Monday, July 28, 2014

Not Quite A Week But We Have Learned A Lot

The Medtronic 530G has been on my oldest daughter since Thursday night.

Today is Monday.

While that might not make us full experts yet, we certainly have learned a few things.  Because I like to write about things that are generally not discussed in most hoity-toity scientific research magazines, here are a few fun family observations.

1.)  Bolusing is slow.  Did I say slow?  I mean a snail doing the moonwalk S.L.O.W.  However, in the weirdest of ways, I actually think postprandial blood sugars are better.  Total weirdness.

2.)  The pump is pretty.  As I was taking the battery out of her old Animas Ping to store away indefinitely, I noticed the scarred, scratched and paint-chipped exterior.  Wincing in a way that only a mom does when seeing how your child has used something to pieces - literally - I also suddenly realized that the new Medtronic 530G will never be in this condition.  Simply for the coolest of reasons: it is plastic.  Kind of like an old 1962 Chevy compared to it's latest cousin, the 2014 Chevy.  Hey, I live in Michigan and we no longer see rust.  How is that for progress?!

3.)  The Mio infusion site is teeny.  As a former user of the Comfort Short and the Inset 30, the tape and site is about 50% smaller.  We all know that body real estate is a precious commodity, so it is nice to use less.

4.)  The alarms for the CGM are soothing.  I think they sound like bells.  My daughter who tends to be annoyed by all pump music, has begrudgingly agreed.  Of course, this is because we are in the pump honey-moon period.

5.)  Turning the Medtronic pump on in the dark is something to get used to.  The first and second night were spent with a few fumbles on clicking the correct combination of buttons to make the light appear.  I missed our Animas during those early nights.  Last night was much better.  Practice does make perfect.

6.)  The sensor is comparable to the Dexcom, but not as accurate.  Our direction was to calibrate four times daily, however, we seem to be finding better success with less calibrations.  Much as the same with the Dexcom.  The less information we provide, the more the sensor can catch up and reflect what is happening.

7.)  Our daughter loves having one gadget.  On the first full day after hook-up, she played in a golf tournament.  After she was done with her first section, she ran over to me with a panicked expression telling me that she forgot her Dex receiver.  As she said it, she realized what she was saying and started to laugh with relief.  No more losing gear.  And yes, she hit the ball really well after that.

8.)  Our youngest daughter is jealous of her sister's new pump.  Yes, even insulin pumps make kids envious.
9.)  Three hundred unit cartridges are awesome!  For the first time, we no longer feared running out of insulin on a trip away from home.  Thank you to Medtronic for providing this option!

10.)  With two pumping two different insulin pump brands, I found myself having to think a bit more carefully about the supplies that we bring along.  Even as I type this, I am thinking that I really need to add an extra infusion site for Medtronic to our emergency vehicle bag.  Mom will have to be even more organized!  Yikes!

And that is all for now.  I will try to update in a few more days with more observations.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Medtronic 530G - A Passenger's Perspective

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Her pump arrived this afternoon.

Actually, the Naturally Sweet Husband went to our UPS distribution center and tracked it down.  It was relinquished after proof of a government ID.  UPS doesn't know that the name it was addressed to is in fact, a minor without a valid driver's license... yet.


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Which is an interesting segway into this new pump start.  As the box was handed to her (not to me), she excitedly opened it and pulled out the new pump, meter and sensor parts.  This was her 'baby' now and she owned it right from the start.

As she quickly attached the belt clip, (much to my worried husband's chagrin - "Stop!  Be careful!  Are you sure you are supposed to attach that?  Wait for your mother."),  she simply smiled and said calmly, "I got this, Dad.  I know what I am doing."

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And she did.  Confident, poised and ready to immediately hook up to her newest device.

I sat next to her and she entered in bolus and basal rates.  I told her that I would call her friend's mom and ask questions that we stumbled across.  She simply smiled and repeated, "It's OK mom.  I think we are doing fine."

She picked up her new Mio infusion set, which was completely foreign to me, but seemingly familiar to her.  As she unwrapped it and prepared her first leg site, she chatted on about diabetes camp and seeing her friends inject the same one.  Youngest daughter stepped into the room and at ease as well, said, "This is the one that A LOT of kids use.  We know how to do this already."

Even after she launched the site and struggled for a moment to free the plastic case from her leg, she remained calm and collected.  Bravely, she told me that she was thrilled to find that while it was a struggle to get it unhooked, she felt it hurt less and it was in fact, "Cuter.  Look at how tiny it is, Mom."

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I called her friend's mom anyway and while the conversation started under the terms of question asking, soon it became about general life and before I knew it, almost an hour had passed.  As I hung up the phone, I called oldest daughter over and suggested we try a practice bolus.  She laughed and explained that while I was on the phone, she already had done just that.  All had gone well - without my 'help'.

