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Posts tagged ‘animas ping’

Changing the Set.

Changing out an insulin pump infusion set is a methodical moment for me. I do things in the same order almost every time, with the same mildly frenetic mindset.

  • Remove old set from my body so I can enjoy the “connected to nothing” feeling for as long as possible.
  • Take out a new infusion set and new reservoir.
  • Ferret out the open bottle of insulin from wherever I’ve stashed it last in the bathroom.  (Usually it’s in the medicine cabinet, but during the hotter months of summer, I tend to keep it in our bedroom, where it’s cooler.)
  • Line the insulin set, reservoir, and bottle up on the counter.
  • Unscrew the reservoir cap and remove the old infusion set and reservoir from the pump.  Throw the tangle of tubing into the garbage, making sure said tangle doesn’t dangle over the edge of the garbage can because otherwise Loopy and Siah will find it and drag it all over the house.
  • Open the packaging for the reservoir and take out all the little parts (except that one frigging thing that I don’t know what it’s for and I usually throw it right into the garbage – see below):

  • Rewind the pump.
  • This is the point where I mentally set some kind of timer, challenging myself to race against the time it takes for the pump to rewind.  While the pump is whirring, I rush to fill up the reservoir and connect it to the tubing.  I do this every, single time.  It’s as satisfyingly ritualistic as shaking the bottle of test strips before I check my blood sugar.
  • Thread the tubing through the battery cap and connect the luer lock, then insert the cartridge into the pump.
  • Load the new cartridge.
  • Prime the cartridge, trying to stop the prime before more than a single drop of insulin escapes from the needle in the infusion set.
  • Hold the tubing up to the light and inspect it for bubbles.
  • After the pump is primed, again the mental timer is set.  This time, the challenge is to unpeel the sticky backing from the infusion set and find a place on my body that’s suitable for insertion before the screen on my pump goes blank from inactivity.
  • Insert the new infusion set, prime the cannula (sort of holding my breath while it primes because I’m never certain that the first introduction of insulin won’t burn under my skin).
  • Tuck the tubing out of sight and clip the pump to my clothes.
  • Fin.  (As in “the end.”  There’s no marine life actively involved in this process.)

This process takes less than two minutes to complete, but if it’s interrupted in any way, I’m thrown so far off course that it takes me five minutes to recover.  The method of this madness is that it’s one, fluid mental movement and any upset to the process makes my brain disengage to seek the comfort of something shiny.

It’s an intricate process involving several steps, precision handling, and the safe housing a powerful drug.  And if I have to change the battery at the same time …

 

Unexpected Advocacy.

The last thing I wanted to do was take my cover-up off.

Chris and Birdy (and our friends and their daughter) were at a water park in New Hampshire where kids can run and play in safe-for-littles sprinklers, pools, and water slides, and as the adults, we were tasked with guarding the perimeter.  Pacing back and forth, the four of us kept watch on our kids, ready to jump in at any moment to help them climb a slide, pick themselves up if they fell, or slather on more sunscreen.

I didn’t care who saw my body.  Not really, anyway.  I’ve run miles and given birth (not simultaneously), so I know there are strengths and weaknesses to my frame, but it wasn’t the shape and curve of my body that made me want to stay covered up at the water park.

I didn’t want people staring at the diabetes devices stuck to my body.

“Oh, suck it up.  No one is looking at you.”

Of course they aren’t.  They don’t mean to.  But when someone walks by wearing a bathing suit with a few curious looking devices hanging off it, it’s hard not to notice.  My standard beachwear is a bathing suit with my pump clipped to the hip, the tubing snaked out to wherever the infusion set happens to be living, and my Dexcom sensor taking up more real estate elsewhere.  These items aren’t jarring, and people don’t snicker, but they do look twice because cyborgs aren’t the norm.

Most of the time I don’t think twice about who might look, but on this particular day, I felt self-conscious.  Why?  Who knows.  Who cares.  I just felt eh that day.

But motherhood dictated that my self-consciousness take a backseat to being part of Birdy’s waterpark experiences, so I sucked it up and removed my cover-up.  My insulin pump infusion set was stuck to the back of my right arm, the tubing snaking down and tucked into my bathing suit, where the pump was clipped to the back.  My Dexcom sensor was mounted on my right thigh.  Even though these devices are reasonably discreet, I felt like I had two giant toasters stuck to my body.


