Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Pod

For those folks who are on insulin therapy, and are considering that perhaps they'd like to knock off stabbing themselves five times a day to get their fix, there is the option of getting an insulin pump. There's a multi-step process involved in getting a pump, including the all-important insurance company "okey dokey, we'll pay for that", and the endocrinologist's approval, meeting with a pump rep, training classes, etc. Even though we won't be eligible to start the process until six months after diagnosis, I'm planning waaaaay ahead (again). I already did some research on insulin pumps and compared notes with other T1 parents, and I decided that the OmniPod was the best choice for us.

Forging bravely forward, I've already taken step one. I got online, looked up OmniPod, and ordered a dummy Pod, which they very cheerfully sent to me with instructions and information. The dummy Pod looks and feels exactly like a working Pod, it just doesn't have all the working parts inside, doesn't accept insulin in the reservior, and doesn't have the delivery needle. The idea is to stick the dummy Pod onto your body and wear it for three days to see whether or not you'd like to have this thing semi-permanently attached to your person in lieu of injections.

Well, our first run didn't go so well. T-Bear usually takes a while to get used to things, which is why I'm starting this whole process so early on. After much humming and hawing, and a couple of false starts, we finally stuck the Pod onto his tummy. It lasted about three hours before he just couldn't take the "sticky" feeling anymore, and we took it off.

Today he decided he wanted a pump, so I explained that we needed to put the Pod back on him, and he had to leave it on for three days to be sure he could get used to it. Only problem was, the Pod is designed to stick once, and only once. So, I had to get some medical tape and tape the puppy on. I got it taped onto his tummy, and he decided he wanted it someplace else. I took it off again, and retaped it onto his thigh, which seemed to be much more comfortable.

The taped-on Pod.

It doesn't seem to be bothering him, and you can't even really see it under his jeans. (Yeah, I know, why is he wearing jeans in the middle of summer in Georgia?)

The buldge that isn't.
So, it's been on for a few hours now, and he seems to be fine with it. We're all supposed to go swimming tomorrow, and I imagine I'll have to take it off because medical tape doesn't stick so well in water. But, by the time T-Bear has his check-up on Monday, we should have a pretty good idea of whether or not he will be comfortable wearing a pump.
So, for those tech-geeky enough to be interested in the details of insulin pumps, there are four pumps currently available. My understanding is that all pumps consist of a reservoir/delivery unit, and a control unit. Three of the pumps are designed with the controller and reservoir attached to one another with tubing, etc. The challenge with this set up for a child is pretty obvious. Tubing can get kinked or pulled loose, and the controller has to be kept in a pocket or attached to clothing. And, the controller and tubing have to be detached for swimming, bathing, etc.
The OmniPod is an almost identical setup, except that the controller is a remote control. Really. Just like your TV. It's very cool. Since the reservior is water-proof, you don't have to do anything for swimming, bathing, etc. There's no tubing to deal with. And, mom can keep the controller with her to avoid an accidental delivery. You can see why moms and kids tend to prefer this type of pump. Possibly best of all for T-Bear, the insertion is automatic. Once the Pod is in place, you push a button to start it up, and it pops the needle in, sight unseen, and about as painless as you can get. The Pod can be worn for three days before you need to swap it for a new one, so we're talking about one small stab every three days, instead of fifteen over the same period. Very sweet. T-Bear is definitely tempted...


  1. My cousins daughter has worn one for a while. But I think she was about 12 when she started with it. She says it is easy and way better than all the needle pricks.

    Good idea to start so far ahead to get him used to it.

  2. Bless all of you. It looks like the pod test went well. Thank you for sending us updates through email, too! With as good as my intentions are, I fall so behind with checking in.

    All our love and support from CA--Teri and John