Proud is an understatement.  She turns 13 in a few days.  Watching her blossom from that scared little girl, unable to communicate her first low blood sugar, to the strong, independent and brave young lady that defies type 1 diabetes boundaries.

This pump is a milestone marker on her journey to adulthood and t1d ownership.  She researched this, she chose it and she will wear it proudly.

Oldest daughter is on her way to achieving wonderful things.  The next pump will come during her last year of high school.  I don't know what life will be like then, but I do know that she (and I) are prepared for a great ride - with her at the wheel!

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Back to School In Style

Mid-July is here.

That means that while summer vacation only just started for us in the north, the back-to-school merchandise is already in full display on store shelves.

If you are like me, the sales are too tempting not to take advantage of, especially with Naturally Sweet Sisters that love to shop, even for school supplies.

Not to mention, that waiting also means the high probability that nothing is left in September when school actually begins.

As I shop, I like to look for ways to blend t1d into school.  This is the PERFECT time to look for all of the cute and functional holders for holding t1d gear.

In no specific order, here is a list of things that I like to grab when the prices and the selection are good!

1.)  Plastic Tubs for Locker, PE Locker, Classroom, Office, Bus:

These handy little tubs can be personalized with a label maker, address label or even a sharpie pen.  On this box, I chose a piece of Washi craft tape and wrote on top of it.  We put these everywhere our child will be throughout the school.  As a gesture of t1d community spirit, I also tell everyone that this is not just for my child but for anyone with t1d needs.  One year, a type 2 teacher felt low after a long day of teaching and wrote me an email telling that he had been ever so grateful to have the 'low box' nearby.  He replenished the supplies and it made us all feel a bit more united in our efforts to keep everyone safe.

On another note, I tend to add what my child likes and also what can be stored for at least a school year.  While we will still pack juice boxes, I find that the expiration dates are only good for a few months.  At Christmas vacation time, we often remove and restock the older items.  Candy like this could survive an Apocalypse and still  be a-ok!

2.)  Binder 3-Hole Pouches:

A mom gave me this tip last year.  Ironically she had been using this method for years with her non-t1d children but after her youngest was dx, this became her perfect solution on how to keep mobile glucose and supplies on her child at all time.

Simply take all of the items that your child would take to class and place them in a three-ring binder pouch.  We found ours for about $0.70 at Walmart.  For our middle school kids, we buy seven of the pouches and place them in seven different binders - one for each class - and our children use this as homework binder too.

The best part of this system is there never a chance to be without a pencil, eraser, pen, highlighter, sharpener and especially GLUCOSE!

3.)  Magnetic Locker Containers:

If having a plastic tub isn't enough of a reminder for your child, than this is the perfect invention!  Locker containers that have a magnet are great for storing easy-to-grab glucose.  The saying in our house is that if a child only has four minutes in-between classes but feels low, we would rather treat first - than, check later.  With a full year of middle school under our belt, the biggest learning curve we had was our daughter worry of being tardy to class.  Even though she has a 504 plan that excuses lateness due to t1d, she felt awkward arriving late in front of her peers.  Solving that was having her pop a piece of glucose food into her mouth and then check bg at her desk in the classroom.

As another bonus, these little containers work great for the PE locker in storing vitals like deodorant!  The teachers will thank you!

4.)  Backpacks:

Yes, most all parents are already going to be buying backpacks.  I just wanted to mention something that I find helpful in selecting one.  While your child may be looking for a certain character or fashion design, as an adult, I am looking for a special diabetes area.

We love to find backpacks that have a zippered pocket with lots of storage.

Pencil holder bands make great spots for Smarties candy (USA candy) and little pouches work great for fruit snacks and glucose.  I also try to stash some money in the packs for emergencies.  Over the years, there have been times when it has come in handy.  If you buy hot lunch and your account runs out, it is nice for your child to have a little stash of cash.

I also like little zippered carry-alls that I can attach to the backpack.  As you can see, we found this little one on and have it clipped to our daughter's golf bag.  As you probably guessed, it is filled with glucose.  Lows are NOT happening on my watch!  Well, as much as I can help, anyway :)

5.)  Lunch boxes and water bottles:

This is the perfect time to find water bottles to help keep your child hydrated during the school day.  It is also a great time to find lunch boxes.  Lunch boxes work not just for carrying lunch, but for also toting t1d testing supplies to and from school.  We particularly like ones with extra pockets and also, with a long strap.  A bonus pocket to keep water on board is extra nice too.

I hope this was helpful and gave you some insight into what the Naturally Sweet Sisters will be bringing back to school.

And when you are done with your shopping, just pack it all up and forget about it until school starts.

Then, tease your kids about having to write notes about calling mom!

Happy Back-To-School Shopping!!!!