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Posts Tagged ‘infusion set’

When I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, all my doctors suggested that I get an insulin pump. At the time, the whole thing was new to me and just the thought of shots scared me! The thought of attaching something to me scared me much more. Especially since I had no idea how it was attached. I am not a fan of pain at all. So I told the doctors I was not interested in the pump then.

I took insulin shots for about 3 years before deciding to research the insulin pump more. I was tired of the up and down blood sugar patterns I was having, and I’d heard that the pump provided a much more even range.

I looked insulin pumps up online and found lots of information about how wonderful they are. I tried to find pictures of how you attached them to you, and I couldn’t find anything! I wanted to see pictures of how the process worked before I committed to it. How big was the needle? How did you get it in you? Did they just leave a needle in for the 2 – 3 days it was in before you changed it?

Since I couldn’t find any photos, I took it upon myself to take pictures of myself going through the process. Maybe it will help some other scared type 1’s thinking about getting the pump and wanting to see some photos! I hope so!

The first step is to gather the supplies you need. I use the minimed paradigm 722 insulin pump and they have the option of a quick-serter. It is a spring loaded gadget that you put the needle part of the infusion set into, and then just press it against your skin and push the tabs on the side and it quickly plunges the needle in. It rarely hurts. Most of the time I can’t even feel it.  I know they have other options for putting the infusion set in, but this is the one I chose.

Here is a photo of the quick-serter, humalog, new reservoir, new infusion set, and iv prep.

Quick-serter, humalog, iv prep, reservoir, infusion set

Quick-serter, humalog, iv prep, reservoir, infusion set

Once I have everything, I load the new reservoir with humalog insulin. To do this I take it out of the plastic packaging, pull the plunger to the end of the tube, and then put the humalog vile on the blue connecter. I then push the air from the plunger into the humalog, and draw the insulin into the reservoir. Just like filling a syringe, only a big one.

Filling reservoir with humalog insulin

Filling reservoir with humalog insulin

Just filled reservoir
Just filled reservoir

Once the reservoir is filled, I can remove the plunger. The plunger is just screwed in, so I just unscrew it.

Just filled reservoir, plunger detached
Just filled reservoir, plunger detached

Next I open the infusion set.

New infusion set, just opened

New infusion set, just opened

Take it out of the plastic, and take the paper off the cording. I am now ready to attach the infusion set to my newly filled reservoir. You’ll see on one end of the cording there is the needle surrounded by adhesive, and on the other end there is a round knob looking thing with a small needle inside. To attach the infusion set to the reservoir you take the knob end, put it onto the top of the reservoir, and turn it until it clicks. Once it clicks it is locked on.

New reservoir filled and attached to infusion set, ready to put in pump

New reservoir filled and attached to infusion set, ready to put in pump

Now that the new infusion set it ready, you can rewind your insulin pump. Before you rewind it you will want to disconnect the old infusion set from your body.

Pump notification that it's ready to rewind

Pump notification that it's ready to rewind

Pump notification that it's rewinding

Pump notification that it's rewinding

Once it’s done rewinding, it will notify you and you can take the old reservoir out. This is done by just unscrewing the reservoir from the pump.

Old/Empty infusion set and reservoir taken out of pump

Old/Empty infusion set and reservoir taken out of pump

Now you are ready to put the new infusion set into the pump. You just need to screw the new reservoir into the reservoir opening on your pump. Once it’s in you need to prime it by pushing a few command buttons on your pump. It will have prompts to guide you through. Priming means you fill the cord with insulin. You are done priming when you see insulin coming out the needle end of the infusion set. Once it’s primed, you can set the needle end of the infusion set into the quick-serter. Pull the needle cover off the needle, and the adhesive covers off the adhesive. Pull the end of the quick-serter back to spring load it. It is now ready to put on.

new infusion set prepped in quick-serter, ready to put on

new infusion set prepped in quick-serter, ready to put on

Now you need to cover the area you are planning to put it with IV Prep. This disinfects the area and it is a little sticky, helping the adhesive stick better. Plus, I think it numbs the skin a little, but that’s just a personal opinion! You just wipe the iv prep on with the cloth it comes on, and wait for it to dry. You can feel your skin and when it’s dry your skin will feel dry but a little sticky.

What IV prep looks like once dried on skin

What IV prep looks like once dried on skin

Now take the quick-serter and press it to your skin where you want the new infusion set to go in.

Quick-serter loaded and ready to insert new set with the push of a button

Quick-serter loaded and ready to insert new set with the push of a button

Squeeze the buttons on the quick-serter and the spring loaded section will release and very quickly plunge the new infusion set into your skin. Remove the quick-serter. At this point the needle will still be in you.

Infusion set right after inserting, before removing needle

Infusion set right after inserting, before removing needle

Pull the blue cover off (which has the needle in it) and wallah, your new infusion set is in! The needle is surrounded by a very thin, very short, flexible cannula that is left under your skin which is how the insulin gets into your system.

Infusion Set

Infusion Set

Your pump will guide you through your “fixed prime” which is just giving you a little insulin to fill the cannula that is in you. Once you’ve done that, the pump will say it’s ready to work! You’re done!

