The 3rd time’s the charm…
I’m still getting adjusted to the CGM sensor, so I’ve been trying out different locations. Yesterday, I decided the lower back might be a good spot, as it’s out of the way and and not competing with infusion sets for real estate, and I’ve found I don’t get very good absorption back there for whatever reason. The only problem with this spot is that it’s a bit difficult to reach myself, so I enlisted the help of my wife for the insertion process.
I gave a brief training on the design and workings of the sensor and the inserter, and showed her where I wanted the sensor place. I could tell she was nervous, but I assured her I was confident that she could do it. The first “shunk” of the inserter was immediately followed by intense pain. Inspired by the pain and the “oh no!” from my assistant, I inspected my back in the mirror, to discover the needle only went in the skin about 1/4 of an inch. I’m sure Medtronic’s design of the 45 degree needle angle didn’t help, especially coupled with the design of the inserter, but that’s a discussion for another post. Anyway, I cleaned off the introducer needle with an alcohol wipe and loaded up for attempt #2. This time the needle did go in all the way, but was accidentally pulled out when my wife tried to disconnect the sensor from the inserter. She of course apologized, but I assured her that one more hole isn’t going to kill me, and if nothing else, we learned from our previous mistakes. Finally, on the 3rd try, we successfully inserted the sensor, removed the needle, and got everything adhered to my skin. Sure, we were both a little frustrated by the end of the process, but it all worked out in the end.
Thinking about this afterwards, it occurred to me that this is really the first time in our 11 year history as a couple that she has had to inject anything into/under my skin. She has pricked my finger before when I’ve been sick or really low, but never any serious “needlework”. In fact, since my diagnosis at 11 years old, no one else has ever given me an injection (aside from flu/tetanus vaccines and the like). Based on the estimate I came up with a while back, that’s 35,000+ self-inflicted needle holes over the years. I guess I’ve just become so accustomed to sticking things into me that I don’t really give it much thought anymore. She has of course watched me do it countless times, but there’s always a difference in watching someone else do something versus doing it yourself. I guess it’s easy to become complacent about doing something painful several times a day, especially when your life depends on it. I certainly don’t wish the same for anyone else just to make me less of an “oddity”, it’s just hard for me to imagine my life any other way. I’m glad I have someone that’s willing to lend me a hand, even if it’s something she’s not entirely comfortable with. I hope she (or anyone else, for that matter) never has to give me a glucagon shot, but at least now it won’t be the first needle she’s stuck into me. Thanks honey…and don’t worry, we’ll get it right next time.