I still wince.
Every single time.
Not for fingersticks, but for the infusion sets and CGM sensors. It’s like a reflex. I can’t help it. It’s like a preemptive wince. Like if I just go ahead and wince, then it won’t hurt.
Sometimes it hurts. Especially that big effing harpoon of a CGM needle. And sometimes, it doesn’t hurt.
But the potential for it to hurt is there every time. Last night, I stood there. Quick-set in the Quick-Serter, locked and loaded, pressed against my side. I put my finger on the grey buttons that will send that needle into my skin. My stomach tightens. I take a deep breath.
I tell myself, “It’s ok, this is not going to hurt.”
My fingers sit on the buttons, hesitant, not wanting to push them. One more deep breath, and I force my fingers to squeeze. The needle shoots in.
And this time, it doesn’t hurt. My breath releases, and I pull the needle out, prime that cannula, and go back to my life.
I have had Type 1 Diabetes for 18 years. I have been using an insulin pump for 14 years, and my CGM for almost a year.
“Aren’t you used to this?” you may be thinking.
Yes, yes I am. Set and CGM changes are part of my routine. As routine as these needles are, that doesn’t mean it’s easy to stab myself every few days. The potential for pain is always there. Sometimes, when you hit just the right spot, it hurts so much the tears and stream of profanity start immediately. The needle is ripped out and thrown on the ground, and I cry and put pressure on the insertion site, because there’s a good chance it’s a gusher.
Thankfully, this doesn’t happen very often, but it’s hell when it does.
And so I still wince, every single time.