Thursday, February 24, 2011

Feeling Stab-y.

I seem to have this way of doing things that many don't share - a habit, you might say.

Of the people I know who use an insulin pump, most use something like this to set up their infusion sites:

It's a pod thing that automatically inserts the cannula for you - click a button, and the pod does the work, like some sort of magician. I actually have no idea how they work, because... ready for this? I've never used one.

Yep. I'm a manual inserter of insulin pump sites. I was brought up, so to speak, on these:

That's what I was taught to use with my first insulin pump in 2005 - which was the good ol' Cozmo. When I switched to the Ping a year ago, they told me that I could stick with what I'd been using, and so I did. I figured that since I'd never had any issues with them in those four years - why mess with a good thing?

The whole idea of using an automatic inserter freaks me out a little bit. (Shouldn't it be the other way around - shouldn't I be freaked out by having to do stick the needle in myself?) I like the idea that I'm in control of exactly when and at what speed that needle comes at me, and I can angle it in whatever way I choose. It does have drawbacks, though - I've never tried an arm site, because it's nearly impossible to do all of the unpeeling of tape backing (while not accidentally removing the cannula) when you're working with one hand only.

Maybe some day I'll work up the courage to try one - but I guess I'm not there yet.


  1. One of my T1 friends went on a trip and forgot her QuikSerter! So she had to change her pump site in the airport, without a QuikSerter, with a blood sugar over 600 mg/dL (anxiety)! She got through it, but it was the first time she had ever done it manually.

    I love using my QuikSerter, but I can't imagine doing it myself. I guess I should practice in case I ever forget mine or it malfunctions. Or just go back to shots. ;-)

  2. I also have never used a quikserter...manual is the way to go. Somehow the shock of the spring action freaks me out...and for traveling it means bringing less stuff! Been doing it that way since 1999...

  3. That was me a few short months ago. I was so scared to use the insertion device because I also like to be in total control, and the thought of rocketing a needle at Mach 5 towards my body did not make me want to do a happy dance. But after a few mishaps trying to do it on my own with the above pod, I finally worked up the courage (after standing in the bathroom for 45 minutes with a butt cheek exposed trying to make myself squeeze the button) I'll never go back. It's amazing. If you ever decide to go for it, I'll be interested to hear about your experience. :)

  4. I used to use the old school ones, but switched to the pods when I got my ping and I LOVE them. I always bled when inserting manually and really the worst thing about the pods is the sound it makes. I promise, it made my life SO much easier!

  5. Manually putting in a set is freaky. I can't do it. I tried. And failed. And ran crying back to the safety of the Sof-Serter. *whimper*

  6. My daughter's 1st pump was Cozmo as well -- you guys are like soul sisters or something :)

    I've been a RN for almost 17 years. I've stuck lots of needles in a lot of places over that time. From IV's to IM shots to SQ shots to pokes, prods, and the like....


    You're my BADASS hero today :)

  7. Girlfriend, I have never used an inserter either. They freak me out. I don't trust that it won't hurt and will be inserted correctly. Plus, the MiniMed (previous pump) inserters always looked like this big machine--not gentle or easy. I just pop my sets in, zip-zap, not a thought about it. Nice to know I'm not the only one! ;)

  8. So the next question is: how? Do you rear back and stab yourself as hard as you can? Do you ease 'er in? Do you make a squeak when the needle goes in? I have to know.

  9. I'm with you completely, Kim. Don't use or trust insertion devices, EXCEPT in the occasional happenstance that my wife helps me insert one on on the arm. This is a new development, and hasn't happened more than a few times. If something like that is going into my body, I want to be able to INSERT IT MYSELF. Used quick-sert/90 degree ones briefly, and hated them, then switched back to Silouettes. To answer Jacquie's question: I "ease" them in gradually, holding my breath and anticipating the worst before exhaling all happy there was no muscle penatration or squirting. That's just me, though.

  10. I always used my 'serter until one day when I had problems with it. So I decided to try manual insertion - and it wasn't bad at all!! I ever posted about how inserting them manually made me feel like a bad ass. And you are a bad ass too!!! (Although now I go both ways - sometimes I do it manually and sometimes I use the inserter. Just depends on my mood that day - LOL_

  11. The local Animas CDE said she still likes the ones you insert yourself, because that's what everyone started out with.

    I've been curious to try the 90 degree angle stainless steel infusion set, which is just pushed in. But I think I'd be nervous about doing an angled one by hand. With the little 90 degree one, you just hover it where you want it then push straight in, and there's no needle to pull out and no cannula to get kinked. Nut as curious as I am, I'm nervous about buying a package of them and then discovering I'm allergic. I'm allergic to nickle, and even some stainless steel has enough nickle to affect me.

  12. Heh. I haven't yet been brave enough to manually insert a set, but I get the notion - I have the same issues with finger sticks! I've been manually stabbing for blood sugars since a week after my diagnosis (I couldn't handle the anticipation of pressing the button!), and could never imagine using one. I have NO idea how this didn't translate to my sets... :)

  13. I've used the Comfort sites.. used 'em for years. And then switched to manually using QuickSets.

    All I have to say about Animas' pods is they take the guess out of it... When you're inserting manually and it hurts, do you stop and possibly pull it out? Because I did! And the Animas sucker doesn't give you that option - it's in! Means I lose less sites :D <3

  14. Yup, I used to be in the same boat as well. I've had Animas the whole 7.5 years I've been pumping. I used exclusively Comforts at first, then switched to Inset 90s (aka, the ones in the first picture). When I started having scar tissue problems, I switched back to the Comforts for a while. What I liked about it was 1) well, not having scar tissue problems, and 2) being able to poke around and make sure the needle was not going in a super painful spot.

    But then a CDE showed me the Inset 30s (which, for those who don't know, are exactly like the Comforts but with with auto insertion) and I converted. Yes, you can do it one-handed. I also find that I have more real estate opportunities-- for example, on my back, where it would be too hard to reach and insert a needle. Also, angling it in anyway you choose has its drawbacks....have you ever gone too shallow or too deep? Yeeeow! I like knowing that it's going in exactly right with the auto inserter. And finally, I like that I can vary the angle of the set itself (not the cannula). With manual insertion, sites were always horizontal and facing left-- because that's how left-handed me had to stick them in.

    Oh my goodness, I never realized how much I could talk about infusion sets until now. :P

    Anyways, if you're feeling daring-- pick up one box of the Inset 30s with your next supply order and try them out. You may be surprised!


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