Thursday, September 29, 2011

I Still Wince

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.


  1. I always take a big breath, too, and turn off my brain for a second.

    I wonder if diabetic motorcycle gangsters take shots of whiskey before they change their infusion sets?

  2. Every single time here, too, Jess. Although, I do a manual insertion with the angle-silouettes so there really isn't a clicking... but I do insert slowly and hold my breath and wait for the pain of tapping a muscle or vein. This whole anticipation/suspense, along with the obvious real estate hassles, was a huge part of me needing a mental break from pumping and taking the breaks for a while. Helped get my mind back from the emotional drainage of site insertion... Anyhow, thanks for the post!

  3. I remember saying "ow" before each fingerprick the first weeks after diagnosis (I was nine). Being prepared somehow seemed to help.
    And (after one year of pumping) I'm still hesitating and taking a deep breath before shooting the set.

  4. I'm a weenie - it takes me a second or two to trigger a fingerstick. But the reason is identical - usually it's painless, but sometimes it hurts like a mother.

  5. Oh man! When I used the Quick-serter I held my breath every time. That "shunk" sound is so scary!

    I am not sure if I hold my breath and wince with the infusion sets, but I know I do it before I insert a sensor.

  6. 22 years w/Diabetes..and I still hate needles!

    I manually put in my infusion set...but you wouldn't believe how S-L-O-W I do it.

    And my cgm sensor...most times I physically sweat! I turn on a tv show I like to try to distract myself. I tell myself I have to put it in by the next commercial.

    Most times it doesn't hurt (depending on where I'm putting the needle in)...but it's those awful, cursing, crying, gushing ones that always stand out in my mind!

    I tell myself, you'll be so happy you have your sensor in and you won't have to do this for a few days.

    Deep breathes, deep breathes!

  7. I'm the same way. Especially now with CGM sensors (Dexcom or Minimed - they hurt just the same to me). I don't think that's something we'll ever get over to be honest.
    If someone is watching me, I suck it up and just go through it fast so they don't have to see me be afraid of it, but if I'm alone, it can take a good 5-10 minutes to change out a sensor.

  8. I don't hold my breath so much as scrunch my face and countdown. And then countdown again. Someday are easy. Somedays are hard. I don't think anyone is ever used to being a pin cushion. I'm just glad that the needles have gotten a little shorter and sharper since I was younger.