The Infusion Set Review

We’ve used the new infusion set twice now and the reviews are positive!  The first time we used one, my daughter actually uttered the words, “I like it, Mommy.”   For a mechanism containing a spring-loaded needle I’d call that high praise indeed.

What is there to like about it? 

It’s much faster.  With the inserter, the site pops right in.  When I do it by hand, I take my time, making sure the angle is correct and that my hands are steady.

The speed with which it’s inserted decreases the pain.  The painful part is the insertion of the needle.  Even though the needle must stay in for a few seconds while tape is secured, once it’s all the way in it no longer hurts, at least not much.  She still says “ouch” when it goes in, but it’s quieter.

The connection between the tubing and the site works either way.  On our old sites, the connector on the tubing could only fit into the site with the smooth side up.  This was not usually a big deal, but at the pool or beach when trying to reconnect underneath a bathing suit it was inconvenient.  Add an impatient child, glaring sun, or blowing sand and it became near impossible.  This one pops in either way.

Last thing to like, but not least if you’re a 9 year old girl, is that it comes in a variety of colors.  The plastic part stuck to her skin, and the end of the tubing are available in pink, blue, green or grey.  She wants pink because it will match her pump but is considering writing the company to request they make more choices.  Orange is her favorite color and an orange site would be very cool, she thinks.

So we’ve ordered a shipment of new sites.  I’m not sure how to fit them in my closet, but it’s worth the effort.   Anything to make site change a more pleasant experience is well worth it!

Ice Cream Pellets

This weekend, we went to a local minor-league baseball game.  My daughter is a big baseball fan, and was excited to attend the game with my husband and I, and her grandpa.  We've been overdosing on junk food lately, and the end is not in sight. Therefore, we decided to have dinner at home, and just a "treat" at the game.

My daughter quickly picked out her gametime treat. "I think they have dippin' dots there.  I really want to try those."    Grateful she had made this decision to try something new before we got to the park, I quickly looked up the carbohydrate information for dippin dots ice cream online and compared my results to my calorie king carbohydrate book.   Both indicated approximately 20 carbs for a half a cup.

Around the 6th inning, with the home team winning by a lot, we made our way to the concession stand.  She ordered her choice of flavor (mint-chocolate chip), and immediately dug in.  It was a different brand, but an identical looking dish of tiny ice cream pellets.  I estimated there was about a cup of them in there, and bolused accordingly.  She enjoyed every bite.

An inning later, grandpa returned from the concession stand with his own dish of pellets.  He is an ice cream connoisseur, and had to try them.  He's also always curious about what company makes the things he purchases and therefore began perusing the top cover of his dish.  My daughter had ripped off and discared her top cover before I realized there was one.  Grandpa's cover,  it turned out, had nutritional information on it indicating the whole dish contained 13 grams of carbohydrate.


She started with a small juice box.  By the end of the game/start of the fireworks, she was into the glucose tabs.  Upon our return home, a small glass of o.j. was in order before bed.

But nobody panicked.  We had enough carbs with us to keep her upright. But I found it reassuring that the cotton candy guy was passing our seats quite regularly until we left the park!

The Infusion Set Experiment: A Preamble

This week we visited the Diabetes Educator at my daughter’s endocrinology practice to learn about infusion sets for her pump.  The infusion set is the part of the pump system which is inserted just under the skin.  It consists of a plastic piece which connects to the pump tubing, adhesive tape, a tiny rubber cannula which ends up under the skin, and a needle to insert it which gets removed upon insertion.  A new one is inserted every 3 days.

The one we currently use looks like this:

We’ve been using this set since my daughter started pumping nearly 6 years ago.  She’s had no problems from a functionality perspective.  The actual process of changing the site is what led us to consider alternatives. With our current model, I insert the site by hand, taking a pinch of flesh in one hand while inserting the needle at a 30 degree angle with the other.  Inserting that long needle by hand causes psychological and physical trauma which we hope the newer alternatives may somewhat alleviate.

The alternative we’ll be test-driving this week looks like this:

It comes pre-packaged in a spring-loaded device.  After a bit of unwrapping, and pulling back the “trigger” (which makes it sound decidedly unappealing, but we’ll move on), it’s held against the body in the desired location.  A gentle squeeze on two pressure points causes action which inserts the site.  The entire device is then pulled away from the body, removing the insertion needle and leaving the site in place. 

Sadly, there’s no way to make the process painless or even remotely pleasant.  Any way you slice it, it involves inserting a needle under the skin every 3 days, however briefly.  Our hope is that this new site will at least be quicker to insert, and slightly less painful.  Some day it will also be significantly easier for my child or teenager to do by herself. 

It’s taken almost a year of convincing to get my daughter to the point of trying this new site.  Understandably, she’s inclined to stick to what she knows, despite the possibility that new is better.  However, she’s finding site changes increasingly stressful these days, so finally agreed to give it a go.  Stay tuned…I’ll let you know how it goes!

The Hike

This past weekend, we hiked a mountain.  According to my probably inaccurate online research, the mountain's elevation is about 1800 feet, and the vertical climb from where we parked was a little under 1000 feet.  If you're a hiking novice like me, the statistics which will mean more to you are that it took about an hour to hike up with 5 adults, my 9 year old and my 5 year old nephew.  The children set a rapid pace, taking their responsibility of finding the next trail markers very seriously.

After a bagel breakfast (a rare treat for her), my daughter's blood sugar was about 250.  I resisted correcting, and up the hill we headed.  Halfway up she was down to 150.  At the top, she was 90.  We enjoyed the beautiful vistas, and grazed on the tiny blueberries we discovered at the top.  We even managed to pick enough to bring back for pancakes the next morning. Those and a small granola bar fueled her up for the trip down.

We made it up and down the mountain with an end result around 150, which continued to drop as the afternoon wore on. 

Of course I think my poor husband, the self-nominated backpack carrier, was secretly hoping for a low somewhere along the line.  Prepared for any eventuality, we had what by any standards would be considered an excessive amount of juice boxes, glucose tabs and snacks on hand. 

On the one hand, it's sort of a non-story, diabetes-wise.  We hiked up, enjoyed the top, and hiked back down without incident.  On the other hand, we had to plan ahead with a hearty breakfast, pack like we were camping for days instead of taking a 3 hour hike, and regularly scout out flat rocks upon which to occasionally stop and check.  Prior planning and a little bit of divine intervention both need to come together to make a day like this one a diabetes success.