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Ideas on syringes, pens and pumps?

Discussion in 'Parents of Children with Type 1' started by Joel K, Jun 21, 2012.

  1. Joel K

    Joel K Approved members

    Mar 20, 2012
    So we are three months in. We have been doing the shots with the syringes. No major problems though we have of course hit a blood vessel a few times which have caused a big bruise that makes you feel like a horrible parent, but really that has only happened a hand full of times in the past 90 days or so. It looks like we are going to the pen now. It wasn't really what I wanted but my wife wanted to do it and it does make it much easier for my son to give himself a shot. For me when using the pen it is awkward and heavy and not near as easy as the syringe. My son is only 10 and I believe my wife or I should still be giving him his insulin. Maybe the pen will get easier once I get more practice with it, they do have the tiny nano needles on them, which my son likes. So if any of you wouldn't mind sharing your thoughts on the syringe and needle I would be appreciative. Then I start thinking about the pumps. It seems most everyone on here that I have seen uses the pumps. For whatever reason the pump kind of freaks my wife out and my son is reluctant about it as well. I have heard nothing but good things about the pumps for the most part and have people say they wish they had been able to use a pump much earlier because it makes life very simple. Now on the other hand I can't see how much more simpler it can get than the syringe, but I am still new to all of this and it is hard to really know without trying. So if you could give me thoughts on that as well, I would appreciate it.
  2. manda81

    manda81 Approved members

    Feb 17, 2010
    We started with MDI (syringe) and then moved to MDI with the pens a few months later. For us, it was simply convenience. Carrying the pens was easier than carrying a vial of insulin, my son was much less scared of the cute, colorful pen than the syringe (he was only 2 at the time of DX), etc. There was no real difference though.

    Pumping was a HUGE difference. We were all reluctant at first, but the more I read about pros of pumping, the more on board I got. We started with my son watching some youtube videos of kids his age setting up their pumps, bolusing, removing them, etc... when he was on board, we did saline trials.

    I will say that the pump completely changed our lives, and that's not an overstatement. Now he sleeps as late as he wants, eats when he wants, there's no anxiety about injections, he only gets "poked" once every 3 days instead of multiple times a day, there is not as much to carry around when we go places (we use the Omnipod, so it's like carrying around an extra cell phone), and he just loves the freedom of not having to worry about 2nds meaning another shot. He can easily bolus for the 5g of carbs in a handful of peanuts, and he can sleep through the night, without having to wake up to treat a low, because we can just turn his basal down for a bit, and watch his numbers come back up naturally. The flexibility is the best thing, for us, about pumping overall. We didn't realize how much of that we had given up, until we got comfortable with the pump, and then it was amazing.

    As far as what your son is ready to take on himself (checking, shots, etc) I think that varies depending on the person. My son can bolus via the pump himself, but we always have an adult make sure he's put in the right amount for carbs (he's 7 now), but we do all his fingersticks still, and his site changes. He's nowhere near being ready, but I think that at 10, there's a good chance he will be. We are just letting him make those decisions, and decide what he is ready, or is not ready, to do.
  3. Joretta

    Joretta Approved members

    Nov 7, 2009
    We started on MDI. We started with the pen as I worried about draw up error.mturning to a larger number seemed safer. But DD want to try syringe. She liked the syringe as she was in control and liked playing doctor. She resisted the pump for about 2 months. The pump changed thing like op she sleeps late she can be more like other kids. I think your son and wife may hesitate as they fear pain and overdose. I hesitated to because of electronics malfunction. Get them to view videos try together him to talk to someone who uses a pump. Camp was where my DD learned the value as she and one other girl had to get up for shots. Rest slept in and they talked to her about her concerns.
  4. FloridaMom

    FloridaMom Approved members

    Sep 26, 2010
    We loved the pen. I felt so much more confident that I was injecting him with the exact amount needed.

    Moving on to the pump was an AMAZING experience for us. Just being able to hit a little button and being able to correct him as many times as needed is such a wonderful thing. If he was a tad high on MDIs, we wouldn't give him another injection to bring him down. With the pump, we can give him .05 units if we want!

    Good luck to you!
  5. Christopher

    Christopher Approved members

    Nov 20, 2007
    How does your son feel about giving himself his shots? If he wants to be more independent, then the pen might be a good way to do that. You could still use syringes when YOU do his shots. Or, over time, you will get used to the pen and will use that. If he doesn't want to be more independent, I would not push him too hard right now. It will come over time.

    Danielle tried the pen and just didn't like the bulkiness, the priming, etc. Another issue with the pens can be leak back, meaning you give an injection and a lot of insulin leaks out.

    As for the pump, I am not sure "most everyone" on here uses one. Pumps have their pros and cons just like MDI. If things are going relatively well for you now, I would say take your time and gradually try out the different methods, syringes, pens, pumps, etc. You have plenty of time and you can always try something and if it is not working go back to what was working.

    For me as a caregiver, I have always liked syringes. They are quick, easy to use, and you just give the shot and off they go.

