Eulogy for a Goldilocks Infusion Site

by Erin

RIP, infusion site number 436. Since August 7, 2014, seven months after Grasshopper was diagnosed with T1D, we have put a new infusion site on his tummy or thighs at least every three days. Sometimes more frequently if one falls off before the three days are up. Some sites are Hoodlums. They misbehave and cause problems for his blood sugar. Sometimes the cannula, the thin plastic tube that goes under his skin, bends when we are inserting it. It’s like a kink in a garden hose. A bent cannula means that the insulin can’t get into his body so his blood sugar rises dangerously high. Sometimes a cannula gets bent after insertion when he is playing and falls on the spot where the site is inserted. Sometimes we insert it in a spot where there is scar tissue from previous site insertions so the insulin doesn’t absorb as well and causes his blood sugar to go too high. Or a site might be working fine but might get accidentally pulled out early because the adhesive fails, it stays wet for too long or it gets tugged too hard. Or a combination of all of that.

Some sites are Overachievers. If we put a site too close to a blood vessel the insulin can be absorbed faster than usual which can cause low blood sugar. We call those super sites!
Then there are Goldilocks sites. Sites that aren’t kinked, stay on the whole three days, and keep doing their job of being a really expensive tiny straw through which Grasshopper’s pump pushes insulin into his body 24 hours a day. Those sites are juuuuust right.
We put this site on the afternoon of Wednesday, May 10. It lasted through two days of preschool, three days of running, jumping and being tickled, a Montgomery Biscuits baseball game, two separate days of bounce houses and inflatable slides, a birthday party, a pool party, a shower, lots of clothing changes, meals, birthday cupcakes, and 47 units of insulin. I was going to take off this site and put on a new one in between the birthday party and the pool party today but I forgot until it was too close to time for the pool party. We’ve learned not to get a new site wet immediately or it will fall off. This site was still working wonderfully and Grasshopper’s blood sugar was actually a bit on the low side so we decided to leave it on for the pool party and change it when we got home. As ever, we had to prepare for the possibility that it might fall off in the pool, so we brought extra pump sites with us, even though the party was in our neighborhood and we were only 2 minutes from our house. He had a blast playing in the pool. When we got home we tossed the kids in the shower to rinse off. As he was drying himself off from the shower the site fell off completely. Alas, Goldilocks site number 436, you served well and reliably for three full days and for that we are grateful. May the odds be ever in our favor that the next site works as well and stays on as it should!
(The site number 436 is an estimation. From when Grasshopper first got his pump on August 7, 2014 to today May 13, 2017 is 1011 days. We usually put on a site every three days. 1011 divided by 3 = 337. But sometimes we have to put on sites more frequently due to a site not working or falling off early. I estimated 3 extra sites per month. 1011 days is 2 years, 9 months, and 7 days or 33 months and 7 days. 33 x 3 is 99. 337 + 99 = 436 I can still hear my elementary math school teachers telling me, “Show your work!”)

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