Caleb has been pumping with Apidra® for over two years. Prior to that, he used Novolog®.
Shortly after that post, things went a little sideways and I didn’t know why. He had unrelenting highs at night. I would correct mid 200s all night long to no avail and end up with a wee hour Pod change. Then two nights later it would happen all over again, just like Groundhog Day.
I’ve brought you right to the punchline, so the problem is probably crystal clear to you. It was anything but clear to me at the time. This is why:
- Caleb had been pumping with Apidra® for about two months with no issues at all. His Pods would last the full three days and even up to eighty-hours with the 8 hour grace period.
- The “sideways” path started around the holidays. The variables were greater at this time. Timing of meals, content of meals. Schedules in general were off. BG control can easily be less than optimal in these circumstances.
- The pattern of highs every other night had not quite established itself. We were still getting some Pods through the full three days without an issue.
- Not a single person I knew who was Podding and Apidraing had this problem. All sailed smoothly through their full three days.
- Then there was the night when he actually did correct and I convinced myself that it couldn’t be the insulin clogging in the pump. Remember, I was not sleeping much during this time, so my reasoning was less than optimal.
I tested EVERYTHING. Food. Activity. Basals. Site locations. Moon phases. I called EVERYONE. Users. Insulet. Sanofi. Insulet again. Sanofi again. More users.
I thought Caleb might have to change pumps. If you know us, you know Caleb has only pumped OmniPod®. It’s been six years. We’ve never considered anything else. But Apidra® had been so effective, I was considering a pump change rather than an insulin change.
Finally, I tested the insulins. I put Caleb back on Novolog®. He went a couple of weeks and managed through day three without a problem. I put him back on Apidra® and the second day highs came right back.
It was clear. At right around the 48 hour mark, insulin seemed to have trouble getting through.
The photos in this post are of different cannulas from problematic Pods with what seems like obstructions. I had seen many a cannula before this issue that looked much the same. These other cannulas had been delivering insulin freely according to Caleb’s BGs. So even the visual evidence found in these photos didn’t convince me right away.
So we had to decide whether pump changes every two days would be worth it. I look back now remembering how difficult a decision it was, yet today it’s no big deal. It’s a slight nuisance to change Caleb’s Pod 15 times a month instead of 10. Nothing more.
And it’s worth it.
He’s using his pump of choice and my insulin of choice.
There are some benefits to more frequent site changes:
- Caleb’s sites heal MUCH more quickly. His scarring is greatly reduced. I noticed this almost instantly.
- He almost never has a kink, failure or delivery issue in any way, shape or form. This has been HUGE. When we were changing his sites every three days, that third day could be rather suspenseful. I only realized this in retrospect, now that the suspense is gone. I used to wonder more about what might be causing an unexplained high and take a gamble on whether it was just diabetes being diabetes or if there was a delivery issue. Many a time I took the wrong bet and took off a kinked or clogged Pod. Now it’s almost always diabetes just being the PITA that diabetes is, and we can correct and move on with confidence. To me, this has really had a great impact on Caleb’s overall diabetes management: increased confidence = better decisions.
Although this doesn’t seem like a prevailing issue, I know we aren’t the only ones experiencing this. If you’re having a similar challenge and haven’t quite decided what the problem is, I hope this post may help a little.
Next up: Eliminating Another Insulin Variable.