Changing infusion sets on the go

Yesterday I found myself at a conference I was to present at with my co-presenter. It was a day event only, so although it was a few hours’ journey from home, we weren’t staying overnight. I had put in a new infusion set that morning (I’ve been having to change them daily lately due to reactions), and of course the first thing I did upon arrival was accidentally rip it out.

I went to the washroom to put in a new one, and while at the sink counter trying to get supplies and prime tubing, I managed to drop both the infusion set and tubing on the floor. I also noticed at that point that my kit was sitting in a pool of water and I had no alcohol swabs. :roll_eyes: Luckily, I always carry two sets with me, so I went into a stall, trying not to touch anything while doing so (closed the door and held it shut with my elbow) and managed to get the second set inserted.

But I think that, like shots, there has to be a better way to change an infusion set than a nasty public washroom.

What would you all do? Change it in the conference room in front of colleagues, strangers, and organizers (who had invited you to present)? Or go to the washroom? Maybe the washroom is a viable option if I had better strategies?


Look for a small table off to the side or in the corner of the room.

For more privacy, walk down the hall and look for an unused room that is not locked.

Failing that, ask management for access to a room for a few minutes.

I get too skeeved out in rest rooms to want to do anything other than the bare minimum required and for what the main purpose of the rest room is. Anything medical related in a rest room would be far far past my comfort level.


I only had to do this once, in an airport. Found a “family” restroom that worked ok, minimal “surface touching”, hook on door to hang bag, sink and hand dryer.


These are all good ideas that I didn’t think of. This particular conference was on a school campus, so there weren’t any tables (we were in a lecture hall) and I’m not sure that the conference organizers would have access to things like locked rooms. But it wouldn’t have hurt to ask if there was another room I could use.


I’ve done site changes everywhere really… bathroom, lecture hall, standing outside, table at a restaurant, my car… probably other interesting spots but these are what are coming to mind :stuck_out_tongue: Some of this may be down to differences in types of sets, I use the Mio-style sets (officially the Autosoft 90 in Tandem’s naming scheme) which are very quick and easy to put on in general, but of course the type of set that works best is going to highly personal.

As far as strategies, I do typically carry alcohol wipes for this purpose (keep them in my meter case) and an on the fly site change is almost always going on my stomach so I can just lift my shirt and throw it on. I don’t typically change out my tubing at the same time as my site (new tubing when I change cartridges), so I just hook my old tubing up to the new site.

If in the bathroom, I tend to prefer doing it around the sink area if there is some sort of counter that I can set things down on, and not directly next to a toilet is a bonus. If in a standing situation (ie outside of bathroom, nowhere to set things on) I basically just stand near a wall and put all of my other stuff on the floor while I handle the more important site change haha.

In your particular situation I probably would have opted for the bathroom as well, particularly if there was a tucked in shirt to contend with… otherwise maybe up against a wall outside would be my next move, if there were no tables nearby.


Yeah, I have changed an Inset (same thing, just Animas version) at a restaurant table once. But these days I use Contact-Detach, which are manually-inserted needle sets, so are a lot less discreet…

Usually I do have alcohol swabs as well. But due to my site reactions I’ve been doing a lot of site changes lately, I guess I took some out of my kit and forgot to replace them. :frowning:

Ironically, the new tubing was needed because I had inserted an Inset (I have some extras that I’m trying to gradually use up), but only has Contact-Detach with me. So the tubing wasn’t compatible and I had no choice but to change it. Typically I’d do as you and not change out the tubing.


It sounds like you had a lot of things go just perfectly wrong here, to make this more complicated! Murphy’s law I guess :slightly_smiling_face:


Yes, it definitely was that type of day! Later on just as we were leaving the conference I simultaneously forgot I can hardly see (read: wasn’t using my white cane properly) and forgot there were wide steps up the middle aisle. Cue face plant in front of everyone…


One thought that we use from time to time is when he needs to change a set quickly, is to just unclick the tubing from the old set, insert the new set and then just use the old tubing. All you have to do is reprime the cannula, and away you go until you have more time to replace all of the tubing.


Oh my goodness. What a frustrating day! I’m sorry about the grotty bathroom. And the stairs malfunction.

I agree with Thomas’ skeeved out bathroom issues. However on a recent trip to Disney World, we had a pod begin the scream of death when we were exiting one of the rides (thankfully not during). I wanted to find a dark corner and deal with it. EH wanted to use the family restroom. So we did that, and there was a diaper changing table which I covered in a copious amount of paper towels. That would probably be my tip for when the bathroom has to be used, find a changing table (:::shudder:::slight_smile: or use a wad of paper towels to wipe down the area first. Then handwashing, then more paper towels laid down. Sorry earth, but people are gross.


