Friday, January 3, 2014

Overriding. La! La! La!

Turns out, I’m really good at making things harder on myself.

My endo has been telling this to me for years.  The mental tweeks I make in bolus amounts, the carb counting (plus some) add ons/take-aways I’m so keen on compensating with…it all seems to be in the best interest of just “adding work” to my already over-swelled brain.

I’m so against making adjustments to the pump because in some instances, change begets chaos.  And really…

So instead, I manually pad insulin, or override, and instead of letting the pump do all the work for me/us, (because isn’t that why we have it in the first place?) Instead, I let it do the math, and then do some of my own creative math and mash it all together. 

Which, has been quite successful, so successful even, maybe I would have never noticed.  But at the beginning of the school year my two youngest began taking the reigns more often, and well…let me give you an example:

“How many carbs for this plate, Mom?”

“What do you think?”

“I think it’s 65.”

Me, doing a mental scan of the plate think, “Hot damn, he seems to be spot on.  It really is 65.”

But my mouth says, “You are right, it’s 65…but give yourself 80.  You need more at night these days.”

What am I teaching him?

The entire point is to count the carbs correctly and put it in their pump.

Just a month ago my boys were convinced bananas were 10 carbs.  That is because every day at snack, I give them half the true carbs, to counteract all the running around they do at recess.  We had a conversation about this, and now they know that bananas are really 20 carbs…or sometimes even more.  But why don’t I just change the carb ratios between 9:30 and 10:30am so they can count the correct carbs and move on?

Maybe because on the weekends, they need those full amount of carbs.

It’s never just simple. 

Though I'm glad I'm not alone in this.  Last night I had dinner with a dear D Mom friend, and she told me she just downloaded the pump and CGM to her computer for the first time in forever.  Turns out, they've been overriding the pump 90% of the time.

There are so many variables, and really all unnoticeable until we try to explain it to someone else.  And in my case, the someone elses happens to be of the ages of 10 and 12.

To add to the numbers game, every basal rate for every boy has gone up this Winter break.  It’s an annual holiday-only tradition it seems, because as soon as school starts, they all have to go back to where they were before.  (Well, except J’s nights, I never upped his nights.)  I've been explaining why I make the changes that I do, to educate them.  Because they are old enough to know why.  I'm adjusting their insulin, which in turn adjusts their blood sugar numbers, and since it is affecting their bodies it is their right to know.  I think it all seems much more complicated than it really is because I’m thinking for three, and maybe it won’t be so mind boggling to them, because they will be thinking for one.

But then again, it really doesn’t seem overwhelming until I try to explain it all.  Once they have all the information and store it accordingly, won't it all be second nature to them too?  My underlying worry of overwhelming them seems to be fruitless.  The voice in my brain totally agrees.  But then again, the voice in my brain does sound like this...

So what does it know?

When I really think about it though…my boys are smarter than I think they are.  So I’ll continue giving my creative lessons and let the chips fall where they may.

Because diabetes doesn’t always go by the book, or by the pump settings.  At least when you are a growing child anyway.

If it is true information is power, my boys will light up a stadium before we know it.


  1. Im an over rider most of the time too Meri! I think its simply because we know as soon as we actually change a pump setting, we may be out for MORE chasing numbers if we "trust" the pump settings themselves instead letting our brain adjust to the days carbs, highs, lows and random events! Can you imagine how EASY it would be if all we had to do was bolus without thinking? -Sigh- Maybe one day.

  2. Same-same! It drives me nuts, but I do it anyway! Lately for lunch and dinner we've been only bolusing for 50% up front and the rest over three hours. Why? Because it works. It tells me that somewhere, something is wrong, but if I try and fix it, it gets worse! My creative fix is working, so we'll just stick with it.

  3. Oh I have one word for all of this.... GRAY!!!!!! It is so not black and white..... To me carb counting is so hard.... and we have had horrible wake up numbers all during Xmas break.....i will admit there has been nibbling going especially by my 10 year old daughter but i just upped her nighttime basal numbers.....what a pain.

  4. I'm am adult (T1 37 years) and I constantly override my pump settings. I also do multiple small corrections daily. So are my pump settings terrible? I don't think so. I think that we just don't have the tools to be perfect. I often wonder if these multiple adjustments make a substantial difference in my overall health. But for those of us wired to always try hard, how can we attempt to not always try to do our best? Your boys are doing great and you have to give yourself some of the credit. So how can you start slacking off without feelings of guilt? How can we live with ourselves if what we do doesn't make a difference? Hard questions with no definite answers....

  5. Was referred to your blog from an IG friend. Wow. Just, wow. Our life was turned upside down just three weeks ago when our 4 year old went into ketoacidosis. We've been struggling to find our new normal and adjust to our new life with a T1D child. You sound like super mom. Thank you for your words of encouragement and inspiration. -Maggie

  6. But if we don't override how will we know what settings to change (eventually)?!


  7. I'm an over-rider, too. I don't think I do it a lot, a lot...but, then again, maybe I do.
    Should totally do some ratio tweaking so there's more the pump does and less I do! :)

  8. HA! Override queen here...the worst part is when I forget to share my new creative math skills with TJ and on a weekend he gives insulin for said banana, but instead of giving the 10 carbs as I have been (for example) he'll give the 24 that he measured it to be and I only figure it out after I find Isaac's BG to be plummeting into the 40's. Obviously I need to stop believing that my awesome ways are just getting passed to my husband through mental telepathy and need to start communicating or start changing pump settings ;) Sounds like a lot of work though?! I keep wondering if we need to do the whole multiple patterns for basal settings for weekends/week days...but again sounds like a lot of work!

  9. I just found your blog through a new friend I have made while working on a fundraising compaign for my 5 year old son to have and keep an insulin pump. I have lived in Costa Rica for 17 years and have had no contact with other T1D families so have felt very isolated and alone at times. You have no idea how incredible it is to hear that our experiences are shared by so many others and that there are lots of people out there who know our challenges and speak the same "language." Thank you so much for your blog, it is enormously inspirational and a true Blessing!

  10. Oh my--I do the exact same thing. I could have written this blog. You're an awesome mom and your boys are lucky to have you!

  11. I am thinking for two, and my brain is swollen. Yours must be bursting at the seams. I, too, take not only the carbs consumed into consideration but current blood sugar, what the carbs are, and current and past exercise. My boys are 9, and I'm trying to get them to start thinking about it, adding stuff up. It's complicated. Unless you live the life, you just don't understand HOW complicated. I've told people I don't have sitters because it would take too much work just to orient them to Diabetes! As you said, I hope it's not as hard for them since they're only thinking for themselves.


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