Monday, July 22, 2013

Insulin Pump Set Maneuvers In the Dark

I'm not good at insulin pump set changes. I'm not skilled with Dexcom Insertions either. Still, I manage to muddle my way through. On Friday night my pump alarmed. XPU was low on insulin. Ten units left. For me, ten units is enough for several more hours of basal and a snack. After doing some calculations I decided I could hang on until midnight or so.

Around 11:30 a thunderstorm blew through town. A tree bender with vivid lightning and a massive downpour. We couldn't see the house across the street. The street light flickered. It flickered again. And then the power went out in our neighborhood.

Uh-oh. I tripped over the panicking dog and went into the kitchen to get a flashlight. Of course, I flicked on the light switch to help me find the flashlight. Click. Still dark. Duh! I found a dim flashlight. I also found out I had two units of insulin left in my pump. I had no choice. I had to do a set change in the dark.

I shined my dim flashlight on the laundry room light switch. Click. Still dark. Duh! Glad no one saw me do that, I opened the laundry room closet and gathered my insulin pump supplies and returned to the kitchen. After washing my hands, I set my flashlight down on the kitchen table.

Now, I am not good at filling pump cartridges under optimal conditions. Filling one of those bad boys in the dark was stressful. Do I have any air bubbles in there? I dunno. I can't see what I'm doing. Maybe this would be easier if I turned on the kitchen light. Click. Still dark. Duh!

I filled my syringe, pushed insulin back in the bottle to try and get rid of the bubbles I couldn't see.  After doing this a few times, I decided it was going to have to be good enough. But how was I going to get the pump set in? Bending this way and that, I tried to get the flashlight on the table to shine in the right place. Fortunately my daughter heard me thumping around and came into the kitchen. She held the flashlight for me while I got my set in place.

I set the pump on rewind, got the old insulin cartridge out and put in the new one. Insulin pump set maneuvers in the dark was a success. The power came back on at 5 AM. The roar of the airconditioning was a welcome sound. Five AM is also when I realized I could have saved myself a lot of stress and hassle if I did the emergency set change in the car. Duh!


  1. Every time the power goes out, I flip the light switch in every room as I enter. When the power comes back on, every light in the house pops on! Glad to see it's not only me...

  2. Alright, I don't have a car, but I would not have thought of that even when I did. Good job getting things back on track though!

  3. Hindsight is 20/20! At least you got it done and glad to hear the power was back by the end of the night.

  4. Ah, I remember doing a set-change by candlelight after Hurricane Sandy. The thought of going in the car never occured to me. But now I'll have that idea for next time!

  5. Diabetes: making you try new things whether you want to or not. ;)

  6. Wow, I'm impressed!! I can't imagine trying to do a site change in the dark. But I can imagine myself flipping all the light switches too!! :)

  7. I've done set changes in the car! Never had to do a set change in the dark though. I'm a guy, so I'm overprepared with emergency flashlights. I can light my whole apartment during a power outage. I'm glad you were able to get it done though. Can only imagine how stressful that was.



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