First Site Change

I had it under good authority that first site changes are a mess, and boy did I learn my lesson last Thursday morning when I did mine.

I left the old site on my stomach in place, until I was sure that the new one was a success. I opened the insertion device, unwound the cannula, unwound the paper from the adhesive, and pulled back on the inner white plastic. I squeezed on the edges of my insertion device until it “clicked” into place onto my stomach, directly above the old one.


I pressed down to ensure the adhesive had stuck, and then pulled the insertion device up. This is what was left on my stomach.


I could feel uncomfortable pinching underneath. My first site certainly didn’t feel like this. I looked at my site, and I knew straight away that I’d gone too far left, and too far up on my stomach. There was hardly enough body fat underneath the site to cushion it. I had to rip it out, and start all over again.

After connecting the other end of the tubing to the insulin cartridge inside my pump, I went to prime it. Insulin wasn’t coming out. I primed again. I still couldn’t see any insulin coming out.

By this point, I had been disconnected from my insulin for at least half an hour. My desk, my bed and my dresser were strewn with diabetes junk. Fucking diabetes. Fucking diabetes, I cursed out load as I searched around frantically for my workbooks. Not to mention I had the live Survivor finale on timeshift that morning, which I’d planned to be watching by this point. After finding the page that talked me through refilling and replacing an insulin cartridge, I primed again. There wasn’t a single drop of insulin coming out of the cannula.

With all avenues exhausted, I decided to give the AMSL diabetes helpline a call and see if they could help.

Guess what? You know how when you start a new insulin pen, you have to prime 10 or so units until the insulin comes out? That’s all I had to do with the pump. Hold down the prime button until insulin came out. I felt so stupid.

On the bright side, my second site change on Saturday was a piece of cake. I think I’ve got this…

7 thoughts on “First Site Change

  1. 45 minutes, Frank. That’s how long it took to do my first line change. I can still remember it – I had everything lined up, my dot point instruction sheet in triplicate (no kidding – one for me, one for Aaron and one for my mum, who for some reason was there), my pump trainer’s number handy and a heart rate of about 200BPM!
    It now takes all of 30 seconds and is done in between chatting to my kid, feeding the dog, doing my hair and putting on my makeup.
    You’ve totally got this!

  2. I was very lucky in that my educator came and saw me 3 days after I started on a pump so she could walk me through my first set change. I think you’re brave tackling that by yourself.

    A good hint that I learnt after a few failed set changes was to always keep the old set in for a few hours after doing a change – that way if something malfunctions during the set change, or the set change fails (kinked canula, etc), you can quickly just put the line back into the old set until you can get a new one in. Its saved my butt a couple of times (even so recently as 3 days ago when I put a new set in before going out for the day & finding the canula failed within an hour of putting it in, so I could swap back to the old one).

    You’ll be a pro in no time.

  3. Site changes can be tricky no matter how long you’ve been doing it. I’ve been doing it now for 7 years and it’s not always smooth sailing but you’ll get the hang of it. Keep going dude. You’re doing a great job 🙂

  4. My first site change was a bloody mess ( I mean really lots of blood).

    I referred your blog to the TUDiabetes blog page for the week of June 13, 2016.

Leave a Reply