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Hawkey Playah.

I clicked the button on my Dexcom receiver and saw a "212 mg/dl" with two arrows pointed straight on up.  This was the third effortless high in as many hours, and I was convinced my pump site had crapped out.

"I am going to run to the bathroom.  I need to switch out my site," I said to Chris, moving my napkin from my lap to the table.  "Do you mind sitting here ..."

"At this giant hibachi table all by myself?  Sure," he grinned, gesturing towards all the empty seats.  

"I know.  I hope this table fills up while I'm gone.  Otherwise this is going to be awkward, just us and the hibachi chef guy."  I patted his shoulder as I stood up from the table, the small, gray inset tucked into my hand. 

I am not a fan of doing site changes outside of the comfort of my home. When I'm at home, I prefer to put the new infusion set, insulin cartridge, the bottle of Humalog, and any other necessary accoutrements on the bathroom counter.  I like looking in the mirror to see where the site is going to end up, because I have specific preferences as to where it lines up with the waistband of my pants or the sleeves of my shirts.  Picky little parsnip that I am, I like putting my new sites on in a measured manner.  

So when it became clear that my pump site has conked out on me and needed to be changed immediately, my first thought was "thank goodness I carry a purse big enough to throw a spare set into" and then "Oh shoot - now I have to do this in the public bathroom?"

I went into the ladies' room and was greeted by very dark lighting, two large stalls, and no bathroom counter.  (The sink appeared to be suspended in midair.  I think it was deliberately trying to mess with me.)  I casually went to the stall and disconnected the infusion set from my arm.  The cannula was piped with blood, so I knew it was definitely uncooperative.  I set the pump to start rewinding, and the BUZZZZZZ of the pump motor echoed in the empty bathroom.

"Man, that never sounds so loud at home," I said to myself.  "Awesome."

I finished disconnecting and rewinding/priming the pump, and I stepped into the hand-washing area of the bathroom so I could use the mirror to line up my new site.  I pulled up the back of my shirt enough to see my hip, and then placed the inset against my skin.

And then bathroom door opened and a friendly-looking woman came in, just in time to see me pressing the buttons on the inset, pushing the infusion set needle into the skin on the top of my hip.

"Oh, I'm sorry!" she said.  "I didn't mean to interrupt ... what ... whatever you're doing."

"No worries."  I felt a little embarrassed - nothing like being caught with your shirt all gathered and a needle in your side.  "I am a diabetic and I have to fix my insulin pump.  I needed to use the mirror ... it's totally a medical thing."  The words flapped out of my mouth like spastic birds.  

She walked over to get a better look at what I was doiThis is a wicked hawkey playah.ng.  "Insulin pump?  My brother is a diabetic.  Has been for almost twenty years.  He's forty and just got married.  I'm having dinner with him right now!"  She smiled and gestured towards my pump.  "I wish he'd go on that thing.  He's been doing shots for like ... evah.  He has thought about a pump but he hasn't done it yet."

"Whatever keeps you healthy is best, right?"  The new infusion set shot in with a quiet shunk, and I tucked the pump back into the pocket of my jeans after taking a correction bolus.   

"True.  He's done this for a long time.  He and his wife are talking about having kids.  Do you have kids?  Can you have kids?"  

"I have a nine month old.  She's happy and healthy.  And so am I."

The woman put her hand to her heart.  "Oh doll, that's wonderful.  I hope my brother can have kids.  He'd be a good dad.  But if he goes on a pump like you've got there, he'll have to be careful with it.  Gettin' it knocked around, you know?  He's a wicked hawkey playah."

"Hockey is awesome.  Give your brother my best, okay?"

Back out in the dining room, a quick look at the Dexcom showed me that the correction bolus was working, and that the new site was on track.  And from across the crowded room, I saw the woman sitting at a table with her group, the wicked hawkey playah at her side.

Comments

Kerri - you are such a great writer!

Oh the worst thing is being at hibachi and having a high bg!

