Thursday, September 11, 2008

Reflecting and Projecting

It's been nine days and three infusion set changes since Jenna's pump start up and I feel the need to review these past nine days and contemplate what I've learned about pumping insulin.

First, carb counting is definitely one of those things in life that takes practice. A few times this past week we have made some mistakes with our counting and Jenna's blood sugar has gone high as a result. I was using a small pad of paper and pen in the kitchen to document carbs as I prepared Jenna's meals, but I found this to be somewhat frustrating. The pad of paper was in the way and taking up valuable kitchen counter space, when it was present at all. Misplacing it and having to hunt for it often made the difference between a hot meal and a cold, unappetizing one. And all too often food counts were forgotten.

I came up with a solution and promptly made an emergency run to my local office supply store to purchase a little dry erase board that could be mounted to my refrigerator. Here I can jot down the carbs of each food item as I portion them out onto Jenna's plate. The list and the carb values can easily be edited with Jenna's requests for seconds or decisions to eat only a fraction of what I have given her. This has proven to be a far better system with less chance of miscalculation and I have those precious eight or nine square inches of counter space back.

The next thing I have learned is that pizza is no friend to diabetes. Or perhaps I just haven't found out how to handle those pesky pizza carbs just yet given my lack of experience. But one thing's for certain, I'm a little gun-shy of the stuff after a pizza supper resulted in my husband and I tag-teaming our way through a night of every two hour blood sugar checks, ketone checks and correction boluses while we chased a stubborn high. Not fun.

Something else I learned the hard way is never, EVER forget the pre-meal blood sugar check. During my older daughter's birthday party last Sunday, a good half hour after I brought out the lunch buffet for our little guests to enjoy, we realized we had forgetten the all too important check before our little food-loving toddler tucked in. Luckily, anticipating the party chaos and confusion, we had planned ahead and assigned one parent the task of watching and documenting everything Jenna ate so we had a relatively acurate carb count to work with. But still, how the hell do you bolus using the easy carb function when you don't have a blood sugar reading to enter?! We had to guess based on her mid-morning reading. But again we were doomed to chase a mild high for the remainder of the afternoon.

And finally, something I just want to throw out there as a minor dilemma rather than something learned; how can I convince my two year old insulin pumping daughter that she can sit in the tub and enjoy her baths just as she did before the pump? She is incredibly anxious about baths now where she wasn't before and I'm certain that is because of the presence of her cannula. In fact she LOVED her baths before she wore the infusion set. Now she is reluctant to get in the tub. If I can convince her to get in she absolutely refuses to sit down. Kinda makes me sad because bath time was such a fun time for Jenna and now she dreads it. It's minor, but I'd love to find a solution.

All things considered, I think we have survived the first week of pumping farely well. It has by no means been easy, and sleep was all too often a necessary sacrifice. But this truly has been worth the pain and exhaustion. Jenna is enjoying better blood sugar control, especially at night and her freedom from multiple injections has been a blessing. Jenna loves eating. She is one of those rare kids that will try anything and more often than not likes what she tries; a real pleasure to cook for for a Mom who enjoys cooking. She has been more free to occasionally enjoy her favourite foods in slightly greater quantities than she was before. It does my heart good to see her really enjoying meal times again.

Looking to the future I can't help pondering what lay ahead, technologically speaking. As advanced and incredible as this insulin pumping technology is, it is without question going to continue to advance and improve. Will there be a day when we reflect on this time in our lives and think how primitive this technology was in contrast to what we might be working with only a few short years from now? Or perhaps we will be cueing up for that cure that is talked about and promised so much. Hmmm... wouldn't that be nice? I love you, little pink pump, but I'd drop ya in a heartbeat to be rid of diabetes for good.

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