“I know what an insulin pump is, but what is this MDI business?” This is one of the very first questions I asked my online Type 1 family. I learned that the pump and MDI are the two ways a diabetic can receive insulin.
MDI = Multiple Daily Injections
Some Type 1 Diabetics choose to do multiple daily injections to get their insulin. This means they give themselves a calculated dose of fast-acting insulin via an insulin pen or shot at each meal and snack. They also give themselves one dose of basal (slow-acting) insulin via shot a day.
When Luke was first diagnosed, we were MDI. Luke would give himself an injection of Humalog (fast-acting insulin) before each meal & snack. He had to wait 2-3 hours before he could give himself another injection. This meant he had to decide not only what he wanted to eat, but how much he wanted to eat before each meal. If he was still hungry, he would have two options- 1. Wait another two hours to eat a snack. 2. Eat snacks that didn’t have carbs. Then, each evening before bed, he would give himself a shot of Lantus (basal insulin) and eat a bedtime snack.
In November, Luke was able to switch over from MDI to an insulin pump. There is much more freedom with Type 1 and a pump. Luke can pretty much eat whenever he wants. At a meal, he can fill his plate, eat it, and if he’s still hungry, he can go back for seconds and just enter more carbs into his pump. If we have a meal and then go out for ice cream, it’s not a big deal. He can just enter it into his pump. Party at school? No problem! Calculate the carbs and put it in the pump. Another bonus of the pump is how inconspicuous it is at restaurants, compared to pulling out a needle and insulin pen. Most of the time, I don’t even notice him entering the carb count. Needless to say, Luke LOVES his pump! It makes him feel a little more like everyone else… which is very important to us.