I was reminded recently of our days of multiple daily injections (MDI). They included a pretty strict eating schedule of perfectly timed meals and snacks, and a bedtime injection of long-acting insulin that had to be given within 30 minutes each night. It was a grueling schedule for a young child and a busy family!
In my opinion, the "freedom" that an insulin pump offers is tangible and real. Since beginning the Omnipod insulin pump, we have never looked back. In fact if you asked my daughter if she would go back to injections, she'd probably run in the other direction.
What kind of "freedom" do I perceive?
What I really love is that an insulin pump takes care of a lot of the "diabetes math" that we used to do on MDI. Our Personal Diabetes Manager (PDM) calculates how much insulin to give based on my daughter’s blood sugar and the number of carbs she's eating. I love math, but having to do math before my child could eat at each and every meal when she was on MDI was tiring!
And now meals have become a little more laid back, too. You never know how much a child is going to actually eat. When we were on MDI we waited until she was done eating to give the injection for the full amo
unt. An insulin pump makes it easy to correct her blood sugar and bolus for at least some of the carbs up front, following up with additional boluses if she eats more. When on MDI we would have had to tell her no to seconds or dessert if we had already given her a shot. And at school and birthday parties, we would either take home the treats to eat at the next meal or snack or we would have to give her an extra injection, which would interrupt the fun.
I like that with the insulin pump, we don't have to carry an insulin pen, pen needles and alcohol swabs. We can deliver insulin with the push of a few buttons and be done with it instead of having to use an alcohol swab to wipe her skin, use the swab on the top of the insulin vial, put on a pen needle, inject her and then dispose of all the trash. Once the Pod is on, it's all self-contained and you only need the PDM to deliver it.
I also really appreciate that my daughter no longer has to bear a body part in public to get an injection. In fact, now, most people probably don't even realize what we are doing. Drawing insulin from a vial and giving an injection certainly makes diabetes a little more public.
And one of the absolute best freedoms we now have is being lazy on the weekends. Because we aren't tied to a schedule, my daughter can sleep in on Saturday mornings and not eat breakfast until 10:00 or 11:00 AM if she wants to.
These are just a few of the reasons why insulin pump therapy has given our family back a little freedom. We just celebrated three years of using the Omnipod insulin pump. Assuming that we put on a new Pod every three days, those 365 Pods replaced 1,460 injections.
That really puts things into perspective.