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Length Matters.

Since I started pumping back in 2004, I've been using the Minimed Paradigm Quick-Sets with 23" tubing and a 6 mm cannula.  (For folks who aren't pumping or who have no idea what I'm talking about, the tubing is the part of the pump that connects the physical pump to the infusion set on my body.  The cannula is the tiny plastic tube that goes into my skin.)

I'm a creature of habit and I'm pretty resistant to change.  But insulin absorption has been crummy on my thighs lately and I've been trying to use my lower back "real estate" more often.  

Thing is, the shorter pump tubing doesn't reach from my back to my sock - no sock trick on those days.  And while I liked the reliable absorption of a new site, I still prefer to keep my pump on the downlow - literally.

So I sucked it up and made a change to my last order of pump supplies: 

A little tubing goes a long way.

Cannula is the same length, but the tubing is 20 " longer.  Now I can wear the pump on my back and still snake the tubing down my leg and into my sock

This tubing is looooooong.  It took over 13 units to prime (versus the 6 1/2 units for the 23 " tube).

The stuff is long enough for the pump to not only hit the floor if it happens to drop from my hand while changing, but even has enough slack for the tubing to coil around like a snake.  It's also long enough to become completely tangled in while changing into my gym clothes after work.  Long enough to take over a full minute to check for air bubbles. 

It's long enough to wrap around my waist and tie into a jaunty bow. Long enough that I can leave my pump on my desk at work and make it home without missing a unit. Long enough that I could knit up a freaking scarf with this tubing and still have enough left over to go fly fishing.

This new tubing gig is just about 2/3 the length of my whole darn body!  I feel like I'm part spider, weaving this weird insulin-filled web.  But this new length option is letting me explore different infusion site real estate while keeping with my fashion preferences

It's all about hitting a blood sugar stride ... and not having my pump fall into the toilet in the process.* 

(*Kerri: 40,800, Pump: Almost 3.)


I've only used the short tubing a couple of times when I had a sample of a new-style infusion set to try, and it drives me bonkers. Every time I went to the bathroom, I felt it pulling and had to be careful. I don't notice or think about it so much with the long tubing. I also like that I can set it on the floor or bed or dressing room bench, and still maneuver pretty well. In the end, it's just what you're used to though so for me, the short tubing is only a last resort.

It's weird how what you start with becomes your comfort zone. I started with the shorter tubing, and now this long snake of insulin is an adjustment for sure. But it does offer more freedom than the short stuff, and I'm glad that I didn't have to jump through INSURANCE HOOPS OF FIRE to have new sets shipped out. ;)

I've ALWAYS used the longer tubing (but that could also be because of my freakish height).

TMI - I was shipped the 23" once but I'd have to hold the pump during every trip to the ladies room which was enough to make me want to stop pumping.

The real question is can you throw it over your shoulder like a continental soldier? :D

I have been using the back of my arm recently and I need like an inch or two more of tubing for it to be totally comfortable but I am unwilling to make the jump to two more feet of tubing.

I'm making the same jump next time I order new supplies.

that is so funny, kerri! i JUST made the same decision to switch to the 43'' tubing on my last order... haven't tried it yet, but i am already imagining knitting pump tubing sweaters.

Have you ever tried the other infusion set? Its called the silouette or something like that. I am thin as well and was having site problems. I like it a lot more becasue you don't need the "quick serter" blue thing. It is manual.

Yay! Lots of other people oscillating between long and shorter tubing. We are rebels. ;)

And Meg - I've never tried those infusion sets. I have a whole mess of the Quicksets, so switching to a new kind would be against my "creature of habit" tendencies, but maybe I should get my hands on a few and give those a try. I think Sara uses those.

Sara, you use those, don't you??

Yeah, I used the quick sets for years, but sometimes you can get a couple freebees to try from the endo- then, if you like them, medtronic usually can exchange them one for one! They can go anywhere and I haven't had any absorbtion issues!

