LifeAfterDx--Diabetes Uncensored

A internet journal from one of the first T1 Diabetics to use continuous glucose monitoring. Copyright 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016

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Location: New Mexico, United States

Hi! I’m William “Lee” Dubois (called either Wil or Lee, depending what part of the internet you’re on). I’m a diabetes columnist and the author of four books about diabetes that have collectively won 16 national and international book awards. (Hey, if you can’t brag about yourself on your own blog, where can you??) I have the great good fortune to pen the edgy Dear Abby-style advice column every Saturday at Diabetes Mine; write the Diabetes Simplified column for dLife; and am one of the ShareCare diabetes experts. My work also appears in Diabetic Living and Diabetes Self-Management magazines. In addition to writing, I’ve spent the last half-dozen years running the diabetes education program for a rural non-profit clinic in the mountains of New Mexico. Don’t worry, I’ll get some rest after the cure. LifeAfterDx is my personal home base, where I get to say what and how I feel about diabetes and… you know… life, free from the red pens of editors (all of whom I adore, of course!).

Monday, April 30, 2007

Pumping 102

I’ve become addicted to MedT’s Quick-serter device for putting in infusion sets. It’s kind of like buying a car with power windows. Well, sure you could go back to rolling up your windows by hand; just like we could go back to hunting and gathering if economy and society completely collapsed. Yeah, right.

For those of you new to pumps the infusion set is another disposable. It is how the insulin gets from the pump to your body. The set consists of a coupling that hooks on to the reservoir, a thin plastic hose of varying lengths, and an IV-type needle and cannula on the other end. Don’t panic!

The needle is only a guide. You put it in yourself only briefly and then pull it out. It really doesn’t hurt most people most times. Fingersticks are worse. The business end of the set has a very thin cannula, think of it as a garden hose for Tinkerbelle (currently the love of Rio’s life). It is a tinny, super thin hose. They come in 9mm length for most of us and 6mm for children and the super skinny or super athletic who have no body fat whatsoever. I’m on the lean side, and I’ve still got plenty of subQ body fat for the 9 mil.

In a nut shell if you pump you stick a needle into your stomach once every three days. If you stick to shots you do it four to six times per day. If you’re diabetic, your world is full of sharp objects. Period.

Also on the business end of the set are varying types of tape to hold the set firmly onto your body. More on that in a bit.

Now with my CoZmo pump, I used Comfort sets. I had to pinch up a little bit of skin and slowly slide the needle in by hand. Smooth out the sticky tape to hold it to my stomach, then gently pull the needle back out, just leaving the cannula behind. It really isn’t a big deal after the first time. We won’t talk about the first time.

To use the Quick-serter, on the other hand, you just slip the infusion set into the springy-snappy-inserter-thingy. Pull back on the top to cock it. Hold it against your skin and….Wait! Stop! You forgot to take off the needle guard! That big upside-down funnel made of blue (of course) plastic. MedT must have gotten a really good deal on blue plastic dye back in 1968. They still have another 24 years of inventory, so get use to the blue…

I have no idea what would happen if you tired to Quick-serter that big upside-down funnel into your body, but I think it would be bad. So take the cover sheet off of the sticky tape, take off the funnel-shaped needle guard, then hold the Quick-serter against your skin, thumb and forefinger on the buttons on each side, take breath for good measure, squeeze the buttons, and….

And that’s it. You’re done. So anti-climatic. The needle is in, you don’t feel a thing. You pull the needle out, snap the needle guard closed (another cool MedT innovation) and you are finished.

Oops, hell. Forgot the IV Prep. Well, doubt it will be a problem, this tape is like super glue! IV Prep is a sticky liquid that both cleans the skin and helps the tape to stick better. It comes in little toweletts that remind me of the ones you used to get with Kentucky Fried Chicken orders. Only they don’t have that wonderful lemon smell.

I’ve used MedT sets both with and without IV Prep and they work fine both ways. The glue is very strong, but it doesn’t bother my skin (knock on wood to ward off evil). I also don’t bother with a “safety loop” either. Some pumpers, especially older ones, create a loop of tubing against their skin and hold it down with various types of tape. Theory is, it gives you a bit of extra cord if your tubing gets caught on something, which it will. Door knobs and stove dials just love infusion tubing.

I just tuck a loop into my underwear band. Never lost a set in my life and I get tangled up as often as the next guy.

One other cool thing about this set is that, being straight in rather than angled, the set is circular. You can insert it just about anywhere and angle the hose in any direction you want. I like that.

The connect/disconnect/reconnect is pretty slick too. Pinch the hub, rotate 1/8 turn, take it off. You are free from your tether. Also free from your life support system, so don’t dilly-dally too much. Still, I like to disconnect for my AM shower; partly for freedom and partly ‘cause ParaPump, mike most monkeys, really doesn’t like water much. I hear that other pumpers like to disconnect for intimate moments. I can’t speak to that personally ‘cause I’ve been married for 18 years and we have a wild five year old who never sleeps. No intimacy in my life.

Next time: prime and rewind


Blogger Megan said...

I use the Quick-sets with my Cozmo sometimes, I generally have better luck getting the Cleos to stick though. I'm pretty sure I've tried literally every set on the market by now.

10:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

if you forget the little blue needle guard on, the most you get is a thought of "huh, that felt weird" and a bit of a red circle on the skin that goes away fairly quickly. the spring is not strong enough to cause a bruise with the guard.. at least not for me. just be careful when pulling the serter up that you don't tangle the sticky stuff (or drop the set), push it back into the serter then remove the guard and try again. if you remove the guard first, it's hard to get the set back into the serter properly. :)

7:27 AM  

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