Site Fright

Tonight is the first night since May (other than that 570+ conundrum in July) that I’ve taken my pump OFF! I went to change the set and couldn’t bring myself to insert for about ten minutes. Then, after I’d psyched myself up (and out), I wore it for an hour and bolused for dinner and it said no delivery…so I tried changing sets again, but I was crying and frustrated and scared and I finally just got some levemir and called it good for the night. It’s like some horror sci-fi where the robot-human tries to escape their fate.
Does anyone else get panicky when they change their set? I was pumping for three months about six years ago and I had to quit because the insertions were so awful. I really like my pump now, but I’m still scared of it.

Are there any tricks to inserting? And why are the sights faulty so often?

Hi Phoebeee,

I am sorry you are having such a difficult time. Can you contact a representative from the insulin pump company? How about someone from your endocrinology team? I have talked to each if these people when I have questions about my daughters pump and they usually have some great tips and tricks. Especially since many if them are type 1 also. I’m sorry I don’t have any words of wisdom other than numbing spray and cold packs to numb the area. Good luck!

Even after 12 years of pumping, I still get a little apprehensive when I switch out. But I can’t imagine going back to shots, so I take a deep breath and forge ahead. I use Silhouette sets (30 degree), and I get faint when I insert by hand so I use the Sil-Serter. It’s not gentle, more like a small rocket launcher, but it’s fast and rarely any discomfort other than just surprise. I agree with the advice to call the pump company to see if you can meet with a rep, or a diabetes educator could help too. Good luck pushing through this!

it is 100% unnatural to push a needle through your skin. Every self-defenses response in your head goes off and tries to stop you from going through with it. I think this reaction is buried in the oldest part of your brain under thousands of years of evolution.

I’ve been apprehensive about shots, auto-serters of every kind, even the tiniest of skin lances for over 30 years and it aint going away.

another interesting thing for me is the anticipation. once I lock my set-serter, if I linger over the site for even a second the buttons get impossible to push, if I think about it for even a moment, I find it almost impossible to squeeze the trigger. after years and years of this, I think the anticipation is that worst part of it. dont get me wrong, I am not squeamish; I started IV’s before in other people, and I can give shots like a pro, it’s just when I am hovering over my own skin it gets unbearable in an instant.

advice: go fast, go very very fast. clear your mind, and go fasssssst! =) it gets better with repetition. good luck.

2 other thoughts - (1) rip the old set off after you set the new one. that ^#$@%#@ tape sets me up for even more anxiety.

(2) some people cannot wear plastic cannula type infusion sets. sometimes they occlude immediately, don’t know why because it never happened to me, my sets are painful if I put them near stomach muscle, but they are completely comfortable when I am near gluteus maximus muscle go figure, and go with what works.

Like others have said, make sure you have the right set for your body. If you’re using a quick set that goes straight in and you don’t have much body fat, the canula will bend and you’ll get no delivery. There are other sets that go in at an angle.

I’ve had diabetes 37 years and still have to consciously calm myself down before site changes. I pick a good time of day when I’m not rushed but not too tired. I try to put on a TV show or a favorite song to distract myself, take a deep breath and make sure I’m relaxed when I do a new site. It goes well most of the time and if I don’t like it I can always move it somewhere else.

Once it’s in I rarely feel the site and I love being able to bolus easily without any trouble for the next 3 days.