I’ve been having some troubles with my pump. Some of the problems are my fault, like forgetting to resume the pump after suspending it for a shower, or forgetting to reduce the basal rate an hour before going out for a run. But the pump, and its design also play a part in my recent frustrations. Before I continue I want to make it very clear that I am in no way sorry I got a pump, I just think that there’s some room for improvement.
Sunday morning I went out a little later than usual and met my running coach for a 7.5 mile run at an easy pace. I forgot to reduce the basal rate on my pump to 30% like I always do (an hour before the run) but I didn’t notice this until after my run. I checked my blood sugar a few times during the run and it stayed above 120 until the end. When I got home I checked again and it was 88. Normally, when I forget to reduce my basal rate I find my blood sugar crashing after 2-3 miles, and when I don’t forget to reduce my basal rate I usually need a gel .
When I got home I ate breakfast, which included a little bit of carb which I bolused for. About an hour later I started feeling bad. I checked my blood sugar and it was 258. I plugged the number into my pump and got the “HIGH BG, Check for Occlusion. Check for Ketones. Consider insulin injection. Monitor BG” message. I ignored it and bolused again. I waited another hour before checking again. When I did my blood sugar level was the same. Again I plugged the number into the pump and after ignoring the “HIGH BG, Check for Occlusion…” warning again, I bolused again. At this point I figured I may have to switch my infusion set. I was resisting because it had been in for less than one day.
But when I checked again a half an hour later my blood sugar was the same.
The truth is that I wasn’t all that surprised. When I’d inserted the Medtronic quickset the day before, the adhesive partially stuck to me, and also got partially stuck on the big blue inserter, and therefore did not go in evenly. This has happened to me before with the inserter. A few times I’ve had to throw out an infusion set and other times it has just painful. I think this happens when I fail to press the two buttons that release the spring at exactly the same time. Then, the release is not even and so the adhesive sticks to the side of the inserter. That’s my guess, anyway.
So I removed the set and decided it was time to try something new. For a few weeks I’ve had samples of the Spring Universal Infusion Sets, sent to me by the company to test. When the people at Spring gave me the sets they offered to send someone to teach me how to use it for the first time. This, they said, is a service they offer to all first time users. I declined their offer, figuring it couldn’t be all that difficult to do. Also, I had seen the short video they have on their website explaining how to use the set, and it seemed quite easy. (I actually just followed the paper instructions in the box and found them to be very clear and easy to follow).
The Spring set (like most sets) comes in two parts – the actual set itself, and the reservoir. For many pump models, including Animas, Accu-Chek and any luerlock connectors, you can use the pump’s original reservoir, but the Medtronic reservoirs do not hook up to the Spring set, so a third party reservoir is necessary.
The replacement reservoir (which was also supplied by Spring) was less comfortable to use than the original Medtronic reservoir because it does not hook on to the insulin vial. But the infusion set itself made me very happy. It’s excellent. The set comes with a built-in inserter (yes I know the Medtronic Mio has this too), which is a one button release system, so much easier to use than the two button system. The inserter mechanism is above the adhesive so you first stick the infusion set where you want it and then you release the needle.
After switching my infusion set, I bolused again. This time it worked and after two hours my blood sugars were back to normal.
Running Update: I’m 10 days away from the Tiberias Marathon. I ran 45 miles last week and am enjoying tapering off.