Vampire Cannulas. Ew.

After three days at the BlogHer conference in NYC and one day out in Pennsylvania with my grandmother, I flew back to San Diego on Monday night and have been trying to catch up ever since. I have so much to write about the BlogHer conference, but until I get through the 3,000+ emails in my inbox (ok there’s only like, 30, but it feels like 3,000) I don’t have time for said level of detail. I do however have time to rant about this:

omipod cannula







That my friends is one nasty, yucky, plugged -up cannula. And the worst part about it? It was totally my fault. On Sunday night, I changed out my insulin pump pod before heading out to dinner with my Grandmother and her friend Margaret. My Grams is one of the most amazing people I know. She’s very sharp, and still provides some of the best social commentary/life advice of anyone I know, but her mobility is a bit limited these days. She gets around slow and steady with the help of a walker, but needless to say, dining out can be a bit of a production. She’s a great sport about it though, so after helping her and friend into the car and stashing the walker in the trunk, we were off. Then it started to rain. Hard. Being the California girl that I am, I had not packed anything remotely waterproof. Oops. My Grandma and her friend were well prepared with rain hats and jackets. Outdone by two 93 year-olds. Really?

We pulled up to the restaurant and I swooped out of the car to get the walker, help Grandma out of the car, then Margaret, and get them safely inside the restaurant. It was comical how drenched I was getting. I didn’t care at all – it wasn’t cold it was just messy and ridiculous to be that soaked. I went back around the driver side of the car to go park, and as I lowered myself into the seat I heard and felt the unmistakable RIIIIIIIP of my OmniPod being torn off my body.

For crying out loud was all I could think. Couln’t anything go right this evening? I slammed the door shut and maneuvered the car to a parking spot. I reached around to my back to feel the pod. I couldn’t tell if it had ripped the cannula out or just the side. It felt secure still around the base of the pod where the cannula enters your skin but the whole length of one side was pulled away. Since it was a fresh pod and I didn’t want to waste the 125 units of insulin I’d put in there only an hour ago, I decided to see if it was still working or not by waiting it out for a little while. I’d know pretty quick if I wasn’t getting any insulin.

By “pretty quick” I mean that after an hour I had gone from 70mg/dL to 218 with an arrow on the DexCom pointing straight up, and I hadn’t so much as looked at a carb during my dinner (grilled chicken and mushrooms, salad). And this my friends, is the moment where I was so so so glad I am prepared for situations like this. I didn’t have any pods with me as they were in my luggage back at Grandma’s, but I had a vial of Humalog and a syringe. I dialed up four units and injected. We were back at Grandma’s a half hour later (and thankfully the rain had stopped).

I pulled out my supplies to fill a new pod and deactivated the old one. I ripped it off – which hurt like pulling duct tape off my skin since the adhesive was so fresh and looked at that bloody, nasty, vampire-sucking cannula. Gross, to say the least (sorry for the pic, hopefully you’re not reading this over breakfast!).

There’s two things this made me think about. One, I’m so glad I was prepared with back ups. And two – did I make the right decision by waiting it out? Or should I have changed the pod the minute my suspicions were up? I’m curious was you all would do in a similar situation – do you change it out right away? Or wait it out and see? Does it depend on how much insulin you have left in it that you don’t want to waste? Leave a comment and let me know!

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Definitely wait and see. You have got to get some little Unisolve swabs for just such an occasion. Melts that glue in an instant.

The other morning I woke up inexplicably high. I was faced with, do I change this virtually new set or just correct without changing to see if it actually is working. I chose the latter. This time I won. I was down to almost normal a 2-3 hours later. But it really is a 50-50 thing. These hair-raising incidents never happen in a good way or at a good time.

I change it. I always have a spare pod with me. Usually when I even *think* the cannula is pulled out, it’s a goner. I can’t wear mine on my back, so I can always look and see to be sure.
And I always, ALWAYS suck out the insulin and shoot it back into the vial. No point in wasting it–even if it costs me little to nothing, there are people dying out there in the world because they don’t have access to it. Makes me feel a tad guilty to waste any of it, EVER.

I have also lost a few pods to getting into a vehicle, it gets ripped off as I jump in and the back of the seat rips it off. Ouch. When in doubt, I always wait to see if I need to change it. I hate wasting insulin (and a pod) if I don’t have to.

Jessica how do suck out the insulin? I have tried a few times and put the syringe in there to try and pull it out and I get nothing but air?


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