by Richard Laurent firstname.lastname@example.org (Paul's Dad)
Paul was diagnosed with Diabetes two days before Halloween when he was 9 years old. We were sent to a hospital that was barely equipped to handle a child diagnosed with Diabetes. We were given archaic information concerning diet requirements. In spite of this, Paul (and his parents) survived the hospital stay, and arrived home on Halloween evening. Paul was not allowed to go Trick or Treating (Doctor's orders).
The impact on Paul's diet was the biggest problem he had with Diabetes. He was originally limited to very regimented meals, with very precise amounts of everything which must be eaten at the correct time of day. This did not go over well with a nine year old. We finally found an up-to-date Nutritionist, and at least gave Paul some flexibility in what he ate, but not in when he ate it.
I spent most nights searching the Internet, looking for information about Diabetes. One night, I stumbled upon the Insulin Pumpers web page. Prior to this, I had never even heard about insulin pumps. I read everything I could find, and began "lurking" on the web page. I started discussing this with Paul, and he became extremely interested in getting a pump.
At Paul's next visit to the Endocrinologist, we asked about getting Paul on the pump. His doctor did not like the idea. He was not comfortable with putting a nine year old child on a pump. At this point, Paul jumped into the conversation. He calmly, but firmly, explained to the Doctor why he wanted a pump. He focused on the meal flexibility, and the improved control. When he finished, the Doctor agreed to put Paul on the pump, and said we could discuss it further at our next visit.
Paul had a break from school in a couple weeks, and we thought it would be the perfect time to start on the pump. We contacted the Disetronic company directly, and quickly arranged to get a pump. After some encouragement from us, the Doctor sent all of the required paperwork to Disetronic, and we were on our way. Two weeks later, Paul was wearing an insulin pump.
Paul inserts his own infusion sites (he insists on this). He uses EMLA cream to numb the site prior to insertion. His sites usually last three or four days. He uses "Formulated For Fingers" lotion, with Australian Tea Tree Oil to help the old sites heal quickly. It makes a huge difference. He also uses it on his finger tips, to minimize calluses. Paul uses a 4/1 mix of Humalog and Velosulin (another trick I learned on Insulin Pumpers, and taught Paul's doctor). This was necessary after his sites started 'wearing out" after only one or two days. The Velosulin made a definite difference.
Since getting his pump, Paul has become like all of the other kids. He no longer has to worry about what time lunch is at school, or when dinner is when we visit friends or relatives. Paul tests himself and handles his own bolus calculations at school (he is now in 6th grade). He doesn't have to worry about needles in the classroom. He has taken a trip with us to Antarctica, and traveled in South America. These trips would have been much more difficult if we had to worry about getting Paul's meals at certain times. Paul wrestles with his friends, swims, climbs trees, plays football, hockey, and generally does everything the other kids do. The pump does not prevent him from doing anything.
Today, if someone tried to switch Paul back to shots, they would have a fight on their hands. Paul loves his pump, and doesn't understand why everyone with Diabetes doesn't have one.
When I hear about doctors who won't prescribe pumps for kids, it makes me very angry. I tell people to be more forceful with their doctor, or switch doctors. Doctors who won't put kids on pump obviously do not know enough about pumps to be making such an important decision. I can't imagine what Paul's life would be without the pump. When I think about the freedom Paul has because of his pump, it makes me realize how lucky he and his parents are. The only way we intend to get rid of the pump is when Paul's Diabetes is cured.
Paul and I (and his Mom) would be happy to swap emails or talk with anyone who is contemplating starting a child on a pump.
Thanks, Richard Laurent (Paul's Dad) email@example.com