Wednesday, March 28, 2012

How NOT To Insert a Dexcom Sensor

A Dexcom 7 sensor insertion requires some finesse. Bill 1 Happy Diabetic and Kerri of Six Until Me do a fantastic job of explaining the process. As you can see from their examples, a Dexcom Sensor insertion is a simple process. Well, it is simple, assuming the person inserting it is not me.

Bill and Kerri have helpfully illustrated exactly what to do. I often suspect my function in life is to serve as a warning to others, so with that in mind let me tell you how Not to insert a Dexcom 7 sensor.

Step 1. Begin With Skin Adhesive. Skin Tac Skin Adhesive comes in small pouches that look like larger versions of alcohol pads. When you pull them out of the pouch they will feel similar to an alcohol pad. This is a devious trick. This stuff makes flypaper seem slicker than Teflon.

Once Skin Tac comes in contact with human skin it becomes stickier than the La Brea Tar Pits. You want to swab this adhesive on your skin where the Dexcom is supposed to get stuck. What you do not want to do is get this adhesive on your hands. Do not, under any circumstances get Skin Tac on your fingers or hands. And exactly how do you swab adhesive on your skin without getting it on your fingers? By using your other two hands, of course. However, if for some odd reason you only have two hands proceed to Step 2.

Step 2. Remove plastic locking device from Dexcom inserter. Because of Skin Tac the lock will instantly get stuck to your right index finger. All attempts to shake it off will only get it stuck more firmly. Flailing is of no use. Simply ignore the roughly three inch piece of hard plastic adhered to your hand. You will get used to it in time.

Step 3. Remove white backing from your Dexcom sensor to reveal the sticky bandage. White backing is now stuck to your left thumb. Try to ignore this as well.

Step 4. Place Dexcom Sensor on top of now extremely sticky skin adhesive. Using your left big toe, smooth down the bandage. You cannot use your fingers because they are now webbed together in a club.

Step 5. Do not remember to pinch up your skin. Instead, place your thumb on the plunger and jam that 26 gauge insertion needle right on in. After you pass out it won't hurt a bit. Before you pass out you will probably look like this guy:


Step 6. When you regain consciousness, let go of the plunger and pull up the ring shaped collar on the insertion device. Pulling up the collar is the only way to get the 26 gauge harpoon out of your skin. Pulling up the collar is quite easy until you realize your hand is adhered to the plunger with Skin Tac! You're stuck! How is this possible? This didn’t happen in the demo!

Step 7. Let go of the plunger. It’s OK. It’s OK. You can do this. Don’t panic.

Step 7. Let go of the plunger.

Step 8. Let go of the plunger.

Step 9. Appeal to deity of your choosing to assist you in letting go of the plunger.

Step 10. Cry.

Step 11. Take a deep breath. Yank your hand away from the plunger. Ignore ripping sound. Ignore painful tug from Dexcom Sensor, too.

Step 12. Place fingers under the collar and pull up. There. The needle is out. You did it!

Step 13. Now, let go of the collar.

Step 14. Let go of the collar.

Step 15. You can’t let go can you? You’re stuck! You’re going to be stuck like this forever. And ever. And ever! And ha ha ha! Ha ha ha ha! And… They’re coming to take me away….

Ahem…

Step 16. Rip hand away from collar and let go of insertion device. Squeeze tabs and pull insertion device out of your Dexcom Sensor bandage. While you are doing this a thought will occur to you. Removing the insertion device would be a lot easier to do if the Dexcom wasn’t attached to your skin. Resist temptation to rip off the sensor and unhook it the easy way. If you squeeze the tabs and yank the insertion device upward and outward, it can be removed. Just ignore the pain.

Step 17. Place the gray sensor in the slot. Yank your sticky thumb and forefinger off the gray sensor. Lift up on tab A while pushing the sensor in slot B. Turn around twice, do the Hokey Pokey. Push Tab A up until you hear a click. Twist off tab A.

Step 18. You’re all done. Start sensor on Dexcom.

Step 19. Pour stiff drink.
 
 OK, maybe I exaggerated slightly. But, I really did manage to glue my hand to the insertion device and I did forget to pinch up my skin. It's my job to make stupid mistakes so you don't have to.

A tip for using Skin Tac: never touch the pad. Use a glove or even hold a corner of it with an alcohol pad or Tac Away pad while you prepare your skin. I learned the hard way that touching the Skin Tac pad creates webbed fingers. You don't want to get your hand stuck to the insertion device. Trust me on this. Just... Trust me. OK?

2 comments:

  1. Love. This.
    Do you, like me, find the tiny triangles of adhesive pad that cover the tabs that are supposed to make it easier to remove the paper backing especially annoying? I need to find another use for them--perhaps useful in making for teeny, tiny infusion sets sized for Diabetic Barbie.

    ReplyDelete
  2. The tiny triangles always get stuck to my thumbs. Those triangles are there to torment me. Maybe they could help Diabetic Barbie. They seem to irritate the crap out of diabetic Marie. I really stink at putting in a sensor. Things are about to get even more ridiculous. I'm doing a pump trial next week. Hilarity will follow! Stay tuned.

    ReplyDelete

Disclaimer

I am not a doctor. I do not have a medical degree. Nothing on this site qualifies as medical advice. These are lessons I'm learning at the University of Catastrophe. What I find to be correct answers in my classes may not be the right answers for you.

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