay for more until the following Monday, six days away. Just then he came out of his room and said, “I guess the infusion set isn’t working right after all, so I’m not actually getting any insulin, because I just tested my blood sugar and found it was over 500.” Well, that’s just an example of spectacularly bad, very quickly.
The day was saved by Shelley, our rep with Roche, the pump manufacturer, who drove over here that afternoon, in the RAIN (again, a big deal, here in So Cal this year), to drop off a couple of infusion sets to get us through the next few days. Luckily the 14 year old had just baked some gluten-free cookies and we were able to share some with her.
All this to say, if you are diabetic and are considering a pump, we highly recommend the Accu-Chek Combo System. Especially if you live in Southern California, because then you might get the World’s Best Rep, Shelley, who delivers miracles with or without cookies. 🙂
And that if you do get a pump, check for bubbles in the tube. Often.
And also, that even with a diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes, life goes on. After a while it stops being the “new normal” and just becomes “normal.”
And that life with diabetes is nothing, if not interesting.