Each Wednesday I plan to share a story about those moments where I think I have T1 totally under control until I encounter a new experience that makes me realize there's still more to learn.
For a T1 a new pump is a super exciting experience. For more than 4 years every 3 days I had stuck my body with a large needle supplied by Medtronic, primed my purple pump and clipped the tubing into my infusion site. For 4+ years I relied on Medtronic to essentially keep me alive. I was able to put those infusion sites in drunk, hung over, in a rush, in the dark or when I wasn't feeling well. But I had grown a bit frustrated with my Medtronic pump, I lost trust in the machinery working properly and since I do depend so much on the pump to keep me healthy I simply had to move on.
I flirted with Animas when I first got my Medtronic pump but my first Endo whom I had an awful relationship with strong armed me away from the company. I had kept up on Animas' development, I liked the partnership with J&J, I liked that Animas integrated with Dexcom and I loved that the pump offered more flexibility in basal rates than Medtronic. But.... what I did not realize was the small things can add up, when comfort with a system turns into habit its really hard to change.
Inserting my Minimed Silhouette infusion set had become second nature to me. Much like knowing how to tie your shoes I had become so accustumed to the Silhoutte I could insert it in just about any situation. Over the 4+ years with Minimed I had inserted this set at least 400 times. I figured the Animas infusion set would be like driving a car; different make, different model but the gas is still on the right and brake on the left. I was ummm.... WRONG.
The first time I inserted my Animas set it took me 30 minutes to figure out where all the pieces went. I then went through 3 infusion sets before I figured out how to insert it properly. The second time I inserted the infusion set I couldn't figure out how to prime the pump and the god awful Animas alarm went off at least 25 times letting me know there was no insulin delivery. And the third time.... that's when the s*it hit the fan.
I was in San Diego for a wedding, after a one or two drinks too many and hours of dancing the gf and I were a bit hungry when we returned to the hotel. I had enough insulin to last me through the night but not enough to cover a meal of Wendys. I had brought 3 infusion sets with me, "just in case," knowing I hadn't had alot of success inserting the sites properly. Thank God I brought 3!
On my first attempt the infusion set fell off when I removed the needle making the set useless to me. On my second attempt the canula popped out of my skin after I inserted the infsuion set and bled kind of alot. And the third attempt that's when it really got to me.
On my third attempt I was extra careful, In inserted the infusion set and began to pull the needle out of the canula but my hand slipped and the set did not stay in place. At that moment I got pretty nervous knowing I would need insulin for the next 24 hours and knowing that I wouldn't return to my apartment until 9pm the following night. with a half used infusion set in my hand I had to thread the needle back through the canula and attempt to insert it again. With sweaty palms, a racing heartbeat and a girlfriend nervous as heck in the corner I was finally able to get the infusion set into my body.
I'm now used to inserting the Animas set; but it took a while. A seemingly easy and brainless task caused huge frustrations. Each time I had to insert a site I was nervous for the first month or two of using my new pump. The big change - I had to take the front level of tape off of the infusion site at a different step of the process than with the Minimed. A 5 second task caused all my frustrations but that's what habit causes. Sometimes you think you have this disease totally under control and then a 5 second task puts it all back in perspective.