Pumping Insulin

This is a little different to my usual foodie posts, but without this amazing machine, diabetes would not be as easy as it is for me today. Today was 'set change' day. This is where we switch over the part of the pump that sits on my tummy, to make sure it keeps pumping insulin into me properly.

I remember when I first switched from injections to pump therapy, it took us 45 minutes to complete my first set change. Now, it's about a 3 minute gig. I was so grateful to bloggers who had shared pictures and videos of how to do a set change for my brand of pump. I seemed to have forgotten everything the nurses had shown me only days before!

Here's all the kit I use:


The names of the different parts still baffle me sometimes. The part below is known as a reservoir. This is the part with the insulin in it, once it's been drawn up from the glass bottle. Barry does a great job of this for me as he never gets any bubbles in there, which is a big no-no. If any appear, we just flick the side of the plastic reservoir until they go to the top and back into the insulin bottle.

The pump is pretty self-explanatory. It's interface reminds me of a mobile phone. Here's the steps we follow. First up, find reservoir and tubing on the menu, as these are the parts being replaced.

Then, select new reservoir:

It rewinds the plunger, which has been pushing insulin through the tubing for the past 3 days, so it's primed to receive a new reservoir.


In the meantime, Barry has filled a new reservoir for me and I get it connected to the infusion set. That's the name of the blue part (also available in other colours) It simply screws onto the connector, as shown.

The pump tells you everything you need to do. Next, I place the reservoir inside the pump and screw it into place.

I load the reservoir, which is a matter of holding a button down to bring the plunger part up to the bottom of the reservoir, ready to start pushing a bit of insulin out. You won't see this happen but you will hear it. This checks everything is working before we attach it to me.

Next up, I remove the needle cover to expose the small(ish) needle.

I fill the tubing until a few drops of insulin come out of the needle. Again, it's just a matter of holding a button down and the pump moves the plunger upwards until insulin drips out.

Once a few drops have made their way through the pump, I catch them in a tissue and the pump is ready to attach to me.

It's a simple spring loaded mechanism. I pull the white plastic parts out, then pinch the sides to release. I find a patch not too close to where the last one was, and free of any damage / scar tissue to make sure the insulin will work well. Your specialist will let you know the best places for you.

Sometimes it doesn't hurt at all and sometimes it stings a little. 

I make sure the tubing is out of the way by putting it into one of the little notches they have on the blue part of the plastic for this purpose.

And pinch!

And here's the end result. The needle withdraws and gets disposed of in a sharps container. It leaves behind a little teflon tube inside me, which the insulin travels through, called a cannula.

The blue part, shown below, can be pinched and removed if I'm taking a bath or swimming. You also get little shields in each pack of infusion sets, which you can attach if you need to stop water getting inside while you swim.

Last step is to fill the cannula. The little tube inside me now is empty of insulin, so it's important to fill this. This helps make sure the first dose I deliver is accurate and not just being used to fill the tube.

For the size I use, 0.350 units fills my cannula. Your pump provider will let you know how much you need.


And, I'm all set for another 3 days!

*This is not a sponsored post.*