Site change anxieties.

If you’ve never used an insulin pump, or an Omnipod for that matter, then you’ve never felt the sort of gut wrenching anxiety that I have felt every three days. Allow me to explain..

My pump is fantastic in that I have no tubes whatsoever. It is simply a pod, attached to my body, filled with insulin that is controlled by a PDM (Personal Diabetes Manager) which sends it signals to give me insulin. I get my background or basal insulin and I can add in my blood sugar/carbs to get a bolus or dosage for that moment.

OmniPod-with-PDM

I change this amazing little pod every three days. I move the site to my arms, my thighs, my lower back, even my stomach. It’s important to rotate your sites so that there is less scar tissue and skin damage.

Where does the anxiety part come into play?

Well, it’s during the process of changing and prepping a new pod to be placed on my body. You have to click on your PDM that you would like to fill another pod. Inside a neatly packed bundle is a pod and syringe that you use to fill the pod with. You aren’t allowed to use a normal syringe. You fill said syringe up with your units of insulin and then you administer that through a tiny hole up in the top left hand corner of your pod. You then listen for two beeps or it didn’t work..

Filling…filling…filling…..

C’mon…

Beep, beep.

Whew. That part was a success.

Yes, I have had it fail out at that point which means you lost a pod, a lot of insulin, and a little bit of your sanity.

Next you follow the prompts on your PDM which will begin the prepping process. You’ll hear a series of clicks and beeps while a “loading” page is featured on your PDM screen. This can also be a bit agonizing because I’ve had it fail out at that point as well. (Cue lost pod, insulin, and sanity). After that you’re prompted to remove the pods safety latch that covers the cannula, as well as the adhesive that will stick to your skin. All is good with that part of the process I’ve never had an issue here. After placing it on the site of your choice you click through and hit “start” which is the process of firing off the cannula into your skin.

THIS is the most stressful for me.

You’re pinching your skin and waiting to hear the clicks and beeps that accompany the firing of the cannula when all of a sudden you get a loud, screeching, alarm signaling that the pod has failed. “Whhhhaaat? No! But, I…just” Ugh. Cue loss of pod, insulin, and a lot of your sanity. Of course then there are the days where everything fires off completely normal and you are done and set for another three days of Omnipod awesomeness.

The failed pods are few and far between but they have happened which is what makes changing your site such a nerve wracking situation. Insulin and pods are not cheap so when something fails out I am not a happy camper.

Do any of my other insulin pumping friends go through any sort of site change anxiety?

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8 Comments

  1. I watched a participant in my recent clinical trial do a pod change at one point a couple of weeks back, and I was surprised at how much detail and concentration was required. The only thing I worry about with my setup (Medtronic) is winding up with a bent cannula upon insertion. And the pain of insertion on a cold day. I never got over that. Of course, you have the benefit of no tubes and waterless use, so you’re still one or two up on me.

  2. Today is Ian’s pod change day and he gets super anxious. He hates when I pull off the old pod (me too! It makes me queasy) and he freaks a little when it’s time to hit Start and insert the cannula. I hate “hurting” him but the last 3 months, while his blood sugars haven’t been much better, have been so much easier than giving shots.

  3. I know this is an old post but in case you don’t know, you can take the insulin back out of the pod through the same hole that you inject it into. Every time I change my pod, I take the old one off and take the unused insulin out of it and put it back into the bottle and then fill the new pod.

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