I’m still a newbie in the insulin pumping world, when it comes to other PWD (People With Diabetes) writing about their life with an insulin pump. Take for example a blog post by Karen at Bitter Sweet – she is using virgin territory on her body – her stomach – to place her infusion sets now. Due to using her tummy for years with MDI (Multiple Dosage Injections) – scar tissue had formed – so she avoided the area while it healed. I’ve always considered myself lucky not to have “yet” experienced that – since I’ve been a human dart board for over 40 years – but then – I rotate, rotate – just like we do with our mattress (yikes – I think that needs turning over – pump up the muscles in the arm for that old heave hoe).
Last night it was infusion change time. I only fill up my insulin reservoir of my Animas 2020 with enough to get me by for 2 days with abit to spare for those "what if's" – as I try to be diligent about changing the infusion site every 48 hours – so that scar tissue doesn’t form where the infusion is set in. Nondiabetics will be going – huh? Well, anything you have lodged in your skin, in the same spot for a period of time, starts to develop a thicker skin underneath - aka scar tissue. You can’t see this visually, but it’s underneath, and when scarring develops, if you MDI or place an infusion set in place, you’ll either feel it upon entry – ouch - from what I’ve read from others or your blood sugars will go wacky due to the insulin not being absorbed properly into your body due to the thicker skin. As George Simmons aka Ninjabetic puts it – “ It’s a guessing game ”.
I’m not sure what happened last night with my infusion change. I’ve been using a straight needle infusion set, called a Contact Detach / Sure-T. It’s not got any fancy gadgets like some of the preloaded infusion sets have for automatically implanting into you – it’s just a 26 gauge needle which surprisingly enough I don’t feel when you compare it against the 32 gauge pen needles I use which are even thinner (the higher up the number in gauge the slimmer the needle). The length of the needle depends on your fat composition – I am well endowed – so use a 8 mm length (I use 6 mm in my legs due to muscles there). It’s inserted similar to how you would put a needle in. Very simple, and I have been using this since I have an allergic reaction to the Teflon cannula that I used prior to finally finding this type of infusion set. Even better, this infusion set when removed leaves next to no marking that it had been there – with the others I used to have raised bumps that were itchy or bleeding when pulling out the infusion set for a change. The other nice thing – I can see where it’s going – so I’m spot on with putting it in a good area of skin – though for some reason – yesterday that didn’t help me one bit.
So, here I am, tubing is primed, area for infusion set all clean, and I put the infusion set in. Something didn’t feel right, it was as if I’d hit a muscle, since when I moved to place the other portion of the infusion set on my body, each move I made I felt this twinge. I patted around the area, and it didn’t feel good. The thing I like about this infusion set is that it can be removed and reinserted. The manufacturer doesn’t recommend this, but I’d seen a friend of mine Nel Peach do this one time when she had a little emergency situation with her blood sugars going wacky – and her infusion set (a Sure T) had been in place for longer than it should have been. Yesterday was the first time I’ve ever had to do this, so I was abit apprehensive, but figured …. “If Nel can do it, so can I!”. So, I pulled the infusion set out, and went a bit over to where it had been originally.
Second try … NOT SUCCESSFUL. Same feelings all over again where I’ve now placed the infusion set. By now, I’m beginning to get upset, which I rarely do. I called my hubby Mike over (he was doing some dry wall plastering) throwing out demands to him - I’d become a major at this point in time – as I was on a mission to get this infusion set in correctly. Off he went to get some Skin Prep since the adhesive on the infusion set after being pulled out a second time was starting to lose its power. By now I’m starting to weep abit, not because of pain, but frustration. Is it scarring I’ve hit – despite this area not having been touched in almost 3 months? Could it be muscles despite my stomach area being a belly dancers dream for wiggle jiggle with the Dance of the Seven Veils? I was right pissed off.
In comes Mike with what I’ve asked him for and because his hands aren’t clean, I’m trying to keep the infusion set needle sterile and the tubing keeps on making it want to go another way to a surface that’s not good - grrrrhhh. Now is the time I wish I had another set of hands, even if it would make me look like a freak. The other thing that starts going through my mind, I’m 50 now, what will I be like 20 years from now when having to handle these little problems. Not good to start thinking things like that is it? I get on with the job of prepping the surface for Round 3 – fighting gloves on – this infusion set is going to work God dammit!! In slides the needle, and it goes in like a well oiled cog, no weird feelings, I can move without feeling a tweak.
I’ve felt around the area where I had the problem, which is only 1” away from where the failed infusion sites were – and don’t feel anything underneath the surface. I’m hoping this is a one of thing or is something that only occurs every 3 years (I started pumping in October 2008).