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Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States

Diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in April of 1980. I recognize the incredible mental struggle of living with diabetes. I hope to share my struggles, my successes, and everything in between.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

"No Guns Allowed"


Whoa. Careful there. It's cool - no need to bring out the big ammunition...

Guns like that should be checked at the door! Wait 'til I flex...

Ok. Ok. I'll stop. I know. Not too impressive. I'm not like Kerri's Chris - with biceps jumping out of his shirt at you (you're welcome Chris! :-) ).

Wait - what is that on the bottom of my arm?! Oh yes - the point of this post...


Yes boys & girls, I have officially tried an arm site!

The timing working out just right, my site change day fell on a Friday morning. That meant I had four days before I would be playing basketball again. Four days meant that I would be doing another site change before basketball. This is important.

Where I play basketball, we play shirts & skins. One team keeps their shirts on, the other team takes their shirts off. With the teams changing many times through the session, shirts vs. skins makes it easy to keep track of who is on your team.

With the need to play basketball with my shirt off, I usually need to keep my infusion site very close to my waistline, reducing the amount of tubing that is above my shorts. I don't want it to get snagged and pull my site out.

I would be able to change site locations before my next basketball session, making the next one a little more "basketball friendly".

I took advantage of the opportunity to try something a little different.

I use a 9mm cannula. That means that cannula going below the skin is 9mm long. Going straight in at a 90 degree angle.

So, in theory, you need at least 9mm of subcutaneous tissue for that cannula to occupy comfortably. On my abdomen that is not a problem. But on my arm? I just wasn't sure about that.

But what is the worst that could happen?

It might hurt like a son-of-a-bitch, in which case I would take in out and know never to try it again. Or it might be relatively comfortable, but have trouble delivering the insulin. You know, a bent or kinked cannula? Or it might be one of those sites that hurts sometimes, like when delivering a bolus or when you apply pressure to it. The only way to know would be to go for it.

I got all my stuff together, cocked my Quick-serter, positioned it where I thought I wanted it, took a breath and started squeezing the release buttons.

Those that have used the Quick-serter know that you usually try to apply equal pressure to both buttons (one on each side), getting them to "click" and release the spring at the same time.

Well, it didn't quite happen like that for me. Not sure if it was just the new position, or if I was all scared and shaky. I got the first button pressed, heard a muffled not-quite-right partial click, and nothing. I was pressing with all the might I could muster on the other side, but the damn thing didn't want to release. Finally, with another odd sounding "click", the button released and the spring slowly eased the needle into my arm.

Wait a second - that is not how it's supposed to work!!

The whole reason I use a spring loaded inserter device is because I'm a puss and don't deal well with the "slower is better" mentally flawed logic that I'm usually a victim of.

But - it didn't hurt a bit. I was concerned about the integrity of the site, because of the cockeyed insertion, but it seemed to hold fine and the needle came out nice and easy.

How can you really know though? You can't see the cannula. You can't tell if it's bent or kinked or crimped or whatever.

Wait and see is all you can do.

I tentatively pushed down on top of the exposed site - trying to see if it would hurt when I applied pressure. Nope - it felt fine. Great even. Could hardly tell it was there. I went through the rest of the routine, getting my pump and tubing all set to go.

The next challenge would be "tubing management". I wear my pump in a pouch on my belt, typically having whatever excess tubing there is just live down the leg of my pants. But with this - an arm site, what would I do?

I put my t-shirt on, and had the tubing just going back up my arm through the t-shirt and down across my chest and stomach to the other side where I put my pump. Overall, it's not too bad. But I can feel some pull when I raise my left arm up over my head. Not too much though.

My blood sugars have been pretty much in line - or at least no major stubborn highs that might indicate a problem with the cannula. I'm happy with that.

I have just a little more courage to try new places now. I really didn't think that I had 9mm of spare subcutaneous tissue to spare on my arm - but apparently I do. That might open up some options for me down the line.

What's next for me? A leg site?

It all depends on how I feel the next time my site change falls on a Friday...

P.S. - Special thanks to Beth at In Search of Balance for the spiffy new header image!

