About once every month, the T1D stars align, and we are forced with the awful task of a double site change.
“What’s a site change?” I hear you ask, because I can read your mind. Well, I’ll tell ya!
Piet wears two devices on his body 100% of the time. And by “wear on his body” I mean, there are whisker-like cannulas inserted into his skin, that either read his blood sugar or deliver insulin into his body.
One device is an insulin pump, or Omnipod. Type 1 diabetics are completely dependent on insulin, so this is literally Piet’s lifeline. His pod needs to be changed every three days, but occasionally it fails, and I will need to change it sooner.
The second is a continuous glucose monitor, or Dexcom. Dex tracks Piet’s blood sugar, and sends the information to his iPod and my phone. We change out the Dexcom sensor every 10 days.
One site change is rough, but two? That’s a recipe for a diabetes disaster.
Here’s how it goes.
1. We start by deactivating and taking off the old pod and Dex sensor. Some parents are nice and use Uni-solve to gently peel the medical patches off. We are not some parents, so we just rip the patch off. Quick like a bandaid.
2. Next, we prepare the new device. We fill the Omnipod with insulin, and input the new Dex sensor info into his iPod.
3. Now it’s time to sanitize the new site locations using alcohol swabs, let the spot dry, and stick the devices to him.
4. The next part is the worst. Insertion. With Dex, I physically push a large, orange button that releases the sensor, and shoots a long, thin whisker into his body. Dex isn’t to bad, because he wears it on the top of his butt, where it’s pretty fatty.
5. Inserting the Omnipod is the most heartbreaking. The first couple times, we both cried. He wears his pod on his legs and arms, and screams/cries pretty much every time the cannula inserts into him. The arms are especially sensitive.
6. After some kissing, loving, and consoling, we place a medical patch over both sites to ensure they don’t get ripped out. We use StayPut Medical, and it is by far the best patch we’ve tried.
And then, he’s off and running, without a chronic illness care in the world, wearing his devices like badges of honor.