Last week, after returning from my appointment at the diabetes clinic I picked Tom and Guy up from school and took them out to lunch at a nearby cafe. I was in a good mood after my visit to the clinic and was happy to spend some time with my boys.
As we sat down I took my glucometer out of my bag and checked my blood sugar. Then I wrote the result down on one of the pages given to me at the clinic. Guy asked me why I was writing it down.
I hadn’t planned on talking to them about the pump that afternoon but since Guy had opened the door, I decided to take advantage of it and explain the whole pump thing to them.
I asked them if they knew what an insulin pump was.
“Isn’t that the thing you showed me a picture of that helps you take insulin?” Guy said.
“Yes,” I said and went on to explain that it was a small device that is attached to you and instead of taking a few shots of insulin every day it gives you insulin all the time. I uploaded a picture of a pump on my iphone and explained how it worked. I told them that it was just another way of taking the same medicine and that I wanted to try hoping it may be more comfortable.
“So you won’t need to stick yourself so many times, right?” Tom said.
“Exactly” I said.
“That sounds better. Do you still need to check your blood sugar or does it do that, too?” Tom asked.
I explained that the insulin pump didn’t do that but that there was a device called a continuous glucose monitor that did and that at this time I wouldn’t be getting one of those. Tom was a little disappointed.
From there the conversation went to genetics after Tom asked me about “diabetes that affected entire families.” I think he was referring to type 2 diabetes. I tried to explain the idea of genetic factors and how some people had a predisposition to get certain diseases but that there were other factors, too. I understood that the real question was about his chance of getting diabetes.
I didn’t lie. I told them that there are families with siblings and parents and children who have type 1 diabetes, but that there are many families where only one member has diabetes (like mine). Yes there is a chance, but it isn’t for sure at all. And whether or not a person gets diabetes is not something we can control, so it’s best not to worry about it.
Both Tom and Guy seemed okay with that answer.
The next morning while they were eating breakfast Guy asked, “So did you get that insulin thing yet? Can I see it?”
”No, it’s going to take a while,” I said. “But I’ll show it to you when I get it.”