Here is a picture of the needle you took out.

Infusion set needle, once removed

Infusion set needle, once removed

Of course you still need to pull the adhesive and old infusion set out. I always worried that this would hurt, but it never has.

Here is what the old one looks like. It shows the cannula that is what is actually under your skin. It’s so tiny! Especially compared to how it looks on the outside.

Old infusion set, removed

Old infusion set, removed

Thats all there is to it! The whole process only takes about 5 minutes. In writing it looks pretty long, but it really isn’t.

Any questions? Let me know!

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1.What type of problems did you experience with the use of the pump?

2. Would you advice the option of the Continuous monitoring system?

3.How accurate and reliable is the sensor?

4.You are not aware of a pump system that sends the data (glucose levels) to a device like a watch for easier reading?

5. Do you achieve better control with the pump in terms of less highs and lows?

6. Is it painful inserting the sensor and the infusion set?

I recently took pictures of the whole process of inserting an infusion set for my pump. I am planning on posting them soon along with the verbage of what I’m doing. I think that will really help for you to see how it all works. When I was thinking of getting one, that part that scared me was that it would hurt and I wanted to see how it went it and all that, but I couldn’t find any info on that!

I do not have the CBGM yet, so I don’t have any answers for you about that. I want to get it though, and am working with insurance to get it approved. I’ve been trying for a year and so far it hasn’t gone well.

I have the minimed paradigm 722 insulin pump. I use a quick-serter set, although I know there are other types of sets available if you want. There are kinds that you can insert yourself, but I am very happy with the quick serter.

I don’t want to say there is NO pain, because there is some, but it is minimal. Honestly, it’s much less painful than it looks like it would be! Sometimes it doens’t hurt at all, sometimes it just stings for a minute or 2, and sometimes it stings for a couple hours. But it’s worth it.

The quick serter makes it so you just load everything up into the serter that is spring loaded, and you pull back on it to “load” it, just like you do to test the blood sugar, pull back on the lever to make it spring loaded and then hit the button and it quickly pokes the skin to draw a little blood. But in this case you push the button and it quickly plunges the needle, covered by a short, thin, flexible cannula into the skin. You then take the needle out (which I don’t feel at all), just leaving the cannula.

Problems I have with the pump….sometimes it gets in the way. I usually keep my in my back pants pocket. The tubing also can be a pain and get in the way. I’ve had a couple buttons stop working, and I’m had a section of it break off so my insulin wouldn’t stay in the pump, but both times minimed sent a new pump right away and I just sent the old one back.

I do achieve much better sugar levels using the pump! And if I do have a high, I can easily and quickly bring it down just by pressing a button.

It is not a cure all. You can’t just expect that once it’s on and your hooked up, you never have to worry about diabetes again. You still need to test your blood sugar several times a day and everything, it just makes it to you can give yourself insulin for a meal, or for a high with the touch of a button, instead of filling a syringe and giving a shot each time.

Overall, I think it is worth it!


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I went to a home decor party last night right after work. I got off work at 5:30, and drove straight to the party that started at 6. I had an apple in my purse, and knowing that I was going to have a late dinner, I had it for a snack. I had a few snacks at the party, but by the time I got home at 8:30, my sugar was low.

I was exhausted and just wanted to sit on the couch for the first time all day. Instead, I had to make myself something for dinner, with a low blood sugar. When I took my pump out to give myself the insulin I’d need for my meal, I saw the “low reservoir” alert. Dang it! The last thing I wanted to do was change my infusion set. I didn’t have enough insulin to make it through the night, so I knew I had to change it before going to bed. Being so tired though, I decided to put it off until after I ate, and had a little time on the couch!

Not smart. I fell asleep on the couch, and when I woke up at 10:30, instead of being able to just crawl into bed, which is all I WANTED to do….I had to change my infusion set. So, I collected my insulin out of the fridge, got my quick serter, my iv prep, and a new reservoir and infusion set. I drew the insulin into the reservoir, and re-winded my pump. I disconnected the old set, and took off the set, smeared the left side of my tummy with iv prep and got the new set connected into the pump, primed, and into the quick serter.

insulin pump, reservoir, insusion set in quick serter, ready to put on

Here’s the part I hate. You’d think after wearing a pump for 4 years and changing the infusion set every 3 – 5 days I would get used to changing it. Nope, every time I have to push the button on the quick set I cringe. It usually doesn’t even hurt, and when it does it’s usually just a little sting for a few minutes. Still, I don’t look forward to it. Maybe it’s the thought of a needle surrounded by a thin plastic cannula plunging into me, or the worry that the needle is going to hit muscle this time, or strike a nerve. I don’t know, but like always, I pressed the quick serter to my skin, took several deep breaths, and geared myself up to push the button. Thank goodness it’s spring loaded! “SHLUNK”, in it went. This one was a stinger! Dang it. It was probably the fact that my mind was half asleep! At least I didn’t forget to prime it before putting it on! I’ve done that before, and had to start the whole process over.

Ah, with it successfully on, I crawled into bed, kissed my husband good night, and was dreaming within minutes.

Just another day in the life of a pumper!

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