Yes, typically this is what I do as well. But I’d made the stupid decision to use an Inset that morning (I have a few I’m trying to use up), and only had Contact-Detach sets with me. So the old tubing was not compatible with the new set, and I had no choice but to change it out as well.


@Jen, for us, we made an early decision to absolutely avoid bathrooms due to contamination risk. We do our work pretty much in the open, typically over a work or dinner table if available, over a regular chair otherwise.

Part of this was, beyond hygiene, that I did not want my son to ever feel embarrassed about his D stuff, and maybe not do it in a timely manner due to social pressure, or feel compelled to risk contamination for the same reason. Obviously that does not apply to you! The process worked well because he is totally not ashamed to inject or change a pod in public.


Yes, I have no problems injecting. Ane one nice thing about a pod is it’s super discreet. No one would even notice you’ve done anything. I think the same is true for a lot of the infusion sets with inverters. Unfortunately, the metal sets do not have inserters. I’ve wished many times that they did!!! So when I change a site, it consists of me holding my shirt up, wiping with alcohol, waving it to dry, wiping with Cavilon and waiting to dry, then poking around to find a place that doesn’t hurt, then manually inserting the site, then placing the second adhesive patch, then taping down the infusion set patch. So a lot more medical looking than inserting a pod, and unfortunately not something I’m comfortable (yet?) doing in front of colleagues and professional strangers…


Yah. That makes sense.

EH isn’t embarrassed, per se, of anything. However sometimes he wants privacy. He often has to remove his shirt to apply a pod - he likes the trapezius area. And it’s a three day commitment so site placement is important depending on upcoming activities (arms are mostly reserved for the Dex, also bad on rock climbing days, belly also a climbing issue depending on placement).

It’s hard to not look like you’ve got it together at work. I feel you on that one. But hopefully the next site change on the go will be less of a mishap!

And while bathrooms can be gross I find the women’s to be less so. And sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do!

I’m guessing most people would be impressed/honored/helpful if you did a site change in front of them. But it’s a up to you. :slight_smile:


My boss was with me, and he was quite concerned and asked if I was okay. I’ve tested my BG in front of him and he has no problem with that. But changing an infusion set seems like a whole different level. But I do think he would have helped me find a chair in a secluded corner or an empty room if I’d thought of doing that. Also, I think putting antibacterial wet wipes and perhaps a small container of hand sanitizer in my kit may not be a bad idea, just in case I’m stuck using a washroom again at some point. (I carry wet wipes with me all the time anyway, to wipe surfaces down for food allergy purposes. But they are just in my backpack, not my little medical kit.)


My most public pod changes (agreed that they are more discreet in general than what I imagine tubed pump set changes to involve) have been in a truck stop/gas station bathroom and in the middle of my kids’ sick appointment with their nurse practitioner.

I think I actually got more of a freaked out look from the nurse practitioner than the passersby in the gas station.

I wasn’t thrilled changing it out in the gas station…but there weren’t great options. I found a dry area of the sink counter top, covered it in paper towels, and went to work.

I’ve had coworkers walk into my office (what happened to knocking?) while I was mid-insertion of a Dexcom into the back of my arm. Boy oh boy did that freak them out! And I had one walk in mid-pod-change (I’d had one fail at work) as I was getting it going on my belly. I had my shirt hoisted up and held up under my bra strap. My male coworker just saw a lot of skin, screamed “I’M SORRY” and ran away.

I found him later and told him that next time he has to pay to see that. Apparently it was too soon to make that joke.


Putting paper towels down, as several people have suggested, is a good idea. Something I didn’t think about, but probably would have saved my kit from getting wet.


Sadly in this day and age I would fear for my job and never venture out of my cube after that happened.


I would agree with that anywhere else. It’s not gotten to that degree where I’m at. It seriously wasn’t a big deal. I was entertained that someone who never blushes was running away yelling an apology. Never going to forget that one!


As much as I dislike doing that kind of stuff in front of others, I dislike doing it in a bathroom setting even more. I think @Thomas gave some great suggestions, but those are work, too. I also dislike having to ask for special things (like having access to a private room), or, worse, having to sneak into something. I think it would be a shielded area in the conference room (maybe just some bags up on the table to make me feel like it weren’t completely in the open), OR, I suppose, a paper towel-covered area near the bathroom sink. :nauseated_face:

Not my favorite type of situation. :thinking: