I took multiple daily injections for 29 years. I started off with pork insulin and a meter that took a huge drop of blood and 30 seconds to register a reading that could be off by 20%. At the time, I was taught about how much better off I was than the people of the previous generation, who didn’t have BG meters and had to guess after the fact based on urinary ketone strips. And the generation before that didn’t even have insulin, so there was nothing anyone could do except watch patients waste away and die over the course of a few painful months. I understood how lucky I was, but it was still a lot of work, knowledge, and planning to keep my health on track. Now I’ve got a CGM and closed loop pump, and boy has it been a big step forward. My A1C dropped from around 7.3 to around 6.4. I can trust the pump to make real-time adjustments if my bolus calculations are a little off. I was visiting friends and they had popcorn out and it hit me that I could just have some popcorn between meals and the pump would take care of it. If I’m not sure about my blood sugar, I can instantly get an accurate reading and a graph of the last few hours instead of having to prick my callused fingers again. If I’m at a wedding or something and there’s an extended multi-course meal, I can bolus at each stage with the touch of a few buttons. No need for an extra needle, no need to excuse myself to the bathroom, no need to wrestle with getting formalwear on and off in the confines of a bathroom stall, no need to remember and guess at every thing I’ve eaten and will likely eat soon. If I’m traveling, I can let the pump take care of the basal rate without having to figure out how to handle my NPH shots while flying over several time zones.
Being diabetic is still a lot. And I have to be vigilant lest the pump fail or the CGM go off track. But it’s still a big weight off my shoulders from what it was a decade ago. The tech has really advanced, especially in the last few years.
Your daughter still has a life-threatening condition. She still has to be careful and mindful about food and activities. It’s still effort and stress and expense. And it’s a lot to put on you as a parent, too.
But I absolutely have marveled to non-diabetic friends about how much of a difference the technological advances have made. And I am very glad that you and your daughter have technology that can shoulder a big chunk of the burden. You’ve got it easier than my parents and I did when I was a kid. Less risk, better insulin, better tools, less need to meticulously measure and calculate every thing she eats and does, less need to stick to a rigid daily plan. I’m sorry for all you still have to deal with, but I’m very appreciative of the marvels of modern technology.
As has been said, it’s likely your neighbor heard something similar to the top of my message from his coworker and was just parroting that. When you told him that it wasn’t that easy, he acknowledged it.
So, yes. He doesn’t understand because he hasn’t lived it. He could have been more sensitive about the stress and burden your family bears. But a reliable CGM and a closed loop pump is an amazing step forward that we’ve been dreaming about for decades.
Heck, I majored in biomechanical engineering at MIT in the late 90s. Unfortunately, due to other health issues, I had to go on indefinite medical leave. But I was there, on campus, when a researcher developed the material necessary to make a CGM even possible, and I immediately started talking to a biology major in my dorm about sketching out designs for a closed loop pump and started researching materials we could use. I was so excited to make that my career. It took fully 20 years to get from that point to the first available pump that could adjust basal rate to CGM readings. I wish I could have been part of it. But I am so appreciative that we finally got here. And it’ll keep getting better. (Until someday maybe we’ll have a cure…)
It’s important not to get carried away in either direction, though. It’s too easy to slip into the trap of letting the pump do more than it’s designed to handle. I’ve known irresponsible diabetics who don’t want to do the work or acknowledge the reality, and would rather just binge eat and not worry about the consequences. And unfortunately the advances in technology have made it easier to just wave it away and say the pump will handle it all. I hope your neighbor’s coworker isn’t in that category.