Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Ol' Blue in action

Yesterday we went to Cardon Children's Hospital for our second and last pump training class. 

Connor and I were both so excited. It was the day that ended his Multiple Daily Injections or MDI in the diabetic world. We went in and met once again with Martha our instructor for the day. 
We went over the procedures for the next few days and then proceeded to get out all of Connor's pump supplies. This last week Connor has been connected to his pump but no insulin was put in it only saline. This allowed us to be able to learn how to use the pump with out fear of "messing something up." Yesterday was different. Yesterday we went "live." All insulin all the time.

Tools of the trade (Insulin Pen, Alcohol Swabs, Reservoir, Infusion Set)

We calculated how much insulin would be required for the next 2-3days, filled the reservoir (thing on right side of picture that looks like a syringe) then uncoiled the tubing from the infusion set (blue disc shaped object in lower middle of picture) and locked everything in place. Adjusted all the settings and then attached the site to Connor. 

As of 10:15 yesterday morning Connor's external pancreas (his insulin pump) was fully functional. 
The next several minutes were spent on showing me how to do different functions using the pump. Things to watch out for procedures to to follow. We talked about our kids. Martha has a 16 year old son who is also a type 1 diabetic and is currently using an insulin pump. As we chatted Connor sat across the room coloring a picture. When the time came I gathered all of my paper work and his supplies. Connor finished up his drawing and handed it to Martha. It was a picture of Cardon Childrens Hospital and very well done I might add. 
The best part was the neatly printed words on the top of Connor's creation.
Written in his best hand writing were the words
"Never Give Up"

As we drove away the reminder on his pump went off telling Connor to check his blood sugar. 176. Slightly out of his range Connor was able to give a correction dose (a dose of insulin to help bring down blood sugar levels) using his pump. This level of control was not available to us using MDI. Using an insulin pen we dealt in doses using whole units. With the pump we can give Connor a dose of insulin as small as 0.025 of a unit allowing him better control.

As we headed home I needed to stop at Costco so we decided that we would eat lunch there. Connor got a hot dog and a drink. Entered the carbs into his pump. The pump calculated his insulin dosage. Connor hit the ACT button and started eating. No alcohol swabs. No pen needle. No flicking air bubbles out of the pen. No people staring at me strangely as I inject my child. Holy cow this is AWESOME!
After Connor was done inhaling his hot dog he quickly informed me that he was still hungry and wanted another one. We proceeded to repeat the above mentioned process still with the same amount of awesomeness. 

So if you're keeping score that's Ol' Blue (the pump) 3 - Injections 0

and that was only in the first 2 hours.

Later in the afternoon once my other 2 children were home from school they all wanted a snack. This time Connor didn't flinch one bit about having a snack. Before his decision was based on whether or not he was willing to take another shot and not on whether or not he was hungry. This time he didn't even have to think about it. He was hungry so he ate.

This process was repeated as he ate dinner and again with a snack before bed.

8:00pm came and we got excited all over again when we remembered that Connor no longer had to take his long acting insulin (given everyday at 8:00pm to help maintain his levels all day) This process has now been taken over by Ol' Blue. Ol' Blue gives Connor small doses of insulin throughout the day to maintain his blood sugar, no longer requiring him to take his daily dose of Levimer.

When I checked his blood sugar at 3 am (I do this almost daily at midnight and 3 am to prevent lows/highs to keep him safe) the meter read 242. Too high. I grabbed his pump which had already calculated the correction dose and pressed ACT. His pump was quickly at work lowering his blood sugar while Connor was sound asleep. Once again I was deeply thankful for Ol' Blue because I didn't have to give a shot to my sleeping child.

Total score for the first day?

Ol' Blue 8 - Injections 0

I would call that a huge success!

With the pump hopefully now we will see less of this

4 months worth of syringes, pen needles, and lancets (used to test blood sugar)

and more of this

That sweet genuine smile that has been long absent from his cute face.

Ol' Blue is not a cure it's just another way to manage the disease that is with Connor 24/7/365. What Ol' Blue is, is the freedom to be a kid. To be able to push a button and go. It's less painful and can keep him healthier because of tighter control.

It is also a visual reminder of everyone that helped us get to where we are right now. We wouldn't have had a day like today with out your help. It's a blessing. It's a miracle. It's hope.

It's also a reminder to, in the words of Connor,

"Never Give Up!"

On your mark get set GO!

When we were holding the fundraiser for Connor we were lead to The Prayer Child Foundation. They donated $1000 to help Connor get his insulin pump. Last Saturday April 9th there was a Prayer Child run held to raise money for other children in need. Connor was invited to be the special ambassador and to count down the start of the race.

As they introduced Connor my heart just swelled with pride. We've come so far in the last few months. I was proud of how courageous he is and how strong he is. As his story was told I saw several people wipe their eyes, moved to tears by my cute 9 year old son. When asked if he'd like to say anything, all he could say was, "I'm just so glad to have my pump!"

It was raining and so very cold. You could see your breath! Crazy weather since it was only a few days before that the temperature was hovering around 100 degrees. That being said the bad weather didn't stop people from coming. There was still a great turn out.

He was so excited to be able to count down to start the race. Who wouldn't want to hold a bullhorn and yell at a bunch of strangers? 

Despite the cold and the rain it was such a fun day. What an amazing honor this was. I hope that the run raised a ton of money to be able to help other children with medical needs. The prayer child foundation was such a blessing to our family and to Connor. I hope that many children will feel of the love and hope that we have been witness to.