In the Trenches: Diabetes Dad

Pump Malfunctions? No Need to Panic 

A man stands at the bottom of a stopped escalator. Not a long escalator, mind you, just normal-one-floor type. His face is red with anger as the escalator comes to a stop. “I cannot believe this; I’m so late.”
There is a little boy behind him who says, “A broken escalator is just a staircase.”

With that, the man walks up the stairs.

I saw it again the other day: A mom was pretty upset that her child’s insulin pump broke, and the torment began of waiting until another one arrived. I read with a little disbelief to be honest with you, as she was so perplexed on what to do. I’m reading this thinking to myself, “Ummm…give your child a shot. What’s the biggie?”

Two immediate thoughts occurred to me: I’m getting older. When we started in 1992, pumps were not in use as they are today. My second thought was a bit perplexing: Have we ‘gone-the-way’ of the Dodo Bird (extinct, ask your parents) on the basic needs of daily management? My friend Richard Vaughn can share, more than I, what it was like ‘back when’ to deal with diabetes (his diabetes journey of 70ish years is one of the most inspiring you will ever know–keep an eye out for an upcoming book). But even since 1992 in our lives, the times, as they say; ‘are-a-changing.’

I have heard for some time now about this thing called an artificial/bionic pancreas and how it will be the closest thing to a cure. For the record, the same was said when insulin came along, then again when ‘long-lasting’ insulin came along, then when the insulin pump came along, and then again when the CGM came along. I get what is meant by such sayings; each of these management tools were or will be a giant step forward in making the management of diabetes ‘just that much easier’ according to many.

But these are all tools that can ‘go-derailed.’ We have to be ready when that happens. We have to be versed on what to do. An expert does not just have the ability to do something; they also have the capacity to right-a-course when it starts to go wrong. When it comes to the welfare of our children, nothing less than expert will do.

Don’t be afraid to get back to the basics when it comes to diabetes management. Make sure you know what to do ‘when the lights go out.’ It may be a tad inconvenient to go back to shots should a pump malfunction, but if your entire stomach turns at the thought of that issue, you may want to take a refresher course on what to do. If your child sees the panic in your eyes or senses fear in what you are doing, guess what is going through their minds? Most assuredly, at some point, your escalator will stop. It will be so much easier to know how to walk on it once that happens. It’s all how you look at things.

I am a DiabetesDad.

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