Goodbye, Site Change Trauma High Blood Sugars

It’s amazing how many years it took for me to make the connection between high blood sugars for no-good-reason and changing out my insulin pump infusion set site.

I guess coming off of multiple daily injections that just, you know, had the insulin working pretty much when I expected it to, I assumed the same would be true when I would unceremoniously jam a 9mm plastic cannula into my skin using a metal needle….my body shouldn’t put up a fuss about that, should it??

But somewhere along the way, I was reading a blog or swapping comments with another member of the DOC, and a light-bulb went off. Duh! After always wondering why I would give myself tons of insulin right after a site change and NOTHING seemed to budge my blood sugars, it all made sense. The skin/cells around that site were traumatized, and not absorbing insulin yet or doing what they should. Inevitably, a few hours later, I’d come to a crashing low-blood-sugar-screech because suddenly the site had calmed down, and the cells finally absorbed the copious amounts of insulin I’d been giving myself. Argh.

So I learned to try to do site changes at least a few hours before meals (if I could do it without wasting too much insulin), and to never ever do them before breakfast because I would be even more spikey after breakfast if I did. Our girl Katy made a comment/suggestion that I have FINALLY implemented, and it is working like a charm!

My belly isn't 2 shades of pasty, just a camera lighting issue.

New site on the left side, while I still have the old site on the right. I do cover the new site while I’m waiting for it to settle in.

It’s so simple: when I notice I’m within a few hours of needing an infusion set switch out, I insert a new set somewhere else, and just leave the port there ready for whenever I run out of insulin/am ready for the switchout. Sure, it means I have 2 sites on my belly or hips at the same time for a few hours, but so what? It saves me from at least 3-4 hours of wrecky-high blood sugars and feeling like poop. I’ll take that trade-off ANY day.

Now, as we all know, Your Diabetes May Vary. In talking with my d-girls the other night, who also have various brands of pumps and insulin delivery systems, some of them experience site change trauma, and some do not. So obviously, do what works for you!!

10 thoughts on “Goodbye, Site Change Trauma High Blood Sugars

  1. Huh – I’ve never actually experienced a post infusion set change high. Usually, I’m just crazy high BEFORE the site change and then come crashing down (to normal) after a site change. YDMV indeed.

  2. I said that? When I read this, I felt a slight twinkle in my brain like…hrrrrrm. This sounds familiar from that Pumping Tips and Tricks session at FFL. But have I ever IMPLEMNTED this grand idea? I have not. Now I will.

  3. It stinks that you can’t do that with the pods. I do leave on the old pod for a while even after it’s deactivated, in case there is insulin left under the skin so that it can still absorb. It seems to help a bit. Also pinching the skin when inserting a pod made a difference for me as well. I wasn’t taught to do that originally so didn’t for the longest time. Amazing what I am still learning almost 32 years later 🙂

  4. I sometimes have trouble the first few hours after a change too. Why didn’t I think of this? Brilliant!

    • I know, right? It’s such a simple thing that never occurred to me for years and years. Again, I’ll credit this revelation to all the wonderful people in the diabetes online community who have connected and help me learn new things every day!!

  5. Thanks for sharing this information. I’ve been pumping for 10 years now, yet I didn’t know this. It makes perfect sense though.

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