P.P.S. - Anyone else out there get a kick out of those caveman Geico.com commercials?

25 Comments:

Blogger Jessica said...

Hey Scott - impressive...
I thought this was a family site :)

I just got a sample box of the sihouettes - and I love them!! I was so afraid to try something new because I am a victim of the 'only in the stomach' logic. I hated the quik sets anywhere else. The silhouttes have allowed me to feel better about trying my sides and hips. I haven't had any problems. Ahhh, variety. It's the little things that make us happy. Maybe I'll go for the arm!!

PS - I have to change the channel when the caveman commercials come on or be forced to listen to my husband laugh for twenty minutes.

3:38 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Ialways wanted to try the quicksets in the arm but i wasnt sure it would work, I think I will try but i have not one bit of skin to pinch up to insert, So I may just go without using my inserter sicne i cant find it any way

3:49 PM  
Blogger Kassie said...

cavemen rock.

congrats on the arm site! I like using my arms - seems like absorption is good there and, since I never play basketball (or really do anything else in public) with my shirt off, it workes well :)

4:09 PM  
Blogger Scott K. Johnson said...

Laura - I didn't pinch any skin up either. Just put the Quick-serter there, tried to keep my arm as "loose" as possible, and stuck it in.

4:14 PM  
Anonymous In Search Of Balance said...

Wow... you're much more brave than I am! What's it like sleeping? (I always sleep on my arm)

Keep us updated on the Arm Site! Good to know that it's an option...

4:17 PM  
Blogger Scott K. Johnson said...

No problem sleeping. I too sleep on my side a lot. I was also concerned about the loose tubing (I usually sleep shirtless), but it was fine too.

4:20 PM  
Blogger Drea said...

Like a sheep I must follow your courage!! I have been wanting to try my arms for a long time, but fear the possible pain! Strange!?!?

I am glad you tried this, and glad you shared!! Go for the legs - I find they work well - but I stay away from right over the quad muscle, but trial and error will show you!!

4:31 PM  
Blogger AmyT said...

Love the spiffy new header. And I think you're very strong (with or without the bulging biceps :)

8:06 PM  
Blogger Bernard said...

Scott

I'm impressed. Though I can't see that working too well when your shirt is off (during basketball). Anyway, let us know how it works out.

I opted for a 6mm cannula some years ago and I've found it works just fine. Call me a wimp, but I like that there's 0.1 inches less teflon in me, plus the steel when it comes to insertion time.

8:11 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Ehh...that picture gave me the heeby jeebies!

I have used arm sites before, but at least I had the sanity to use a comfort.

And things just got worse when I read about your quickserter trouble. I've never used the quickserter before, but it sounds like an Inset, and I have had that happen with that before.

I'm glad your site doesn't hurt.

8:53 PM  
Blogger MileMasterSarah said...

Scott,
I use arm sites all the time! I rotate my arms, my sides, and my buttocks (I don't even use the front of my tummy anymore.) I started doing arm sites with the quick-sets but I recently sampled the 9mm silhouettes on my arms and I made the switch to those just for my arms. They don't go straight in they go in sideways so it just seems to work better and get better absorption in my arms. I have plenty of cushion everywhere else for my quick-sets though!

8:56 PM  
Blogger Scott said...

Hey, I was wondering what happened to you ... thought maybe a winter vacation since it had been well over a week since your last posting.

Anyway, I'm glad you were brave enough to try an infusion set on your arm. When I was pumping, I was not that brave, only abdominal sites or sites on my legs or backside. I prefer shots myself and have not suffered any disruptions to my control, but thats an unrelated story.

9:02 PM  
Blogger Chrissie in Belgium said...

OK Chrissie, if Scott can TRY it so can you...... I am such a coward. I don't know if I have the guts. I use only my stomache. I have tried my hip and buttocks but I got ketones there. I am SOOOOO scared of ketones. I use UnnoMedicals Contact-Detach which has a hard needle not a soft cannula. It is pushed in manually at 90 degrees. There is no long insertion needle that is necessary when you have a soft cannula. My needle is only 6mm long. How am I suppose to stick it in with only one hand - maybe I could push the arm against the wall? Shit I am scared...... CDE gives zero advice. Does anybody out there use UnoMedical Contact Detach and arm sites. My knees go wobbily if I just think of changing. BRAVO SCOTT - I ADMIRE YOUR COURAGE.

