Insulin Pumps, Illness, and Waiting

Every three months we go to the endocrinologist (the Endo). The appointments are long.  Anabel kind of dreads them.  Okay, she really really dreads them.  We review numbers, discuss questions, and re-up on prescriptions.  It ends and we wait for the next appointment.  However, one commonality of every appointment is a commendation we receive from our practitioner about how well her T1D is being managed, whether when dosing insulin with shots or, more recently, with an insulin pump.  We had the routine on lock!  That is, until illness enters the equation. Any parent of a sweet one will tell you, managing this condition during an illness is just plain challenging. However, I have to admit that having an insulin pump makes everything a bit easier.  I am glad that we decided  on the T-slim X2 pump by Tandem for our sweet one.  There are a lot of great pumps out there and excellent websites that can support parents in deciding which one they might prefer for their child.  I don’t need to summarize them here, because you can go to the consumer guide to insulin pumps to make the comparisons.   A lot of factors go into choosing a pump, including what your insurance company will approve.  Fortunately, we had our pick and chose the t-slim for it’s usability and its compatibility with the Dexcom G5. What I love about the T-Slim is its sleek design, easy to use features and online platform.  Over the year that we’ve had it we haven’t had to call tech support once.  It’s been a seamless transition, thankfully.

With all of the medical advances and equipment available to those with T1D, at least those who can afford it (that is a series of blog post in and of itself) a pump won’t fix the challenge of illness in our sweet ones.  Whey they get sick it sends their blood glucose levels on a wild ride.  Over the last three days we have changed insulin sites twice, opened a new vial of insulin to be sure it hadn’t gone bad, called the doctor, checked ketone levels what seems like hundreds of times and engaged in shameless ‘chug challenges’ of water to try to bring Anabel’s blood glucose levels down.   For her, strep throat isn’t just resolved by an antibiotic, but requires careful monitoring and adjustments to manage her diabetes.  Even with all of this, those numbers struggled to go down to a target range.  As you can see, over the last three days her blood glucose levels were in the high range for over 75% of the time.  Nerve wracking stuff.

So, like our quarterly endocrinologist appointments we wait.  We wait to try to figure out what to do next, feel grateful for the tech we have while also acknowledging that it won’t solve all the challenges. And wonder if the conversation with her Endo will change when these numbers are reviewed.

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