Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Hating the Harpoon

I don't like those self-inserting little devices.

At all.

I remember the first time I learned how to insert the Medtronic continuous glucose thingie. It felt like a harpoon. Once I did it once and knew what to expect, the subsequent times were worse. I would stand there holding the insertion device against my skin and try to talk myself into pressing the button. I would count down, close my eyes and squeeze.

Typically I didn't squeeze hard enough which meant that nothing happened.

Except that I would be drenched in sweat, freaked out AND angry that I didn't press hard enough.

I much prefer the do it yourself slow insert of any sharp object. And yes, I realize how horrible that last sentence might sound but it makes perfect sense to a diabetes person.

I have mastered changing my infusion site and have learned that, if there is any pain when I first touch the needle against my skin, I need to try another spot. I've pushed through the pain before only to discover that the pain wasn't going anywhere and the site hurt for the next 5 days.

So I hunt down non-sensitive areas and use those. By hunt down I mean that I keep gently pressing the tip of the needle against my skin until I find a spot that doesn't hurt. Sometimes it takes on try. Sometimes a handful. But it's worth it. Once I find a painless spot, it rarely hurts when the needle goes in and rarely hurts during the 4-5 days before the next site change.

The problem, of course, is that sensitive spots move around a lot so the place that worked last week won't work this week.

When I first got my Animas pump, the nice trainer lady left me with several samples of three different types of infusion sites. Some went in at a 90 degree angle. Some at a 45. Some had a small adhesive area. Some had a larger one. Two of the three types came with those handy-dandy self-insertion devices that remind me so much of harpoons.

Being the cost-saving person that I am, I committed to using every single free sample before placing my order. Plus, I figured it would force me to get used to the harpoons. Who knows, perhaps I'd like them more than I thought I would?


I've gone through 5 harpooning devices now and disliked all five experiences. I hate pressing it against my skin and having to make myself push the button to jab the needle down. And yes, I realize that I do just that 10-15 times a day when I check my blood sugar. I just really don't enjoy committing to a site for four days without knowing if it's going to hurt when the needle goes in.

I have a few more left and then I'm placing my first Animas order. And I will be buying the sites that I put in by hand. Slowly, carefully and, almost always, painlessly.


  1. I'm the totally opposite! I am addicted to the spring loaded insertions.

    Not that I like them - I just like them better than doing it myself. That whole "I am addicted" thing made it sound like I sit around jabbing myself with stuff just for the fun of it... LOL!

  2. It takes all sorts in this great big world, but I have to say, "I'm with Scott... minus the 'addiction.'" :-)