Diabetic to lose her pump and sleep

MARYANNE TWENTYMAN
Last updated 08:11 28/03/2011
Diabetes
DONNA WALSH/Waikato Times
BETTER THAN DAILY INJECTIONS: Hamilton mother Sally Robins shows her son Jaxon, 2, the insulin pump that she wants to get fully funded in the hope of managing her diabetes more effectively.

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A Hamilton mother with type 1 diabetes says she'll have to remortgage her home to buy an automated insulin pump that is readily available in other countries around the world.

And while the Waikato District Health Board makes pumps more available than most DHBs, Sally Robins said she was expected to return her insulin pump two weeks after giving birth to her second child, due in about six weeks.

The pump delivers insulin automatically rather than Ms Robins having to manually inject herself a number of times each day. and she said going back to self-injecting would have a big impact.

"It is really daunting because I have never felt better since being on the pump and the thought of having to go back to seven manual pen injections per day is just awful," she said.

But DHB planning and funding general manager Brett Paradine said the pumps were an expensive way of delivering insulin, and funding was targeted at people who met clinically developed criteria.

"For those people we fund the full cost of the pump and make a contribution to the consumables that covers most or all of the cost of these," Mr Paradine said.

Waikato Diabetic Clinic clinical director Dr Peter Dunn said the clinically developed criteria were aimed at people with extreme diabetes who were more at risk of hypoglycaemic (low blood sugar) comas.

That criterion does not extend to Ms Robins, 23, who is currently affected by one hypoglycaemic attack roughly every year to 18 months. She and husband Jonathan are now pricing up insulin pumps which cost $5000-$8500 with continuing costs of $180-$250 a month for equipment.

"I struggle to understand when they [the Government] pay over and over for self-inflicted conditions and illnesses but here I am struggling with type 1 diabetes that just happened. It had nothing to do with eating or size  it just happened," she said.

Ms Robins, who also has nocturnal epilepsy causing seizures in her sleep, said the manual injections included one at 4am each day, resulting in broken sleep.

"Which is not great when you are trying to get as much sleep as possible to ensure a healthy milk supply for baby."

Ms Robins was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of 13, just two months before starting high school.

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- Waikato Times

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