We used to use the Quicksets on my 4 year old. He kept getting kinked, so very reluctantly I switched to the Silhouettes. Bery freaky at first to use that ginormous (is that a word?)needle without an inserter. It was terrible to make the switch, but once we did I was super glad. He can wear the sets almost anywhere. We still use the inserter thing, but is nice to have the option to do it without. In retrospect, if you can do a CGM needle, you can do a Silhouette.

I'm forced to use the longer tubing. But as a man, it's annoying (TMI warning) because it has a tendency to get wrapped around things it shoudln't. Ouch.

I love the longer tubing. When I started pumping last summer, I split my order in half -- 23 and 43. The 23 tubing frustrates me, because I tend to forget where the pump is, and then I get snagged.

I switched my order to all 43 in November, and I love it. So much easier to put the pump in non traditional places -- like to go from my hip to my bra (where the pump lives) -- and to give to my endo during a follow appointment. He looks at my numbers, and I never have to disconnect.

I'm actually having the opposite frustration now. I switched to a 6 mm site this week, and the only samples I could get were in the 23-inch tubing. I keep catching on things!

I really want a 30 inch tube (hello, mfr's are you listening?). 43 is a little long and seems to waste a lot of insulin. 23 is way too short though for me. As with most things bigD, your mileage may vary. :)

I am a 43 inch user since day one ( 2001 ), would not consider going shorter .Fortunately never have dropped my pump in the toilet. Presently using the Silhouette, (because I started to have issues with previous sets ) and started out with inserting manually ( about 3 months and A1C a bit up ) and found my numbers to be much better, when I decided to use the serter ...a better angle , better pressure , I suppose .Since I am a frugal gal I get the 5 infusion sets and 5 infusion and tubing sets per box .Not certain if this really works out cheaper, as I have done a few " extra" infusion set changes and am now left with 2 open packages of tubing .

By the way a big day for US and Canadian relationships , Pres. Obama's visit to Ottawa

LOL. You make me laugh Kerri.

I can't stand the longer tubing. Plus the WASTE of insulin makes me cringe, that stuff is expensive, I need it in ME, not the on the carpet or down the drain Every time I refill, wt...

I oscillate wildly between type of set, but the one thing I never change is the length of the tubing. I'm a long tubing fan. I love that I can wear my pump in my boots and have the infusion set in my arm. I love that I can roll over twice in my sleep and still not wind up lying on my pump. And, being kind of clumsy, I love that when I drop my pump it tends to land, rather than pull out the site. Or when I snag on a door handle I get a couple of paces to stop before the site is ruined.

When I first ordered Easy Sets (same as Sure-T, I think) they arrived with the shorter tubing. When I phoned up to change them I was told, quite sternly that they "don't do Easy Sets with long tubing. They are meant for children". Well... sorry!

I've used 43" tubing because I put the pump on my waist line and want to be able to drop my pants and not have it rip at the site on my belly.

I keep meaning to ask why you don't seem to use your belly for any infusion sites? I've had great luck with mine and I just snake the extra tubing in a loop in my undies. Makes a weird swirly impression sometimes. :)

43" inch-er here (it only sounds dirty when not on a diabetes blog!)

At 6'3", I need the longer tubing. I tend to set my site orbiting just above my waist, and either shove the pump in my pocket (daytime) or clipped to my PJ pants (nite time). If I ever need to drop trou, I don't want to have to disconnect.

I can't really say this is a creature of habit thing for me, as I've only had my pump since Oct - but I am guilty of not trying out the "competition" - I just can't see it being as convenient...

here's my weird question - Ian uses 23". It takes routinely between 14/15u to fill with his cozmo. Why???????

To answer meg - we use sil's (comfort shorts, same thing) and insert them manually. They're wonderful for people with no fat because you can control the depth of insertion. Plus, they rarely kink. And when they do kink, they keep on keeping on.

i'm short, and i've always used the short tubing. now i see reasons why i might like the longer tubing. i'm calling animas now!