I have never been able to be open about my diabetes with total strangers. That was until I embarked on my Quest for a Healthy Baby while staying a Healthy Mom...
I was at the gym recently and I took out my meter. There was only one other girl in the locker and she spotted it. "Insulin?" she said. "Yes". "I have a friend who's a Type 1" she said. And her next words were: "Do you have kids? Can you have kids?" Having read your blog and Cheryl's book, I replied: "Not yet. Yes"

wicked awesome advocacy. ;)

How do you tell a guy with several big knives you can't eat his rice? I have my site change ritual much like yours, and have had to change in the car, resturants, and even at church. I used to feel like a drug addict hiding my habit but now it's just part of life. I love those opportunities for education now.

What a magical unexpected d-connection!! I have yet to encounter something like this, but I actually do look forward to it.

And mmmmm, hibachi!! One of our favorite "celebration / party" meals. :)

I hate changing my pump site in a public restroom. It never fails that if I use the mirror in an empty bathroom, someone always walks in during the most awkward moment. I also hate trying to fumble with everything in the stall. Love those handicap stalls with the sink that have the mirror above. Those are the best but few and far between. Great story. :)

Kerri: I love your stories. I thought you were going to say that she asked you to come and talk to her brother...and having "done diabetes" for 48 years, I still hate doing this stuff in public.

Kerri,
Between your "no hitter" and site change story, I think we are living parallel lives this week. You are an inspiration!
Like most of us, I have changed many a site in public. Thankfully, never been caught! I don't need a mirror, so I can keep my operation covert (except for that vibrating, which is SO much louder in public bathrooms, why?). I have been caught with tubing hanging out, although not directly asked about it.

Such fun and exciting lives we lead :)

Great story! I know this is something a lot of people with diabetes go through. I know "the look" someone gives when they see "the awkward moment" is a normal reaction but for others it can be uncomfortable. That's why I think it's important to increase the awareness for Diabetes. I really do! :)

By the way, you have a terrific blog. I bet you're such an inspiration to your readers.

great article! made me laugh

I'm the dad of a three year old girl with type 1. She's been pumping for almost a year now, and is doing great. I was intrigued when you mentioned that you could see that your correction bolus was working ON YOUR WAY BACK TO THE TABLE. Does your Dexcom really show that your glucose was coming down that fast? We are not CGMing yet, but I'm fascinated by the tool... I thought it took at least 10 or 15 minutes for the Humalog to start working. Please elaborate if you have time. Thanks for your good work here. Love the blog - It does me a lot of good as a non-diabetic to read real life stories. My daughter can't quite yet describe what it feels like to be diabetic, so I do rely on what the grownup PWDs say.

One more thing, while we're discussing site changes - I wonder how long it will be before my daughter is not terrified of the site change! How badly does the insertion really hurt?

The Hockey Player title got me to click over! Love me some type 1 hockey players!!!

I'm glad I'm not the only one with site problems. These are, for me, the MAJOR headache of insulin pumping. I have yet to change out a site in public, though. I tend to change my sites hours before I need to go out to eat!

So glad you ran into the relative of a Type I. How neat!

cute story but I'm curious about something... why would you have to rewind/prime just to change your site? You could simply plug into your new site and discard the new tubing.

Karen - I used to do that when I wore a Minimed pump, but with the Animas, it's recommended that you reprime every time you remove the reservoir or the battery. It's one of the few things I'm 100% compliant with. ;)

Larry, I use emla patches, I order them through pharmacies in Canada. I don't like pain from the insertion needles and I've been on a pump for 8 years and a diabetic for 28 my heart goes out to your daughter. After having the patch on for an hour or hour and a half I hardly feel any pain. Maybe that will help your daughter.
Marina

I have been pumping for less than a year. I don't feel comfortable making a changes at any other place other than my bathroom.

Like you, I lay out my set. I stand in front of a mirror and I'm planning my perfect location to insert. If someone walk in on me, I would really freak out. Even if they did not ask me any questions.

A few months back I was rushing to get out of town to get to TN for my daughter's wedding. We were excited about our trip. Before leaving I made a set change somewhat in a rush. I got really involved in getting on the road and did not check retest my bs in a timely manner after the change. Within a few hours my bs was at 400. It scared the geebees out of me.

Sooo!....

In the middle of the night...

On the side of the road....

In the middle of Indiana surrounded by 1000's of wind energy windmills...

Standing at the back of my SUV.....

Here I am making my site change, totally out of my new enviroment.

We do what we got to do....

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