Birdy needed help climbing to a higher platform in the play area and I helped her do that, thankful that my pump was waterproof.  We ended up in the sprinkler pad for a while and I was thankful that the tape around my Dexcom sensor was strong enough to withstand the water.  After a few minutes, I got over the whole “blargh – I don’t want to wear giant toasters” feeling and got on with things.

“Excuse me.  Is that an insulin pump?”  All casual, the question came from behind me, where one of the park lifeguards was standing.  His arms were crossed over his chest as he confidently watched the pool, but his question was quiet.

“Yeah, it is.”  I wasn’t in the mood to have a full chat about diabetes, but I didn’t want to make him feel awkward for asking.

“You like it?”

“I like it better than taking injections.  I was diagnosed when I was a kid, so the pump is a nice change of pace from the syringes.”

“I bet.”  He paused.  “I was diagnosed last August and I’ve been thinking about a pump.  But I hadn’t ever seen one before.  Is that it?”  He pointed to the back of my arm.

“Kind of.  That’s where the insulin goes in, but the pump is this silver thing back here,” I pointed to the back of my bathing suit, where my pump was clipped.  “This is the actual pump.  It’s waterproof.”  A kid ran by, arms flailing and sending splashes of water all over the both of us.

“Good thing,” he said.

“For real.”  Birdy ran by to give me a high-five and then took off playing again.

“Your kid?”

“Yep.”

“How long have you had diabetes?”

“Twenty-seven years.”

He gave me a nod.  “Thanks for not making it seem like it sucks.  Enjoy your day,” and he moved towards a group of kids that were playing a little roughly.  I stayed and continued to watch my daughter play, very aware of my diabetes devices that, for the first time ever, didn’t seem quite noticeable enough.

 

(Also, today has been unofficially designated as a “day to check in” (hat tip to Chris Snider) with the DOC blogs that we’re reading.  I read a lot of diabetes blogs, but I don’t often comment because I usually want to say something meaningful, instead of “I like your post.”  (But I do like your post!)  But instead of finding that meaningful comment, I usually roll on and forget to return to comment.  NOT TODAY!  Today I’m commenting on every blog I read, because that’s the name of the game.  I love this community, and today I’ll show that through comments.  So please – if you’re here, say hello!  And thanks. xo)

D-Blog Week: Diabetes Life-Hacks.

I feel like the beginning of Diabetes Blog Week had so many prompts that really tapped the emotionally-saturated side of my diabetes management that I’m spent.  But I didn’t want to phone it in today for the last weekday post, so I’m pulling myself up by the bloggy bootstraps and putting my hacker hat on.  (Damn, Gina – that sounds like a complicated metaphorical outfit.)

For today’s blog post, centered on diabetes life-hacks, here’s a compilation of “sum” (OH HA?) diabetes hacks from the past:

I like “diabetes life hacks” because they make it easier, and more streamlined, to actually live with diabetes without succumbing to all the rules.  I don’t want to work my life around my diabetes; I’d much rather work diabetes around my life.

But the ultimate diabetes hack, IMO?  Is from Dana and Scott, who are creating their own do-it-yourself-pancreas system.  Necessity is the mother of invention, for real when it comes to life with diabetes.

Hack on!!

Don’t Mind Me.

Don’t mind me …

… I’ll just be sitting here with 1 unit of Humalog left in my pump because I went to bed with 9 units left and tried to use my insulin to the very last drop.  I’ll let my dawn phenomenon-induced morning basal rate suck up the rest of this cartridge before swapping it out for a full one.  Insulin isn’t something I take for granted.  It’s precious stuff.

Inset/Outset.

Most of the time (read: every other time except this one), the cannula is laced through the insertion needle on the insets for my insulin pump infusion sets.  But this infusion set was attacked by diabetes gremlins, because the cannula made a run for it before I even opened the spaceship pod:

Insulin pump inset ... er, outset.

Insulin pump inset … er, outset.

Scott, on Facebook, quipped it best:  “It appears that instead of an Inset, they gave you an Outset.”

