"No Guns Allowed"

ArmSiteOne
Whoa. Careful there. It’s cool – no need to bring out the big ammunition…

Guns like that should be checked at the door! Wait ’til I flex…

Ok. Ok. I’ll stop. I know. Not too impressive. I’m not like Kerri’s Chris – with biceps jumping out of his shirt at you (you’re welcome Chris! 🙂 ).

Wait – what is that on the bottom of my arm?! Oh yes – the point of this post…

ArmSiteTwo

Yes boys & girls, I have officially tried an arm site!

The timing working out just right, my site change day fell on a Friday morning. That meant I had four days before I would be playing basketball again. Four days meant that I would be doing another site change before basketball. This is important.

Where I play basketball, we play shirts & skins. One team keeps their shirts on, the other team takes their shirts off. With the teams changing many times through the session, shirts vs. skins makes it easy to keep track of who is on your team.

With the need to play basketball with my shirt off, I usually need to keep my infusion site very close to my waistline, reducing the amount of tubing that is above my shorts. I don’t want it to get snagged and pull my site out.

I would be able to change site locations before my next basketball session, making the next one a little more “basketball friendly”.

I took advantage of the opportunity to try something a little different.

I use a 9mm cannula. That means that cannula going below the skin is 9mm long. Going straight in at a 90 degree angle.

So, in theory, you need at least 9mm of subcutaneous tissue for that cannula to occupy comfortably. On my abdomen that is not a problem. But on my arm? I just wasn’t sure about that.

But what is the worst that could happen?

It might hurt like a son-of-a-bitch, in which case I would take in out and know never to try it again. Or it might be relatively comfortable, but have trouble delivering the insulin. You know, a bent or kinked cannula? Or it might be one of those sites that hurts sometimes, like when delivering a bolus or when you apply pressure to it. The only way to know would be to go for it.

I got all my stuff together, cocked my Quick-serter, positioned it where I thought I wanted it, took a breath and started squeezing the release buttons.

Those that have used the Quick-serter know that you usually try to apply equal pressure to both buttons (one on each side), getting them to “click” and release the spring at the same time.

Well, it didn’t quite happen like that for me. Not sure if it was just the new position, or if I was all scared and shaky. I got the first button pressed, heard a muffled not-quite-right partial click, and nothing. I was pressing with all the might I could muster on the other side, but the damn thing didn’t want to release. Finally, with another odd sounding “click”, the button released and the spring slowly eased the needle into my arm.

Wait a second – that is not how it’s supposed to work!!

The whole reason I use a spring loaded inserter device is because I’m a puss and don’t deal well with the “slower is better” mentally flawed logic that I’m usually a victim of.

But – it didn’t hurt a bit. I was concerned about the integrity of the site, because of the cockeyed insertion, but it seemed to hold fine and the needle came out nice and easy.

How can you really know though? You can’t see the cannula. You can’t tell if it’s bent or kinked or crimped or whatever.

Wait and see is all you can do.

I tentatively pushed down on top of the exposed site – trying to see if it would hurt when I applied pressure. Nope – it felt fine. Great even. Could hardly tell it was there. I went through the rest of the routine, getting my pump and tubing all set to go.

The next challenge would be “tubing management”. I wear my pump in a pouch on my belt, typically having whatever excess tubing there is just live down the leg of my pants. But with this – an arm site, what would I do?

I put my t-shirt on, and had the tubing just going back up my arm through the t-shirt and down across my chest and stomach to the other side where I put my pump. Overall, it’s not too bad. But I can feel some pull when I raise my left arm up over my head. Not too much though.

My blood sugars have been pretty much in line – or at least no major stubborn highs that might indicate a problem with the cannula. I’m happy with that.

I have just a little more courage to try new places now. I really didn’t think that I had 9mm of spare subcutaneous tissue to spare on my arm – but apparently I do. That might open up some options for me down the line.

What’s next for me? A leg site?

It all depends on how I feel the next time my site change falls on a Friday…

P.S. – Special thanks to Beth at In Search of Balance for the spiffy new header image!

P.P.S. – Anyone else out there get a kick out of those caveman Geico.com commercials?

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Scott K. Johnson

Patient voice, speaker, writer, advocate. Living life with diabetes and telling my story. Patient Success Manager, USA for mySugr (All opinions expressed are my own and do not necessarily represent the position of my employer).

Diagnosed in April of 1980, I recognize the incredible mental struggle of living with diabetes. Read more…