Tag Archives: questions

Site Change Musings, Part 2.

Time for part 2 of our discussion about infusion sites. Lots of super comments after yesterday’s post. Let’s see if we can answer a few more questions today.

If I have trouble with a site, how long do I wait to change it? That depends. Didn’t expect this to be a simple answer, did you? Mostly, how long I wait is in inverse proportion to where my blood glucose readings are. If my BG is hovering in the 200-250 mg/dL range for a while, I’ll try to do my best to get that number down. Drinking lots of water, avoiding almost all carbs, exercising, etc. If I’m still not coming down roughly 18-24 hours later, I’m moving on to a new site. But if I’m stuck in the 300+ range, I’m waiting only about 8 hours tops. I should also mention here that this kind of thing doesn’t happen very often to me, so I don’t have a lot of experience. And I hope I don’t get a lot of experience with this, if you know what I mean.

Do I have a favorite site? Yes… that’s definitely my leg. Never hurts going in. It always feels like it’s out of the way (except I sometimes forget it’s there when I take my pants off… #TMI). In fact, I’ve been known to time my site changes or switch around the order temporarily just so I can have it in my leg for long bike rides. Always seem to get a smooth delivery of insulin, maybe because there’s less fat there. If I had enough space, I think I would have it in my leg all the time. By the way, before finding the Diabetes Online Community, I had never even heard of using any space other than my midsection or my butt. Thanks DOC. My second-favorite site? On either side. It just feels comfy, though it’s much more likely that I’ll rip the thing out from there than from anywhere else.

And a final bonus question… thanks Jen for making me think of it: Will I do a site change anywhere? Only at home? Okay, two questions. I’ve only done site changes at home or in a hotel room (once without an inserter). Never at work. Never on a day trip somewhere. At work I’m just worried about getting a gusher when pulling out the old cannula. Which I suppose I could handle by waiting to pull the cannula until I get home. So maybe I’ll try that in the future. Otherwise, I don’t know. Can’t think of a reason not to do a change somewhere, other than for sanitary reasons. I think my hang-up (and it’s really my hang-up) is the whole my comfort with doing the change versus someone’s discomfort watching me do the change thing. I don’t really have a problem, but I don’t want someone else to feel weird about it. In the greater sense though, I think it would be helpful for people to see things like this that we have to do all the time, so they can be reminded that diabetes is real and it’s not a simple thing to live with.

Once again, feel free to post your answers, or any additional questions, by leaving a comment below. It’s been a great discussion so far.

Site Change Musings.

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.

God and Diabetes.

The Live-In Niece’s parents were in for a visit this past weekend, and we did something that I don’t do much anymore. I went to mass with them on Sunday morning. Since I was in church, and since my awareness of diabetes is at a peak during this month and this year, I couldn’t help but look for a connection between the two. Or an explanation, at least. It was hard to find.

I’m not one of the people who uses the curse of diabetes as a way to explain why God doesn’t exist. I’m also not a person who believes that God has somehow “blessed” me with this disease, or that it’s part of “God’s Master Plan”.

My beliefs lie in the middle somewhere. I’m not sure that it’s a phrase that’s actually in the Bible, but I do believe the Lord works in mysterious ways. I also believe that diabetes is mysterious. So they have that in common.

I don’t believe that God willingly gives us a disease like diabetes. I know that I haven’t been perfect throughout my life, but to me, God didn’t smite me with something, and he didn’t let the devil come into my body and break my pancreas because I was somehow living my life wrong. Just like your father won’t push you into the path of an oncoming car just to teach you not to play in the street, I find it hard to believe that my Heavenly Father would willingly allow something like diabetes to invade someone’s, anyone’s body just to prove a point.

On the other hand, I always cringe at the phrase that goes something like “God doesn’t give us more than we can handle”. Really? Seems to me that with diabetes, I have a disease that has no cure, with a laundry list of possible complications, that’s with me all the time. Unless we find a cure, it’s a fact that at some point in my life, I won’t be able to handle diabetes anymore. So what about that?

And I’ve had so many twists and turns over the years with this disease. We all have. Times where we eat right, exercise, manage our glucose well, and the A1c results show it. There are also times where we eat right, exercise, manage our glucose well, and our body rebels on us, and the A1c results show that too. How do you explain that?

Anyone who knows me well knows that I rarely deal in absolutes. As far as I’m concerned, very few things can be explained with a simple blanket statement. There’s always a little gray in there somewhere. For me, right now at least, there is no absolute explanation.

I don’t know God’s take on diabetes, and I doubt that I will until it’s all over for me. I also don’t know what’s going to happen with my diabetes over the next few decades, assuming I have a few more decades left. Right now anyway, I think I have to get comfortable with not having all of the answers.

You know what? That’s really frustrating. But despite the frustration, my faith gives me a certain comfort, putting me in a centered place where even though I don’t understand, I’m comfortable. Before you ask, there’s not an answer for that either. I can’t explain it, but I know what I feel. I also feel like God has helped me at various times during my life with diabetes when maybe it wasn’t apparent to the naked eye. Like when I passed out on the subway home and my friend from the gym happened to be on the same train, saw me having problems, and informed the transit police, who were surely ready to arrest me for being under the influence of something. Very mysterious. I have to be careful to not let my beliefs lead to complacency, but there are times when I feel I am protected, and helped, and pointed in the right direction.

I don’t have all of the answers, but I’ll keep looking for them. In a simple Sunday service, I found plenty of questions.

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