UPDATED:  I opened the set this morning.  No tubing, either.  Gremlins!!

This is how we do it.

Wednesday morning, leaving Logan Airport in Boston, en route to Montreal:

TSA agent:  “Excuse me.  What is that?”

Me:  “An insulin pump.”

Their mouth:  “Okay.”

Wipe it down, test my hands, pass the screening, no issues, carry on with my carry-on.

My mouth:  “Thanks!”

Their mouth:  “Safe travels!”

Thursday morning, leaving Montreal and headed back to Boston:

Security agent:  “Bonjour.  What is that?”

Me:  “An insulin pump.”

Their mouth:  “Okay.”

Wipe it down, test my hands, pass the screening, no issues, carry on with my carry-on.

My mouth:  “Thank you!”

Their mouth:  “Bon voyage!”

Flying with diabetes: This is how we do it.

 

Verio Sync: Second Impressions.

[Second Disclosure Verse, Same as the First:  I have received the Verio Sync meter for review prior to the full US launch. I was not asked to write this review.  Opinions shared, for better or for worse, are mine.  Typos, too.]

It’s been about five weeks since I started using the Verio Sync, and after getting over the initial “eh, the screen isn’t as nice as the Verio IQ,” the transition was smooth.  The meter performs similarly to the Verio IQ, but it does have some potent perks.

Ahem.  Potent perks:

  • The battery life on the Sync is better than that of the IQ.  I think.  I actually haven’t seen the “low battery” icon yet on the Sync (except when the meter starts up after sticking a strip in, so I at least know the meter has a low battery icon).  With the IQ, I was charging it every five days or so, and it only lasted that long when I would manually shut the meter down after testing (holding the button down until the meter screen went blank).  The Sync turns off automatically much faster.  For now, I charge the Sync when I charge my Dexcom, which is every five or six days.
  • The syncing feature of the Sync doesn’t drain my iPhone battery as much as I’d thought, because I don’t leave the Bluetooth feature on my phone enabled all the time.  I enable Bluetooth as needed, uploading the results once or twice a day instead of every time I test.  This helps conserve battery on all fronts.
  • As a PWD who has always struggled with logging blood sugars, the app for this meter is awesome.  Not because it does anything truly remarkable (it doesn’t fly, and it doesn’t make me fly), but it does what it’s supposed to do:  automagically sucks my blood sugar results from the meter and loads them into the app.  For someone like me, who struggles with making the time to download meter results, this is extremely useful.  At a glance, I can see how things have been going, and it’s powerful motivation for me to either continue on the same path or to change the course of it … blood sugar-wise.  (See also:  things have been good the past few weeks, so lots of green on the graph.  But back in mid-December, there was more red up there than I’d like.  Something about keeping the green as the dominant color serves as incentive.  In other news, a bell just rang and now I’m craving a snack.)
  • I also saw some of my first pattern alerts crop up, which were more common with the Verio IQ.  Tagging doesn’t seem to be tied to “I ate” or “I didn’t eat” but more to time of day, seeing as how manually tagging blood sugars is a feature that was removed for the Sync.  (Again, this didn’t affect me much because after about four months with the IQ, I turned off the tagging feature.  It frustrated me that I could only be a “full apple” [before meal] or a “bitten apple” [after meal].  I needed a third icon for simply “not eating.”)

  • Another powerful bit of information for me is the ability to see my 14 day averages portioned out by time of day.  Again, being able to score at-a-glance information about when my blood sugars are in range, out of range, and free range (read: bonkers) is very useful and helps me make tweaks as needed.
  • I do not like swapping one feature for another, though.  The Ping meter had the ability to send results straight to my insulin pump, and I was to remote bolus using the meter.  The Verio IQ and the Sync do not.  And as I mentioned before, the Sync seems like an aesthetic step back when compared to the IQ.  I really wish glucose meters, as they are improved, didn’t take features away as they moved forward.

But, as previously mentioned, it seems accurate.  So far, it’s matched very well with the results I’ve seen from my Dexcom G4 sensor, and it’s also lined up neatly with the results I’ve seen from hospital-grade lab work (A1C draws).  Bells and whistles are nice, but accuracy and dependability reign absolutely supreme in this house.

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