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Quiet Morning.

The alarm goes off, forcing my hand out from under the covers to seek it out. I test my blood sugar without thinking, easing the tip of my finger into my mouth to whisk away the blood. Wipe the sleep from my eyes. Pet Abby as she stretches out on my pillow. I shuffle off to the fridge to take out a bottle of insulin, letting it warm to room temperature while I shower.

I pull the tape loose on my set and gently pry it from my thigh.  It’s the one shower per week that I am without an infusion set.  The shower is hot and the sticky residue left from the tape is worked away by the soap.

Filling up.

I think about what I will wear to work as I fill the reservoir and tap out the bubbles.

Set to Reservoir

Siah comes up and rubs against my leg while I connect the reservoir to the tubing of the new infusion set. She reaches for the tubing.  I bat her paws away, “No, kitty.”  She sits, watching.

Loaded into Quick-Serter

Prime the pump, keeping watch for bubbles.  Chris stirs in bed as the pump beeps and whirs.  Load the set into the insertion device, peeling back the tabs and removing the needle sheath.

Holding my breath

Run my hands against my thigh, looking for a place that isn’t already sore or blotchy. I find a spot and rub it vigorously with the IV prep wipe.  Press the insertion device against my thigh.

Even though I’ve done this hundreds of times before, I still hold my breath before I release the buttons.

Infusion set needle.

The set slides in with a soft click.  I pull back the blue cap, leaving the cannula in place.  Send 0.3 units through the tubing to fill the plastic tube that is now embedded in my skin.  Furrow my brow at the initial cold wince of insulin spreading under my skin.  Tap on the top of the infusion set – “You stay put,” I encourage it.

Stay put.

I decide on black pants and a pretty blue sweater for work.  Nestle the pump into the waistband of my pants and tuck the tubing out of sight.

I put on my watch. Siah and Abby meow at me for food.  And Chris’ alarm goes off. 


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Have you ever used the cute infusion site stickers from groovypatches.com? I usually use my stomach, the stickers just go on top of the infusion site. You can select different patterns and designs with each order. I'm on my first set of them, but I will definitely re-order because they make the whole pump thing more personalized. Thanks so much for your posts. I check them everyday and you are very encouraging!

What infusion set do you use?

And what was that blue contraption...the one used when you were filling the cartridge?

Sarah - I have some Groovy Patches. :) I did this post about them last summer: Getting Groovy.

Shannon - I have a Minimed Paradigm 512. I use the Quick-Sets. That blue contraption comes with the reservoirs and I use it to fill from the insulin bottle. ... I'm assuming SuperMan has a much different system. ;)

Ah, a day in the life...

I look in with curiousity at your butterflyish reservoir-filling contraption. Mine comes with a needle which attaches to the cartridge for that purpose.

Yours is cuter though, I admit. ;-)

Wow, that infusion set is completely different than what I use. Does the cannula go into your leg vertically? Mine is along 2" needle that you have to insert at a 30 degree angle. It seems like the longest needle in the world when i'm pulling it back out after the cannula is in place!

That looks like the set I just changed. Master P is model 722 so his resevoir is bigger but the rest looks very familiar.

BTW I never thanked you for giving me the idea to try a thigh site. I LOVE it!

that is such a small resevoir, how many units does it hold>? mine has 315 in it. and that needle how long is it? prob the same as mine but looks smaller. mine takes 1unit to prime, i think!?!?

hope it stays put!

What does the blue contraption do? Anything in particular?

We don't have anything like that for the Comfort set that we use.

Excellent little photo essay.

Looks a lot like my Mon/Wed/Fri routine (though it doesn't sound much like it -- I rarely contemplate my wardrobe until I'm standing in front of my closet to see what's clean).

Hey! And I like the new seasonal header too!

Excellent. This was like a "how to" for me, since I've got the Paradigm 522 sitting on the floor of my bedroom, still in the box (though I'm starting my pump training next week). I tried out an infusion set for a few days when I was looking into the pump, but the nurse did the insertion for me, and I'm still a teeny bit nervous about doing it myself (though the Quickserter makes it easier to handle by a lot).

Also I like the holiday-inspired new logo.

Thank you for this. As someone who's interested in going on a pump and having never seen the steps involved in loading the insulin and how it connects, it was very cool.

