Insulin reservoir EMPTY!

OK, so I set my low cartridge warning at 20U (it was previously on 10U).  Big mistake, because 20 is just enough that I can forget about it for a while.  Anyway I'm out to dinner last night, food comes to the table and OH S***, I only have 5U.  Not nearly enough for this dinner.  

So I'm thinking to myself.......self, you know there is about 15U of insulin in the pump tubing how can you take advantage of that?  After talking it over with my wife, I knew that I could deliver said 15U (about) by blowing the insulin through the tube from the "connector" (I know there is a fancy word for it but I don't know what it is) to the insertion site.   I so wanted to do it (being the T1 McGyver that I am), but my wife talked me out of it.  Something about germs and infection.  So I didn't do it. 

But have any of you ever tried this out of desperation???  I'm curious if it worked or would work.  Let us know.  Thanks.

Jason in Orlando.




I have been in same situation as well. That idea never entered my mind though but I think it very well could be gradable.

Feasable I mean. long as your not concerned with giving a little bit too much you could just take the whole resevoir out and push the plunger in the rest of the way.  or  disconnect the resevoir from the tubing, suck up some air, reconnect it, and use that to push the insulin through the tube. idk, I've never tried any of them, just some thoughts. on my minimed pump I used to use a syringe (i still carry a few everywhere, just in case) to suck the extra insulin out of the resevoir is the pump gave me an empty alarm, but I haven't tried that with my animas yet.

You could eat low carb, or just have a high blood sugar until you get home and correct.  I'd correct with an injection, since the insulin will be delivered a lot quicker that way (and into fresh tissue) than with the pump.

I always carry a syringe and extra insulin, of course that's easy for me because I'm female and carry a purse.  

This morning my pump res had about 18u of insulin, which is too much to throw away but not enough to last the 12 hours until I get home tonight.  So I am using that 15u to cover my basal rate and any small corrections.  I ate a hard boiled egg for breakfast and will take a shot to cover my lunch carbs.  Minor inconvenience, but no big deal.

I completely agree with your wife that it's a bad idea because of germs. If you've ever had an infected site or even left your site in too long and it's gotten sore it's not a pretty site. At least the one's that I've had.


I think the risk of infection would be low if you practice good technique - wash your hands, etc - while I am just getting started with my ping (switched from Omnipod) - this idea intrigues the heck outta' me - next cycle where i'm changing site and reservoir I'm going to have to try this to see if it works - though I don't generally give that much insulin at a go.  I would limit it to no more than a full two units or so less than than the insulin in  the tube - I'm a bit averse to the idea of pushing a bunch of air...   Anyhow - with luck, I'll remember to circle back here and post my results within the week ;)




Sometimes you just have to out think the situation.  It would take a lot of bravery to go through with this, but it would work.  Maybe next time I will try it......after I see the results from your experiment.


Okay - I had to do this TWICE - before I felt comfortable sounding off (had an MRI that forced a change - so I got creative) - anyhow - I pulled the cart - did a rewind - undid the lock - pulled back the plunger on the empty - replaced the lock - re-inserted the reservoir  - and pushed two units of air into the tubing with a fruit snack that should have required the same...  what was interesting both times is that it seemed to fall a bit short of the expected action - not sure but suspect the air compresses some and and you're not getting an even units out for units in on the transaction.  

That said no problems with either site, the dose did bring my sugar down but maybe a bit less than expected.  I have something new to play with if I get the process (or calculations) any better refined - I will post back.

Hope all is well and that you and yours had a great Thanksgiving.