August 19, 2008


I wore a bunch of pumps at FFL. I had a Cosmo on the longest. I was very impressed with the menu structure and design that went into the user interface. But I am not here to talk about technology.

I’m here to confess.

My name is Bennet and I am a cheater.

I snuck food and didn’t bolus when I was on the pump.

Well more like I just flat out forgot - about half the time.
Maybe more.

It is so easy to get frustrated when the kids don’t bolus. The online forums are full of parental angst when kids don’t. We are SURE we would bolus every time if it was us.

I got news for ya: The only thing easier than being frustrated when your kid doesn’t bolus, is forgetting to bolus.

I dare anyone to put on a saline pump, put yourself in a moderately intellectually stimulating environment and see if you remember to bolus all the time. Oh and have your favorite snacks around and out when you wear it.

I flat out sucked at remembering. I would be walking out of a session all fired up about the topic talking with someone, grab a snack and keep talking. OK, ok, everyone who knows me, knows I keep talking all the time anyway, but there is a point here and that is... I forget...

... Doh! I’m wearing a pump.

What's more, if you’re not used to wearing a set everyday they’re not all that comfortable. It isn’t that they hurt. It is that they are just there, bugging you any chance they get.

The things are bastards that way.

The cord tries to pull the pump into the bowl every time you use the toilet. It thinks that is funny. I am telling you right now, you too can do in-stall gymnastics like a prepubescent Chinese kid looking for gold, when you know a 6 grand pump is heading for commode. If it isn’t diving for the bowl the pump is forever getting tangled up with the cell phone on your belt.

In short the pump made me well aware it was there, I just forgot to bolus.

Eating is as often a reflex more than a conscious act. There is food, it is comfort, you eat, you pay attention to what your mind is on and you forget the pump despite its gold metal efforts to remind you.

If you are like every other parent you and your fellow parents have designed our collective kids’ lives to keep them intellectually stimulated. We build building for that very reason. We call them school and pay taxes every month to support them. We want our kids to do well at this school thing. I mean we not only want straight ‘A’ but the class presidency, editor of the school news paper, lead in the play and league MVP would be nice too.

Kids have stuff on their minds. We go to great lengths to insure it.

  • They are used to wearing sets.
  • They know how to use a toilet and not do the stall Olympics.
  • They can wear a pump and a cell phone without entangling the phone in the pump line to the point of an occlusion alarm going off and text without looking at the buttons. (The starting degree of difficulty value there is HUGE!)

All that and they bolus way better than the 50% I did. More like 80% or 90%, maybe even 99% of the time.

I have a new found respect for that.

(That and I’m considering entering the 2012 Olympics in the pump/stall gymnastics event, unless I have to wear a tight leotard, that is just unthinkable.)

I’ll tell you what is breaking the rules. Stigmatizing the very real and human slip of having a life and forgetting a bolus by using terms like sneaking, lying and cheating. Yes, it is easy to get frustrated but it is cheating to let that frustration morph into to humiliating and guilt tripping our kids. It is not about numbers it is about living with diabetes, long term, independent living.

It was no accident that the same coach at Friends for Life who said there needs to be consequences for behavior was also the same guy who said he never met a kid who was the problem. His experience is that it is always the parents who have the behavior problem.

It is not about numbers it is about how we lead.

What would you respond better to, being put down as a no good lying cheating skunk (sound like fighting words in an old western don’t it?) for the 20, 10 or 1% of the time you make a mistake or praised for the 80, 90 or 99% of the time you get it right? So how are kids any different? If you are not providing positive feedback 80, 90 or 99% of the time then being overbearing 20, 10 or 1% is cheating.

My name is Bennet. I am a diabetes cheater.

Knowing that is the key to not being one again.


  1. Bravo! I agree with you. It's about raising your children for the future. You aren't always going to be there to yell at them and punish them. You are raising your children to be self aware and take care of themselves. For that I tip my hat to you! You have your priorities in order. Yelling could feel good now, but all it does is scare your kid into not getting caught. It does nothing for raising their awareness.

  2. I totally agree! It's much easier and less stressful to commend children for doing the RIGHT things, than it is to yell at them when they goof - and goof, they will.
    Your kids are lucky. Hope they know that.

  3. This is a GREAT post and I think it demonstrates a great approach to parenting!!

    As an adult wearing an insulin pump (with real insulin in it), I can also attest to the fact that I forget to bolus. There are times where I put forth significant effort to count my carbs accurately, then sit down and start eating. No bolus!!

    These times are like 1% now-- or less because with time it becomes such an automatic habit.

    You also commented that "Eating is as often a reflex more than a conscious act." While I think this is true, living with diabetes can make eating a very conscious act, which is good, though sad. I realize now that I don't look at food and just see food the way people without D do. I see carb counts, I see insulin, and I can't say that I ever eat out of reflex. Food going into my mouth (most of the time) automatically triggers thoughts about my blood sugar. Sometimes it makes me sad to realize that, but it's part of the reality that we live with-- eating is just eating anymore. But I guess that you know that even better than I do!!

  4. YOU Rock Bennet!

    Because of the positive reinforcement your kids get for the times they do things RIGHT they are going to soar in this world!

    Teach by example when they do wrong, Reward when they do right!

  5. Your advice applies to so much more than diabetes. Thanks for sharing.

  6. I agree that blame is not a good game, and I'm glad you don't want to lay blame on your kids, but I want to point out that remembering is easier when there are very very real consequences. I don't mean complications, just the actual experience of going high.

  7. This is brilliant and funny! I laughed at the part about the toilet Olympics. Thank you for making my day. I'll be checking out more of your blogs. I found you on the tudiabetes site underneath where I wrote, "diabetes sucks." I like realism and humor and now I am going to have to be one of your blog fans.
    It's your fault.