Diabetic device lets 6-year-old run, swim and play again

2008-03-24T00:00:00Z Diabetic device lets 6-year-old run, swim and play againROB EARNSHAW
Times Correspondent
March 24, 2008 12:00 am  • 

Six-year-old Caleb Heminger of Valparaiso has been a Type 1 insulin-dependant diabetic since 2003.

Just because he had gotten used to six to 10 injections a day for the last four years doesn't mean it should have to continue. Not when it disrupts everyday kid stuff like running, swimming and playing.

Thanks to a new insulin management system, Caleb can be a regular kid again.

"He loves it," said Caleb's mom, Heather Heminger. "He even showed it to his class."

The OmniPod is a two-part, user friendly, tubeless, easy way to manage a child's diabetes.

The pod itself is wearable, watertight and delivers insulin for up to three days. With a full reservoir, the pod weighs only 1.2 ounces and is self-adhesive on any insulin-administered site on the body including the stomach, behind the arm or the fanny.

It's worn for three days prior to being changed, and in those three days, the pod delivers "just one little poke."

"It's no big deal," Caleb said of the injection.

Part two of the OmniPod system is the Personal Diabetes Manager. It's basically a remote control, but the instruction manual says people either think it looks like "the coolest cell phone or MP3 player."

The PMD programs the OmniPod with personalized insulin delivery instructions and has numerous features including a built-in suggested-dosage calculator and food reference library. The device also stores, displays and downloads insulin delivery, blood glucose and carbohydrate records.

"Caleb's life source is the remote," his mother said. "You're completely controlling his blood sugars by remote. It's like a meter."

The OmniPod comes in a box of 10 and the Heminger family receives a three-month supply. Heather said that without insurance, the system would cost approximately $35 every three days.

"With insurance it depends on your coverage," she said.

Caleb's blood sugar levels have shown a huge improvement in the month he's been using it, his mom said. The OmniPod is not an option until one year after diagnosis, and even then requires training for the users. Heather and her husband Ron took a class on the OmniPod at Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis where Caleb received his new pump.

Jill Meier, RN, CPNP, coordinator for the insulin pump program at Riley, said she's used the OmniPod on everyone from toddlers to adults -- kids especially because they may be involved in sports and prefer it to tube pumps that need to be disconnected prior to swimming, unlike the OmniPod, which is waterproof.

"It's the best thing out there, it has a lot more flexibility," Meier said.

"You're not having injections on a daily basis. It's easier."

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