Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Out, damned set! out, I say!

I usually change my infusion sets every 48 hours, in the evening. I do it at home where all of my stuff is, I'm not rushed, I can lift up my shirt without feeling weird, I have resources for disposal of giant introducer needles - the whole scene is just way better than any alternatives.

But. (It's diabetes. There's always a but.) Sometimes I forget to change that set. I notice when I get a stubborn, sticky BG that just won't settle back down. A hovering line on my Dexcom anywhere between 140 and 200 - nothing epic, but incredibly aggravating since it just. won't. budge. Once it dawns on me that I've missed my 48-hour set change window, I double-time it to get a new one in. Alas, sometimes that means I have to leave my little comfort zone and do a set change at work. Like I had to do today.

I leave a box of sets, a box of reservoirs, and a kerchunker at the office for emergencies. Today I lugged in a bottle of Novolog, too. I got most of the change set up - reservoir filled and hooked up to tubing, pump primed and ready to go - and then scurried to the ladies' room to insert the set. Note: I generally refuse to do diabetes care in the bathroom on principle (I firmly believe my disease does not need to be relegated to the level of excreting waste!). But I have no desire for my cubemates to see my bare midriff, so desperate times call for desperate measures, amiright?

TMI time, kids.

I entered a stall, hiked up my blouse, and undid the top of my skirt so I could access some fresh real estate. A quick kerchunk, some fiddling with adhesive, and the set was in. Someone else entered the bathroom as I finished and, on autopilot, I flushed the toilet. (My "business" was done, and apparently that's what my brain associates with "finished business.") Now, I usually leave the old set in for an hour to help with the Set Transition Highs - a little trick I learned from Sarah that's helpful for me, but only if my numbers aren't already crappy - but it was hurty and I was high, so out it came.

Of course it was a gusher. I immediately started hissing "shitshitshitshitshit," dropped my skirt to the ground so it wouldn't get covered with blood, and grabbed for the toilet paper. And when I say "grabbed," I mean "yanked" such that a healthy puddle of tissue ended up on the floor. You know, next to my skirt.

I stood there, adding wads of paper to my gushing bleeder, pushing against my stomach to stop the outpour, swearing and trying not to trip over my skirt...and then I remembered I wasn't alone in the bathroom. What kind of horrible poop-related disaster was this poor person imagining from the next stall?!

The bleeding finally stopped, but not before the stall looked like the scene of a triple murder. I cleaned up, scrubbed the blood off my hands, and tried to escape the bathroom while looking cool, calm, and collected. All the while fervently hoping no blood started to ooze out of my shirt on the way back to my desk.

This sort of stuff does NOT happen to the non-pancreatically challenged.

The reason for the drama: a kinked cannula.


  1. Boo to kinks! Boo to gushers! We change Caleb every 2 days too. We used to do every 3. It's a big difference. I makes it seem like we're changing it every other day! lol No seriously - it is a big difference. I can be much more forgetful about it. But there are positives to it - need to post about it!

  2. Been there, done that (except for the part about the skirt!). Though I might add the drama of trying to quickly pull out all that toilet paper while my insulin vial and other supplies (mostly spent) are delicately balancing on top of the roll.

    I'm still dreading the day when I do a fingerstick at my desk (I do that often) and the blood shoots across into someone else's cube. I get a "squirter" on occasion at home, but fortunately never at work.

  3. Whoa! I didn't know they could GUSH. Holy crapadoodledoo.

    My favorite parts of this: learning the name for the kerchunker, and wondering...did you stick around to see who the person with the poop-related disaster was?