Monday, 20 July 2009

Pumper Mums!

Being an adult with diabetes can be a worry at times, but how much harder for parents caring for a diabetic child? Should my blood sugar go high or low, I am aware of the sensations and can act accordingly. Only on rare occasions have I had to seek help and experienced difficulty in communicating my needs. I can only imagine how difficult it must be to be constantly on the alert for possible signs of an imbalance in a child. Children don’t necessarily understand the need for injections, or being denied the freedom to eat as they choose on special occasions like Birthday parties, when all the other children are happily filling their faces with cake and jelly. They may also be subject to growth spurts, when hormones go to pot and have a huge influence on insulin levels. Or they might succumb to one of the many childhood illnesses that we have all been through, but for them may lead to a potentially dangerous rise in ketone levels.

Some of these concerns, from what I have read, are greatly alleviated by the fitting of an insulin pump for the child. They’re not an easy option – the first few days and weeks, possibly even months, require frequent and accurate testing of levels, counting of cabohydrates in foods consumed, setting basal (background) levels of insulin that may vary throughout the day, adjustments for increases (or decreases!) in activity, illnesses – the list goes on, but you get the idea! The enormous benefits, though, become apparent very quickly: improved blood sugar levels day-by-day, increased freedom for the child to play and eat as his non-diabetic peers do, and huge increases in confidence for the parents who can worry less about night-time hypos, and be more confident of a long and healthy life for their children.

You can read the story of one child's experience with a pump (the girl in the picture) at

This poem is about Pumper Mums, but could equally apply of course to Pumper Dads or Pumper Guardians, who all do magnificently well – but it wouldn’t have rhymed so well!

Pumper Mums! Pumper Mums! Let’s give a cheer for Pumper Mums!
Now, there’s a bunch of ladies who can really do their sums!
They can bolus for a biscuit, or a piece of apple pie,
And adjust a temporary basal rate if levels are too high!

They can dual wave a pizza so the levels don’t go spiking,
And tweak in tiny increments so the setting’s to their liking!
And when the DSN says they must learn to trust the pump,
Then they’ll use the bolus wizard to avoid a nasty jump!

Hurrah, hurrah for Pumper Mums
Up and down the land!
They’ll be prepared, whatever comes,
And always in demand!

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