    Good luck.
  6. momof2marchboys

    momof2marchboys Approved members

    Jan 26, 2012
    Our Endo wanted us to do the syringes and vials but I pushed for the pens from the get go b/c I didn't want to carry around a vial of insulin and worry about it breaking and the syringes with us along with keeping it cold all time. We are a very on the go family and the pens are easy to throw in my purse and go. I also worried about others drawing up the insulin out of the vials and getting the righ amount where with the pens you set the pen to the # of units you want and that is what they get.
    Also based on the amount of insulin he was getting in the beginning our pharmacy suggested the pens as they were a better deal for us as 1 box of pens could last us a few months vs a vial only lasting a month

    we haven't gone to a pump yet as our son (age 6) is not on that much insulin as he is in a very strong honeymoon stage but we have gotten a CGM as our son doesn't know when he is going low which has been great when he leaves the site alone and leaves it in to work properly
  7. zoomom456

    zoomom456 Approved members

    Jan 19, 2011
    We started with syringes and it was no big deal to me because I administer shots to animals for a living. My husband however, has a serious needle phobia and found the pen easier due to the tiny needle size and found the pen easier to grasp while he got used to our new normal. I didn't mind the pen, but you do hold it differently than a syringe. I did prefer how easy it was to transport a pen vs. syringes and vial of insulin.

    Now we use a pump and I will say, for us, it changed our lives. Doing a site every 2-3 days and pushing buttons whenever my son wants to eat is easier. We have more flexibility with the pump, but it also requires more intensive management.
    Some things to consider with insulin pumps 1) insurance - some insurances require MDI for 6 months-1 year before they will cover a pump. However many people have found ways around this silliness. 2) the pump is a tool that is only as good as the operater. Therefore, if your wife and son will not use the thing, it could be a waste of time and money. 3)In general, pumping is more expensive that MDI, but again depends on insurance. 4) Starting on a pump is a huge YDMV. Some people have easy pump starts, I envy those people. Ours was frustrating and tough. I thought about running over the pump with the car.....repeatedly. Finally after about 4 weeks I started to see a ray of hope and better numbers. Now 2 years later I cannot imagine life without my son's pump. I do hate seeing gadgets attached to my child, he could care less as long as he gets cool belts for them. The health and emotional benefits outway all the previously mentioned things for our family.
  8. 5kids4me

    5kids4me Approved members

    Sep 28, 2010
    We used pens...almost from the start. My son's insulin needs were next to nothing for a while so we didn't see an issue with leak back. My son (who is 10) now uses the Omnipod pump -started pumping 7 months post dx. Really, while it works great for my son, pumping isn't for everyone...to be honest, if I were the one needing insulin, I don't think I would want to pump :eek:. Our endo does not pump anymore (has had t1d for 40+ years) he uses a cgm and insulin pens with wonderful results.

    If your son is wanting more independence in self injecting, the pens might be the way to go. My son found them easy to use and with the smallest pen needles, (almost) painless. If you want to start looking into pumping, look around at the choices but don't feel any "peer pressure" because many here use a pump. Only you know what's best for your child. Good luck to you and your son.:)
  9. Serenia

    Serenia Approved members

    Jun 15, 2012
    The hospital where my son was diagnosed only stopped using syringes earlier this year.

    We have been using PENS right from the start. Admittedly the diagnosis was made only last week. I LOVE the pens, so easy to use. So easy to dial up the units.

    I would hate to have to use a syringe where I cannot control very well how much I draw up - it might be too much or too little. The pens do it all for you.

    My son is also 10 years old, and while he is already poking his finger and doing the meter readings, he wont be doing the injections until he is at least 12 or 13 - unless we switch to pumps before then.
  10. Deal

    Deal Approved members

    Nov 2, 2009
    Do you have the NovoPen Echo? It's available in Canada but not the US. It is a pretty big improvement over the older models. If you don't have it, ask for it at your endo's office.
  11. Serenia

    Serenia Approved members

    Jun 15, 2012
    We have two Novopen 4's - by NovoNordisk

    We have to have 2 pens - one for the NPH, and the other for the Novorapide.

    I am very happy with these pens - and I'm not in any hurry to change. :D
  12. MamaLibby

    MamaLibby Approved members

    Oct 30, 2011
    My DD used MDI with both syringes and pens for 4.5 years before moving to a pump. While I wish we'd been able to move a year earlier, I wouldn't have been able to pump so soon after dx. It's a personal preference... We love our pump almost 4 years later. Don't feel peer pressure. If your wife and son aren't ready to pump, leave it alone for a bit and try bringing the subject again in a few weeks (the next endo visit would probably be a good place to have the discussion) In my opinion, ultimately it's your son's disease, and his body and he's old enough to have a say in his care.
  13. Sarah Maddie's Mom

    Sarah Maddie's Mom Approved members

    Sep 23, 2007
  14. nanhsot

    nanhsot Approved members

    Feb 20, 2010

    We started with pens and quickly moved to syringes, for us it felt more accurate, more exact. I highly recommend getting syringes with half unit markings though, my pharmacy has to special order, no idea if they are readily available elsewhere but they definitely make life easier. Too much leakback with pens, just like the portability of a syringe for whatever reason.