10:58 PM  
Blogger Vivian said...

Woot Woot, You're the man! See new things aren't so bad, right? You keep pushing the boundaries and hey if you want to play basketball with the set in your arm, I will send you a roll of duck-tape. lol quack quack.

PS really glad you are back.

11:17 PM  
Blogger Shannon said...

I hope those guns are licensed! It reminds me of Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels....(that was a weird movie).

I love the Geico Caveman commercials.

9:42 AM  
Blogger Sara said...

ARM SITE?!?!
I can't even work up enough guts to switch from stomach site to 'back' site.
I am in AWE!

10:37 AM  
Blogger Kerri. said...

1. Excellent new header here. Beth is one talented lady!

2. Whoa, guns!! I laughed my ass off when I saw your reference to Chris's biceps. He blushed furiously. :)

3. Arm site ... now that's one I haven't tried yet. I'm a proud thigh site sporter, though, 99% of the time. I haven't done an abdomen site for over a year and a half now. I'm trying to see if an arm site would work out for me, using the 23 inch tubing and doing cardio 5 times a week ... I think my exercise pattern might aggravate an arm site and potentially rip it right out. But I may give it a shot, since you've paved the way. If you do a thigh site, maybe I'll do an arm one ... :)

4. Caveman commercials. I laugh every single time. They are completely awesome.

9:55 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...

Very brave.
I've never left my tummy.
I've got the scrawniest legs around, so a thigh thing would never work for me.

But an arm site might work...

I don't deal with changes too well, so I'm not sure I'll actually try it unless I'm forced to. So, Please don't pull those guns on me...

10:10 AM  
Blogger Kendra said...

Wow! I haven't made it to the arms yet - or *shudder*, the breasts. It's amazing how much I have to psych myself up to try a new site! I was stuck on my lovehandles for the first year of pumping...just recently added in my stomach and my upper-butt area. Haven't graduated to arms, thighs, or anywhere else yet! I admire your courage :D haha

(and yeah, I really enjoy the GEICO commercials)

10:14 AM  
Blogger George said...

Dude, how can you get on a plane packing all that heat! :) That was funny.

I have done, stomach, thigh, back, just tried the "bee hind" so now I have got to check out the arm. Thank you for paving the way.

Caveman > Gecko. The Gecko was annoying.

12:29 PM  
Blogger Mike said...

Haha, I can picture what you look like from your avatar Scott. So when I read your post and you were talking about your guns I couldn't help but here Hulk Hogans voice coming out of your mouth. "What ya gonna do when Scotts 27 inch pythons run wild over you!"

Cool on trying a new site. I still can't bring myself to do it. :(

Mike
The Dawn Phenomena

1:00 PM  
Blogger bethany said...

i love my arm site and i ABSOLUTELY love my leg sites ...

and i love the caveman commericals ... :-D

and that's awesome that you tried a new site ... congrats!!!

1:13 AM  
Blogger Carey said...

"The only way to bag a classy lady is to give her two tickets to the gun show [kisses his biceps] and see if she likes the goods."

- Ron Burgundy

You're a brave dude, Scott. I hope it's working out.

9:02 AM  
Blogger Hannah said...

Woo, I was looking for entertainment and got a free ticket TO THE GUN SHOW!!

The caveman ads are great. I have to admit I like the background song in the one where he's walking through the airport waaay more than I probably should.

1:40 PM  
Blogger type1emt said...

Arm sites. Verrry impressive, I couldn't do that. I have a tendecy to strangle stuff (once waking up with tubing around my kneck)/get knots in my tubing for no reason whatsoever, don't think it'd work for me.I'll stick with upper legs/abdomen/thigh.
But if it works-that's very cool.

6:27 PM  

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