I too am curious about that blue contraption-- like Johnboy, we attach a needle to the end of the cartridge, then draw up the insulin...

That blue thing looks kind of cool, though-- like it holds the insulin bottle steady while filling the cartridge.

JB - Butterfly ... nice image. It does look like one.

Nina - The cannula goes in at a 90 degree angle and is 6 mm long.

George - Master P is like my pump's bigger brother. :)

Vicki - It holds 175 units. It's the smallest of the Minimeds.

Shannon - The blue Quick-Serter thing shoots the infusion set into my leg. It's spring-loaded. Without it, I end up with bent cannulas and blood sugar chaos. It helps a lot.

Kevin - Thanks! I'm glad you noticed the new header!

Jana - Quick-Serter all the way. I'd be lost without that thing. And thanks on the logo. :)

Alison - Pumping was a good move for me, after 17 years of injections. If you have any questions about it, or want the real-life specifics, feel free to shoot me an email.

Sandra - That blue thing is the connector hub between the set and the insulin bottle. It does help keep things steady, that's for sure. :) But I wonder if I'm using really old-school reservoirs, too. There could be new ones that were introduced and I just haven't ordered supplies in a while.

I'm still squeamish about needles and stuff like that, so I sort of skimmed your post. But I wanted to say I love the redesigned banner! Very eye-catching, and seasonal.

Thanx Kerri :)

Kerri -
Good pictures.
My supplies include the blue butterfly hub thing so it's not old school yet.

ooh, i use the quick-set too! But I have started using the silhouette with the long tubing and the new shorter needle for my arm sites. I love them and they are so easy and painless! (and they are not spooky scary like the silhouettes with the long needles)

How many mornings have I had exactly like that!?!?

Thigh site. Never tried it. Sounds like it would be more uncomfortable than stomach. How sensitive is it?

Thank you for the photo essay that has brought more perspective into that "other world".

Do you use the short cannula because of doing thigh sites? My diabetes educator suggested thigh sites once, but I feel really squeamish when I think about doing it on myself. My thighs are relatively slim and muscular, at least when compared with my squishy midsection.

And did you ever have to use any of the old-style blue thingies on the reservoir? There was a part that was intended to lock in place (like a hinge) that only functioned about 50% of the time. What a pain in the butt! I'm glad MiniMed switched.

O's resevoirs look like that, only hers holds 300 units. She uses a Sil-serter - we had lousy results with the 90 degree sets - they got crimped, even with that groovy blue serter thingy.

I like the new header, but I really miss the beach one. I loved that shot.

Thanks for the wonderful essay. It's a good intro to some of the work we all do to stay alive.

Have you looked at the diabetesvisible photos on Flickr?


Some of those photos (actually the whole entry) would be great in that set.

Thank you so much for the pictures. I just order my Minimed pump today. My only apprehension was the infusion set. You made it seem less than horrible. I have been scared of the cannulas because of the inserter needle. I currently use the rapid D which is a 6mm needle that stays under the skin.
Thanks again.

I've used the quickserter in the past but found it painful compared to manually inserting but it is interesting to hear that you say it helps with bent canula's. I have lots of those and have been thinking of changing to the silhouette for that reason. I've also changed to using my love handles rather than my tummy with good outcomes. Glad to hear they have one with a shorter needle. I think i will order it when I need more supplies.

Bobby - Thanks for being brave enough to read. It means a lot to me. And, "Yay!"

Alison - You're very welcome.

Em - Glad I'm not too old school yet. :)

Sara- I've never tried an angled set. Maybe I'll give it a shot. HA!

Sarah - The thigh sites, for me, are far less sensitive than the abdomen ones. I haven't had a stomach set in over a year now. I'm fully converted.

Rachel - But of course.

Hannah I use the short cannula because of the muscles in my legs. Anything longer crimps up. And I definitely remember the reservoirs with the hinges. They sucked. I think I still have a box of them but I prefer the butterfly set up.

Julia - Glad you like the new header. :) The old one will be back in a few weeks, after the holidays have skated by.

Bernard - I'm already a member. I'll upload these pictures soon. :)

Shani - Once you insert the set a few times, it will be smooth sailing. Feel free to email me if you have any questions. And good luck with your new pump! Very exciting!

Maura - I need to use the Quick-Serter because I had 17 years worth of scar tissue on my sites and the infusion sets weren't breaking through with enough force.

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