Sunday, January 7, 2007

Changing the Site

A Day in the Life: Changing the Site

Changing my insulin pump infusion site is probably the diabetic task I dread the most. It is time consuming and can be painful at times. My pump holds up to 300 ml of insulin and when there are only 30 units left it gives me a low volume warning and again at 10 units. When it is compeltely out of insulin and can't give me anymore, I'll receive this "no delivery" alarm.This is my last warning, the pump is no longer delivering insulin and I must change my site.
First I have to fill up the reservoir with 3 days worth of insulin. For me, this is about 210 units. The reservoir holds 300ml or units. This is just like filing up any other syringe except that you have to make sure there are no air bubbles, which can be slightly difficult, but I've got it down!

Then I manually prime the insulin through the tubing. Once it comes out the needle, I know it has gone all the way through the tubing and catheter.

Then the insulin has to be primed through the tubing for 5.0 units. This makes sure there is insulin all the way through and that the new reservoir is working properly. It also helps get out some of the air bubbles.

Inserting the infusion site into my hip. This strange looking blue thing is an infusion site delivery device. This device makes it possible for me to push a button and insert the needle without having to do it by hand. It helps ensure the right angle and depth is achieved when putting in a new site. I am glad for this, although it isn't fool-proof. When a site goes in wrong, it hurts bad, and can cause problems with blood sugars if you aren't getting the insulin right. I like to put my sites in my hips mostly. I can also put them in my stomach and any other fatty part of my body. I've only ever done stomach and hips though. I really don't like it it my stomach. Because my hips are fattier, it doesn't hurt as much. However, most of the time I don't feel it much at all.
The needle is inside that blue part. I'll pull it out and then it will look like below.

Pull out the needle. Then, your site is in. It will stay this way for about three days. I'll then move it to a new site.

Last, prime 0.5 units. This is to push the insulin into the catheter. I am at this point ready to use my pump for regular meals and basals.

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