Sunday, October 10, 2010

My Bad Romance... With Adhesive.

***Note:  This post originally appeared as a guest post on The Diabetes OC website, here.
I love the technology that helps me stay healthy. I use an Animas insulin pump, and a Dexcom Seven Plus continuous glucose monitor (CGM), and I’m certainly thankful that I have these tools on my Diabetes Utility Belt, so to speak. They assist and allow me to take the best possible care I can of my diabetes. I’ve never been as healthy, diabetically speaking, than I am right now.
But sometimes I feel like my gear is taking a cue from Lady Gaga.
What I mean by that is, most of the stuff she wears is… fragile. She’s usually wearing something breakable, easily torn, strategically placed, or something that most people wouldn’t be able to walk, let alone sit down, in. I imagine that if she turned around too quickly, or moved the wrong way, some part of her get-up would pop or fall apart. (Bubble dress, anyone?)
It’s a lot like how some of the adhesive on my diabetes equipment makes me feel.
The first few hours of a new CGM sensor feel pretty weird to me. I’m very aware of the sensor on my body, yet I need to leave it alone so it can marinate in my interstitial fluid to be ready for calibration after two hours. The adhesive needs some time to “set” as well, so in other words, I’m trying to not move around a lot. Those CGM sensors are expensive little suckers, and disturbing a brand new one is a sure-fire way to get me from zero to Incredible Hulk Angry in about two seconds.
Similarly, an insulin pump infusion site will sometimes need reinforcements. My tape of choice is Smith & Nephew’s IV3000, and while it works pretty well for me most of the time, it’s still an imperfect solution. While it stretches a little bit, I still feel like I’m wearing tape. If it’s on my stomach, I get paranoid about twisting and bending, for fear that it won’t twist or bend with me. If it’s on my hip or thigh, I’m struggling to not catch any clothing on it when I’m changing clothes or doing some bathroom business. (Speaking of bathroom business, how the heck does Lady Gaga use a restroom in those outfits? At least she has assistants, probably – I have to do pump tubing yoga on my own, if I want to avoid accidentally ripping out an infusion site.)
Like most of the technology we have available to us for diabetes management, it’s not ideal, the technology and accuracy is imperfect, and I’m looking forward to the next thing that comes along. But, it’s pretty amazing that it even exists, it’s better than previous technology and options, and I’m thankful for it.
The next time I have to send in tape reinforcements, I’m indulging my imagination a bit. Next time, I’m pretending I’m sporting some sort of bandage dress, and it’s fabulous. Who cares that my get-up is hard to move around in? It’s my look, and I’m rocking it.

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