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Eric has had an insulin pump since he was 2 years old. Many of my anxieties about it have centered on the idea that he might get his little hands on it and press the wrong buttons... because Eric is an inquisitive child, and he loves nothing better than to push buttons. It's hell on our thermostat — I can't begin to describe the number of times the little monkey has turned the heat off, or jacked it up to 75, or down to 58, simply out of his love of button-pushing. That's why he wears his pump in little pockets I've sewn onto his shirts. Keeps them away from his busy, button-pushing hands.
But recently, we saw a video that Medtronic Diabetes has posted on YouTube showing a boy about Eric's age doing the step-by-step for his infusion set and reservoir changes. Although he did not actually insert the site (his mother did that), he did explain each step of the set change, and he also, unaided, changed the reservoir, primed it, reinserted the clip into the set, and primed the infusion set. And I thought, hmmm... if this kid can do it, probably Eric can at least start to learn, right?
So today, when I changed Eric's site, I let him fill the reservoir and push the buttons, under my close supervision and with my instruction. He seemed very excited about it, and proud. I'm nowhere near ready to let him start giving himself insulin yet, but... this is a start. A very small start toward the independence he is going to have to obtain some time in the next decade or so. It feels monumental to me. I think it also feels monumental to him, because I asked if he wanted me to stop putting pockets on his shirt so he could wear his pump on a belt like the kid in the video. He said, quite definitively, "No, Mom. That's OK. I like it the way it is."
Fine with me. We'll take this independence thing one step at a time, because something tells me it's going to be harder for me than for him.