    Still get lantus in pen form though...and just draw from the syringe, otherwise we were wasting too much (he uses a small dose of lantus during football season).

    Been on pump for over a year now, almost 2 actually and can't imagine anything else. Every so often he switches back to shots and it lasts maybe a day or less, life is sooo much simpler on pump. It is a scary concept, but being able to change basal hour by hour and being able to eat whenever, priceless. Being able to extend a shot over a few hours for things like pizza, being able to raise or lower the basal when sick, lots of things make pumping so much easier.

    My son was reluctant to go onto pump, but we had met our insurance deductible and our MD advised us just to order, even if it sat on the shelf, since it would save us money. We did that and told him it was totally his choice when he wanted to start using it. Well, once it arrived he immediately went for it and never looked back!

    As far as giving shots, my son has always done that, but he was a bit older at diagnosis. I could probably count on two hands the number of shots I have administered, he's in charge and always has been. So I would look to your son for readiness. If he still wants help, that's fine, if he wants to try it, then allow. Go slow, trust his instincts, verify his ability, it'll all come together.
  15. MomofSweetOne

    MomofSweetOne Approved members

    Aug 28, 2011
    My daughter preferred the Huamlog Luxura pen for the independence it gave her. (She started on insulin the day before her 11th birthday.) She was able to administer her insulin herself without having to have adults trained in drawing up. I loved it for this reason. I also liked the 1/2 units that the cartridge pen could do.

    She didn't like the Lantus pen. We still ordered them, as one pen would last a month, but we drew out of it with a syringe.

    We switched to pumping/CGMing after 13 months, and she has no desire for a pump break (well, she'd like to leave D behind some days). I was scared stiff of the DKA risk with dropping Lantus out, but with the CGM monitoring, we've only had one instance with ketones and that due to my error.
  16. momof2greatkids

    momof2greatkids Approved members

    Jan 4, 2011
    My daughter was diagnosed a month before her 11th birthday. They started us on pens in the hospital, and that's what we've stayed with. We love how easy it is to just throw them in a purse and go. Its so easy to dial up the right amount of insulin.

    Before my husband went on a pump, I would sometimes give him shots, and I always hated doing it. For some reason, pens don't seem as intimidating to me. Its really just personal preference on how your son gets his injectons. Even if he prefers the pen as he's starting to give himself shots, you could still use syringes when doing it.

    We had assumed that my daughter would go on a pump right away, but she's never shown any interest. We've made sure she's informed about pumping, but at this point its her call if and when she gets a pump.

    I would say if your son is interested in giving his own injections, he's old enough. Just make sure he knows you're there to take over anytime he needs a break.
  17. hdm42

    hdm42 Approved members

    May 1, 2008
    My son was dx'd at age 9, and we used pens from the moment they took him off the IV in the hospital. We use the novopen4 and the Levemir flex pen. We use the BD Ultra Fine mini pen needles. They are 5mm long.
    We are approaching 5 years since dx, and my son has no interest in pumping.
    We like the pens. They are easy to handle, easy to carry, and not super obvious what you're doing when he's out and about.

    I did the shots for him initially. He started testing himself fairly quickly (maybe a week?), and he started doing his own shots on a regular basis about 3 months in.

    Yes, lots of people pump, but don't let that influence you. You have to do what works for your child and your family.
  18. Deal

    Deal Approved members

    Nov 2, 2009
    Thw Novopen 4 is the Adult version of the Echo. The only difference I noticed is that it dials the insulin by the full unit, versus the Echo which uses half units.

    So if your son really becomes sensitive to insulin or has a strong honeymoon where one unit of insulin covers so many carbs that you want to have the option of 1/2 units then you could consider asking for the switch.
  19. maciasfamily

    maciasfamily Approved members

    Feb 15, 2012
    We used syringes from the start, and then switched to pens because we were having an insurance issue...getting 2 vials for home/daycare. Pens we would get 5 vials so we did that instead.

    The pens are definitely heavy and feel bulky. You have to hold them just right, and my hubby could never get comfortable giving them to our son. I loved the dial part! But we had a lot of 'wet' shots, even after counting to 10 or 15 and slowly taking it out.

    We had to switch back to syringes since he's now on diluted insulin, and honestly I like the syringes better. Our son also doesn't say ouch as much with them, and he did with the pen.

    Since your son is older, he probably would like the pen more.

    As others suggested, I too watch tons of youtube videos, and it was really helpful. I think your son would like seeing other kiddos changings their sites, etc and maybe for the future consider one.
  20. hawkeyegirl

    hawkeyegirl Approved members

    Nov 15, 2007
    Pens vs. syringes are very much a matter of personal preference. I hated the pens. They were bulky and awkward to hold, we had significant leakback, and I wasn't able to dose in quarter-units like I could with syringes. Also, my son was more scared of them, as they were "bigger." (He was 3, and didn't get that the needles on the pens were actually slightly smaller.) Also because he was 3, holding them in for 10 seconds was torture for everyone involved.

    We started pumping 5 months in and have never looked back. We got our "normal" life back the day we started on the pump.

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