Trying a New Infusion Set Site Location
I look forward to my endocrinologist appointments because it’s an opportunity for me to get the most out of my diabetes management. Take my last appointment, for example, where we discussed trying an infusion set in a new place for the very first time. While discussing this, my doctor recommended testing my blood glucose more frequently to make sure that I know whether or not the insulin absorption is the same for my new infusion set site location compared to my previous site locations.
For some background, in almost 11 years on a MiniMed insulin pump, I’ve used four different infusion sets with a variation of tubing lengths. I’ve always practiced the habit of rotating and alternating infusion sets. Today I might wear my site on the right side of my belly, but in two days I’d plan to move it to the left side or down to my thigh. But the one approved location that I’ve never worn used is the back of my arm. How would it feel? What do you do with the tubing? It never seemed to make sense to me.
So when my doctor and I discussed using the back of my arm for the first time it made me a little nervous. But after all of these years my site rotations are that much more important and it’s time to find new areas of skin, so I went home to try it with my Mio infusion set. I stood in front of the mirror, twisted around, and placed the serter on my skin. I then took a deep breath and whispered a word of encouragement to myself before I inserted it. “Phew, that wasn’t so bad.” (Note: this is one of the site locations where it actually might be a good idea to get help from a loved one depending on your flexibility and dexterity.)
Although this transition hasn’t been perfect, now I’ve worn it in my arm eight times and each time it’s gotten easier as I continue to learn what works best for me. Through this experience with a brand new site location, here are some things that I’ve noticed.
• The insertion feels different and is almost as comfortable as when I insert on my stomach but I think in time I will get used to it. One time, the insertion was noticeably uncomfortable, so I pulled it out and tried another one because I thought I may have hit some muscle or inserted it incorrectly so that’s something that I am now more aware of.
• Since I’m right handed I find that it’s much easier when I wear it on my left arm. It is a little more awkward to disconnect the site, so that’s something I’ve been practicing.
• The tubing length really matters in this case since the tubing now has to reach from my arm, around my shoulder, and down to my pocket where I typically clip my pump. I own boxes of infusions sets with different tubing lengths so I make sure to use the longest option (for my set its 32”) when I choose the back of my arm as a site.
• Since the set isn’t in my line of sight it can be harder to tell if the cannula gets bent with an insertion, the edges of the adhesive are peeling up, or if there happens to be blood at the site, so I know it’s important to take glances in a mirror to make sure everything looks ok. But I think my favorite part about this new site location outweighs this as it gives the rest of my body some time to heal.
• I also don’t mind that my pink infusion set now peeks out of my short sleeves!
No matter how long it’s been since you were first trained on a pump, it’s important to know that there are options. If you find that an infusion set that has worked for you but your body is going through changes, then talk to your doctor about trying a different cannula length or type of infusion set. If the tubing you use today doesn’t work in a specific season of your life with a sports uniform or prom dress because it’s too short or long, then talk to the Supply Order Team about trying a box of another length in your next shipment. Like me, you might be pleased when you push yourself to try something new! So tell me, what infusion set do you wear and where do you wear it?
Editors note: See image above for the best body areas for infusion set insertion or in your user guide. Visit our website to learn more about infusion set site locations.
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION
- Medtronic Diabetes insulin infusion pumps, continuous glucose monitoring systems and associated components are limited to sale by or on the order of a physician and should only be used under the direction of a healthcare professional familiar with the risks associated with the use of these systems.
- Successful operation of the insulin infusion pumps and/or continuous glucose monitoring systems requires adequate vision and hearing to recognize alerts and alarms.
Medtronic Diabetes Insulin Infusion Pumps
- Insulin pump therapy is not recommended for individuals who are unable or unwilling to perform a minimum of four blood glucose tests per day.
- Insulin pumps use rapid-acting insulin. If your insulin delivery is interrupted for any reason, you must be prepared to replace the missed insulin immediately.
For more information, please visit www.medtronicdiabetes.com/importantsafetyinformation.