I just took up real estate on my back side for the first time. Better absorption is definitely a perk but I sometime forget and nearly rip the thing out when I pull my pants down in the bathroom. Yikes! I have often wondered how everyone who puts their pump some place else can manage with the shorter tubing. Does the longer tubing get crazy tangled at night? I think it would make be feel like I was caught in a volleyball net! NO THANK YOU!

I'm not a pumper, but having had to use other items with tubing (vacuum pumps, infusion pumps, etc, I'm VERY surprised that what you and others describe seem to be inflexible in length rather than being adjustable. Like being able to cut the length to just what you need and have a small attachment/connector that handles the sealing side of things. I'm really surprised no one's come up with something like this.

To answer your question from the comments above...

I use the Sure-T. I was having trouble with Quick-set's kinking and Sure-Ts are a steel needing set instead of a plastic cannual so they 'can't kink.

For Caro, some people will order a box of Sils with longer tubing when they order the Sure-Ts because the connection is the same.

You may be interested in this vlog if you want to see a Sure-T in action.

When I was using quick sets, I ordered both lengths so I had the longer ones for some sites.
Now I'm using Cleos, and they come in 30". The perfect length for all my sites!

Wow, your prime with the 23" tubing is 6.5? It takes me a minimum of 9 units to prime mine.

When I first ordered my sets, I ordered the 43" tubing, but was reprimanded by the woman on the phone. "Oh, that's not right for you, it would swallow you whole" I just trusted her because it was my first order. While I haven't had too much trouble easily reaching all my intended places, it would be really nice to have the pump in my boot and the site on my arm since these are my favorite spots for each.

I LOVE the long tubing....I hate when I wear short tubing and it pulls my skin. yuck. I like the long tubing because when I sleep it comes nicely with me, or just lays and hangs out while I have wild and crazy dreams.

What about all the good things that long tubing can do? At night when I'm wearing pjs and my cord is hanging out...it is beneficial to open cabinet doors. If your pump decides to bungee jump from your pants or socks..it will hit the floor before it pulls at your actual site. You can use it as a lasso in case your hubby tries to get away from you! In dressing rooms, you can freak other people out by clipping it to the top of your shirt and coming out of the dressing room to go look in the mirror (people wonder why your pager has a tube connected to it).

As a shorty (5'1") I get on better with the 23", but I do hate getting changed. I really found the 43" too enormous & slow to prime & get the insulin to my body (thanks nel peach I forgot about waste). Plus I use silhouettes as they fit closer to the body & at an angel (who injects straight down!) & they seem better attached to me. The down side is conecting them, I can't bring myself to shove such a large needle in myself slowly & carefully, & I didn't like the angle the inserter put it in, so fortunately my husband does it for me, unless he's away, then I use the quicksets!

I've been recently been contemplating switching to the 43 for similar sock reasons. I hate the idea (why don't they make a 26 or 30?). For me, it's b/c I'm 5'8 and just need a few tiny more inches to make sure it's comfy in the top of my sock and can curl to the inside of my leg if I want... I'm sure you'll get used to it, but change is hard, especially diabetes supply change.

When I got my pump, they sent me both lengths so I could see what I like best. I'm a 23" fan. I still have a few of the 43" left, because why throw them out? I accidentally packed one and used it in San Diego - and I felt like I was constantly trying to keep that sucker tucked in. I even managed to get it all tangled up in my purse handle during our blogger meet-up!

After hanging with G-Money for a while, I can officially say that the sock thing ROCKS!

I read something on TUDIABETES the other day according to John Walsh , writer of Pumping Insulin etc ... which caught my fancy ...put some tape over the tubing about 2 inches away from the infusion set in order to keep the set more or less secure ...may prevent from unexplainable highs ...this way it may not get pulled away and out !!

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