2014 #DBlog Week: Life Hacks
I’m still new to the pump/CGM way of life, so I’m looking forward to learning some new hacks to help deal with my condition, and to take some of the stresses away from my daily life.
The hacks I’ve been using have been covered ad nauseam, and the major hack I learned about recently has been written about. (I’m referring to disconnecting on take off and landing when traveling, and purging the line and reservoir of air bubbles caused by changes in cabin pressure. You know, what I wrote about here.)
There is one hack that’s non-dosage-related that I’ve been using, though, to keep my CGM sensor from tugging on my clothes and getting pulled out.
It’s really not so much of a hack as a use of a medical product for its intended use. After calling Medtronic support line once, discussing a bad sensor that was giving inaccurate readings, the individual on the other end of the line asked the standard “Is there anything else I can help you with?” Usually I just reply “No,” and get off the phone as quickly as I can. This time, however, I told her about problems I’d been having with rashes forming where my sensor had been on my body.
“I’m glad you told me about this,” she said. “I’ll send you some products that might help you with that problem.”
She sure did. She sent some Tegaderm dressing samples, as well as some other products that can help with adhesive sensitivity. (I’ve raked Medtronic over the coals from time to time about their customer service, but they really did come through on this.)
Most of the products they sent me sat in an envelope with the rest of my supplies until, one morning, I had an epiphany. Actually, I had something a little different.
My sensor died (reaching the end of its six-day lifespan), and I inserted a new one. I rotate my placement between my abdomen, my hips, my upper butt, and my thighs. (I’m very aware that Medtronic only recommends using their products on the abdomen. I, however, don’t see the difference between one surface and the rest, so I rotate as much as I want to. You’re not the boss of me!) This time I placed the sensor on my upper thigh. Around 10 a.m., it became active and requested a blood glucose to calibrate. Life was good.
About two hours later, I went to the restroom at work. As I pulled my pants up, the waist tugged my sensor right out of my leg. I looked at it and though “Sh#@! There goes $100.” (Sensors are very expensive. I mean, they’re VERY expensive.)
When I got home, I went through the bag of goodies Medtronic had sent me and found two Tegaderm dressings. It looked like it would be a tight fit, but I thought I’d give it a go. From that point on, when I put the new sensor (and transmitter) on, I cover them with a 2 3/8 x 2 3/4-inch dressing. It just covers the area, but makes a nice, smooth surface that no clothes can catch on. The dressing doesn’t cause any kind of skin reaction, and it just makes for a sense of more security. (Really, the adhesive on the bottom of the sensor makes for a pretty weak grasp. Having the additional cover and adhesive provides just an extra sense of security, so I can stop thinking about the device that’s sitting in/on my body.)