I’ve just been reading some really interesting articles in the Animas magazine (they manufacture Archie’s pump), by other children who manage their diabetes with pump therapy. There’s no doubt about it, that to get the most out of the pump you need a lot of monitoring of blood sugars in order to identify trends, and know which of the rates or ratios to change. It’s only as good as the information it’s working with.
This first week has been a steep learning curve and one of the most tiring weeks I’ve experienced since our children were infants. I was delighted yesterday when we had a clinic review and both the doctor and dietician complimented us on our efforts and achievements for the week. The nurse couldn’t praise Archie highly enough for his suggested temporary basal rate to correct a high on Thursday. All that said, there is something so different about managing diabetes with the pump that we have to learn to trust it as a tool.
I’m struggling with the fear of high blood sugars and potential ketones, so letting go of night time testing is difficult. Last night we had to work to get Archie’s reading from 13 later in the evening to within range before bed time. Eventually it started to come down, but rather too quickly! This left me unable to sleep and testing every 2 hours to ensure he didn’t hypo. Eventually I had to reduce his basal rate by 20% for an hour – a decision I was making at 3.30am in the morning and hoping it was the right one as I was working partly on gut instinct. Anyone who lives with type 1 knows that managing it is a science. Understanding it’s complexities and applying those to each individual with the condition is an art.
There were tears this morning, and not from Archie needless to say. Frustration with Archie’s high reading, tiredness and my own early hypo all got the better of me. The relentlessness of this condition however means that you can’t give in to any of those emotions, or it beats you, and then it’s controlling your life, rather than the other way round.
I’ve been wanting a pump for a few years now, and it’s within sight, but I really thought twice about it this morning. Then as I reflected over the events of this week, I thought about the difference it had made in such a short space of time.
I have hated saying no. No you can’t have an ice-cream, although everyone else on holiday is having one; no you can’t have another slice of pizza even though all your cousins are back for seconds; no – I know your hungry, but extra carbs now will wreck your blood sugars; no – you can have a bit of the biscuit, but not the whole thing. It’s devastating seeing your child cry because of those answers and know that they think they’re being punished for something that isn’t their fault.
So this week has been amazing; to be able to sit in cafe Nero and say yes you can have the whole gingerbread man and the milk – all we have to do is count it properly; or, in Sainsbury’s – you can pick what you want for tea – all we have to do is weigh it all out and calculate the carbs when we get home; and telling Granny that dinner can be after 6pm because the pump has that flexibility.
What a difference a week can make – highs and lows emotionally and physically, but capped off by a few words of encouragement from one of Archie’s sporting heroes and fellow type 1 diabetic Gary Mabbutt. “Great that you are doing really well with the pump Archie, all my friends who use it are very impressed with it. I am being encouraged to go on to pump as well, it’s supposed to give you a lot better control, which is important for us diabetics”.