Okay, that title is a little whimsical for such a mundane subject. But I did an infusion set change last night, and it brought up a lot of questions for me:
How often do you change your sites? Where do you place your sites? Do you have a specific trouble spot? If you have trouble with a site, how long do you wait to change it? Do you have a favorite site?
Let me take those one at a time. First, How often do I change my sites? The answer is that I (usually) change them when my reservoir goes dry. How long it is between site changes is then determined by a number of factors: how much insulin was in my reservoir to begin with; how my diet has been since the change, and how that affects my glucose; and how much I exercise between changes. Sometimes that means a site will last four days. Sometimes it will last six. My all-time record is seven days. But let me tell you, a site gets mighty sore after seven days. I try to keep it at four to five days.
An additional question: Why four or five days instead of the suggested three from manufacturers and the FDA? The answer is simple: As I’ve said before, I’m consciously concerned about real estate. How much usable real estate my body has, and how long I’ll be doing this pump thing, and whether I might run out of good infusion sites are all things I think about every time a new site goes in, and I take a look at the previous site. I don’t know if going an extra day or two is really helping to preserve future infusion sites, or if it isn’t. But my gut feeling is that it’s helping. I plan on being around for a lot more years, and I don’t want to have problems when I’m 80 because I ran out of decent places to insert a cannula.
Where do I place my sites? I generally rotate them between six places: My right side, my right leg, my stomach to the right of my navel somewhere, my stomach to the left of my navel, my left leg, and my left side. In that order. That means at four days per site I’m using a given area every 24 days. At five days per site I’m using an area every 30 days. I haven’t tried using my arm yet… I don’t know what I’d do with the tubing, or if I’d have enough. And I haven’t tried the back of my midsection or my bum. Mostly because I can’t see around there, which I realize is a completely ludicrous argument. But there you have it.
Do I have a specific trouble spot? That seems to be my belly. Especially lately. I don’t know why. But I’ve had some stubborn highs the last few times when it’s been in there. Even though I move it around a lot between high, low, a little to the left, a little to the right, etc. It just doesn’t seem to be working great there right now. Maybe it’s the extra baggage I’m carrying around right now.
Since this is getting a little long, let’s stop right here for now. I’ll pick up answering questions about infusion sites later in the week. Until then, feel free to post your answers, or any additional questions, by leaving a comment below.