Better living through little tweaks. That just might be my tagline! In an effort to better manage James’ diabetes, I try to look at what we’re doing and what we can improve on. Then I try to figure out what ONE thing I can do to make things just a little bit better.
I’ve employed this strategy to handle certain foods and to improve recording of blood sugars and to help manage exercise. Sometimes I really have to observe and look closely to find out what we can do better, and sometimes it is glaringly obvious. Today I’m going to talk about one of those super obvious examples!
Our problem is a little embarrassing, to tell the truth. Over the past year or so we have been SOOO bad about making sure that we change James’ pump sites every two to three days as we’ve been instructed. Our problem is that the sites work so well that we don’t think about changing them, and then I find myself in a position where I need to do an immediate change, because insulin absorption is poor and blood sugars are starting to rise.
Not changing insulin pump sites can also cause trauma to the skin. This can potentially be a really big problem. If “better living through little tweaks” is our tagline, then “we’re in this for the long haul” might be my mantra. Not changing pump sites in a timely matter is definitely a matter of not looking ahead and not preparing to be successful over the long haul.
I had to take a step back and look at why we were not changing the pump sites as regularly as we had been before. I think the biggest problem is that sites are changed every three days or so, while weeks are seven days long. The math just wasn’t working for us! In the past I’ve had success by putting a dot on the calendar on the days that I need to change James’ site, but this isn’t working anymore. Maybe I’m just getting busier?
So I finally came up with a solution, and so far it’s working pretty well. I decided that since we are authorized to change every three days OR every two days, I could set up a weekly schedule. Our new plan is to change sites every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Doing changes on weekdays instead of weekends means that the daily rhythm will be a little more predictable. (Weekends can be so changeable.) Another reason this seems to work is that it mirrors our watering schedule. Yes, here in drought-stricken Southern California, we are only allowed to water our yards on certain days. It’s easier for me to remember to change James’ sites on watering days.
Obviously, this is one of those hints that isn’t going to work for everybody. But I think the principle here is what I’m trying to share. The idea is that you can take one aspect of diabetes management and analyze why it isn’t really working for you, then try to figure out what is keeping you from success. In my case, I was thinking too narrowly, not realizing that changing the sites out more often will actually make it easier for me to remember them! Like I said, better living through little tweaks!
Disclaimer: The experiences and suggestions recounted in these articles are not intended as medical advice, and they are not necessarily the “typical” experiences of families with a child who has type 1 diabetes. These situations are unique to the families depicted. Families should check with their healthcare professionals regarding the treatment of type 1 diabetes and the frequency of blood glucose monitoring. Jen and Kim are real moms of kids with type 1 diabetes and have been compensated for their contributions to this site.