Taking a moment here to vent my frustration with insulin pumps. Granted, Carter is the exception to diabetics who need pumps- most diabetics don’t start pumps before the age of 2 years, or so we were told. We started with the Medtronic pump, and I’m really not sure why. In the hospital we were shown a few pump options and told to pick one. Already being totally overwhelmed by what was going on in the hospital, we didn’t even do research on any of the pumps. We saw the short version of what each could do and made our decision from that. And this isn’t to say Medtronic was a bad choice – it has great features for someone as tiny as Carter such as doses in 0.025 increments, where similar pump options only allow dosing in 0.05 increments. The Sure-T infusion sets that are an option with Medtronic also supposedly meant more reliable sites and less site failures. However, being the exception to nearly every rule so far, Carter had a ton of pump site failures with Medtronic. Sites were supposed to last 2 days, but we rarely made it that far without waking up or doing a check to find super high blood sugar (400+) and the development of ketones. The most reliable sites we found were his bum cheeks (is there anything sadder than seeing your adorable, chubby butt baby with technology/needles stuck into his bum? Not in my experience). We had the CGM on one cheek and the other cheek held a pump site. When it was time to be changed, we moved 2 inches higher or lower on that same cheek to do another site, as the CGM typically lasts us 7-21 days before needing to be moved. We attempted thighs, which in theory should have worked great since he has plenty of chub there, but those were iffy and only worked occasionally. More often then not, the sites failed within several hours when located on his thighs.
And so we started an Omnipod pump yesterday. We did do our research this time- asked around, got a demo pod and read tons of articles on the use of Pods and younger kids. All the features Omnipod could offer seemed to be geared toward a life with a younger diabetic and so we advocated with our endocrinologist and diabetes nurse educator to get Carter one. We took off the Medtronic pump site from his bum while at the DNE’s office yesterday morning and inserted a Pod 2 inches from the previous pump site. All seemed to be working great! No cords, no fanny pack, no fumbling in the dark to dose Carter when needed. However, we woke up this morning to a 474 blood sugar and 1.2 ketones. Dun dun dun… another pump site failure. Change it out and have to stab the poor guy with the cannula in the bum yet again. It’s a quick pinch, I’m being dramatic about the amount of pain it actually causes, but as the mother of an infant you don’t want your babies or ANY of your kids in pain! This is also something I am still struggling with just 3 months into Carter’s diagnosis. He is unfortunately going to be caused pain with this disease. Whether it’s the frequent pump site changes, the repeated injections each time he eats, the symptoms of low blood sugar or the onset of DKA (which he will hopefully never experience ever again!), this disease is just a bag of suck. One of my most important jobs as his mother is to obviously minimize the pain as much as I can and let him be a “normal” child.
I think we are going to continue with Omnipod, though. It still removes the need for additional injections of basal insulin and once his doses are compatible with Omnipod he will be off injections entirely, unless, God forbid, we have another site failure. His endo did respond a little later in the day and explained they really do not have enough experience with infants and pumps to say whether this many site failures is common or not- just that it’s completely up to us how we want to best manage Carter’s diabetes. I’d love to hear from those who started pumping at young ages! Which pump did you go with, why, and how was your experience? Do you have any tips, tricks or suggestions for pumping as an infant?
For my full review of how our Medtronic experience went, be sure to visit my Reviews page!