Tapping New Diabetes Real Estate

I've finally done it.

After eight years of pumping, I have finally tapped some new, unused diabetes real estate. This has meant moving away from the traditional tummy, abdomen, thigh and leg sites for infusion sets that I've mostly relied on during my pumping years. Now, my right arm is proud to be the new four-day home of an infusion site.

Earlier in the day, a surprising out-of-the-blue 536 blood sugar nearly floored me. It came about three hours after lunch, which I had dosed for accurately, so I assumed it could be a site issue. Took a bolus to correct, waited an hour, and did another: It ballooned up another 30 points, to 580 mg/dL. I was evil-clown-afraid when seeing these results, and set out to bring them down. I yanked the abdomen site and readied myself for a new one, but finding the spot would take me to new places. Investigating options, I turned to the online diabetes community and bloggers who've tackled this topic, such as Six Until Me - which helped greatly in not only the logistics but also imagining it. (Thanks, Kerri!) Ultimately, I opted against the legs (which I've used) and untapped lower back area this time, instead choosing the arm. Since I'm left-handed, I voted to use that hand to insert on the right arm.

It didn't come without worry and hesitation. Not to mention the nervousness that came with transitioning to new 90-degree Minimed Quick-Sets and a debut appearance by my Quick-Soft-Serter device. I was a little freaked out, fearing the worst: that I'd hit a nerve, and overwhelming pain would seep through my arm and body before streams of gushing ketcup claimed freedom. None of that happened, though. I pinched the site, and my wife actually pushed the buttons to initiate the plunge. There was hardly a prick and I felt little as the site went into the right side section of my upper arm. We withdrew the device, and all was well. We secured a small loop of tubing with tape, and all seemed OK. We proceeded to check it out in the mirror, and also disconnect and reconnect it a few times just to make sure all was indeed kosher like a pickle. It was.

After that, I garnered some additional paranoia when pondering the task of putting on a shirt. Discussing the procedure with my wife, closing my eyes to imagine it, and then carefully applying the shirt to these pre-imagined moments all took longer than it probably should have. As did the same process of figuring out how I'd need to put on a workshirt. Suzi laughed at me. The dog watched from the other side of the room, wondering what the commotion was about and why it wasn't focused on her. The cat couldn't have cared less. I was the most proud, beaming like a man in a new suit who just got a new job. Within moments, I tested again, and in seeing yet a third very too high test, immediately shot up with more correction bolus. No new site tingling or anything. All is good, and hopefully soon my fruity sweater-mouth will be wiped out by the new surge of insulin to the arm. (It's slowly inching downward, but not nearly as fast as I'd hoped and we have ways to go...)

Digressing, with a poem: (Armed & Dangerous to High Blood Sugars, I am I am. First they'll be there, then they'll get a WAM, and they'll go down the drain like yucky Green Eggs & Ham. Then soon I'll be low, thanks to my new arm site in tow, and death is all those bad ketones will know!)

Anyhow, that's that. Proudly, I have tapped prime new real estate, a spot that I used regularly during my many years of insulin needle injections but one I'd never ventured to with a pump. That has now changed. I have mastered this body land, and claimed it for my diabetes like a colonial settler claiming new frontier land for his home. Luckily, I didn't strike oil and get a surge of anything rushing out, but I do feel richer in tapping this new space for site use.

Next, we'll cruise over to the left arm and then explore the lower back for possible claims on new real estate. Hopefully, that will give the current and past site market a chance to rebound and better serve the infusion site housing market.


Cara said…
I'm a lefty too. And I've never been brave enough to try my arms. Tried legs and the insulin absportion wasn't good, so I use my legs for CGMS.

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