Emergency mini-syringe saves the night

I’ve shared this before, but since it saved our dinner last night, I think this gadget deserves another shout-out.

My wife and I went out for dinner last night, and my pod bonked. We had just finished appetizers, and were waiting on the main course.

She asked me if we needed to leave and go home.

Nope! I have a spare syringe with me in my pocket.

She asked me if I had a vial of insulin. I pulled my pod off right there in the restaurant and said, “Here is my vial…”
(Some people may not know, you can take insulin out of a pod, or any pump!)



Here is a picture of my emergency mini syringe and insulin “vial”:

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Why is a syringe better for an emergency than a pen? Because a pen can only deliver insulin. A syringe can take insulin out, move it from one place to another, and deliver insulin.

If you use any pump, have something like this available! Even if it’s just a normal syringe.

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I’ve been doing this for as long as I’ve been on pump, and have used syringe to get insulin from Medtronic pump reservoir. Except I use a standard 30 unit BD syringe. Will also work with Tandem cartridge. Never leave home without it.

I also always have backup infusion set whenever I’m out, just in case of pullout.

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I like the tip, but I wonder if a 31 ga needle can get through the seal of a Tandem cartridge without bending or damaging the tip. I have some old 29ga, but was very glad when I didnl’t need to use them any more.

I think that since starting to use a pump, I may have become obcessed with the idea of staying in range close to 100% of the time. I just went in a 4 day driving “vacation” with a backup pump, backup CGM transmitter and sensors, and enough infusion AND MDI supplies for a week. I never would have had that much backup stuff with me before on a trip to Knoxville, just had a copy of my RXs and the locations of Wakmart’s along the way.

When I was on MDI I had really good A1Cs, seldom went far hyper, rarely hypo, and spent practically no time thinking about insukin except when sick or actually dosing. I’d never consider being without insulin as a reason for a night out to be ruined.

I never worried about dosing before the meal when eating out, because I was never able to closely estimate restaurant carbs, always had to correct later. If I’d forgotten to grab my kit, or was lacking a supply, I’d skip the desert and drinks, have someone else drive, and test and correct when I got to my supplies.

I think I may need a pump vacation.

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I had to first withdraw using same syringe/needle used to load cartridge.

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I’m considering switching from MDI to a pump (probably omnipod). Curious though, since you said you had great A1Cs on MDI, what influenced you to switch to pumping? Thanks

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Progressive neuropathy and a CGM.

My A1Cs didnt tell the whole story. My A1Cs had been sliding up and down, from very good to mostly good according to my PCP but occasionally mediocre, and I didn’t understand why. I was convinced that I had good control of my diabetes, because my before-meal readings were good, but I actually didn’t. I just never recorded a super high or stayed high long enough to have symptoms of hyper. I also have enough hypo awareness to wake from a “sound”* sleep, so never got into hypo trouble. (*It wasn’t actually sound sleep).

When I saw an endo for tne first time in a decade, they thought I had good control, didn’t understand my concerns. But they couldn’t make heads or tails of my logs and asked me if i was interested in newer tech. My first reaction was no because of the cost. They offered to have me use some that wouldn’t cost me anything to get a better handle on what was going on.

After reluctantly using a professional CGM for two weeks and anaylzing the weekly reports, it was clear to me that I had “broken clock” control. My between fingerstick readings varied widely. My time in range between those readings wasn’t objectively great. I was high enough, frequently enough, for the cumulative effect to explain the erratic A1Cs and why my neuropathy had been progressing.

I don’t consider 25% time out of range to be good mangement but a goal for people who are out of control and for whom good control is potentially dangerous. I used a sample personal CGM for another 2 weeks and was able to modify my diet enough to get half way to where I wanted to be.

I figured that at age 75, my ability to manage with MDI wasn’t going to get any better, that it was better to transition to using a somewhat-smart pump while I was still able to master it. As an engineer I’m counting on the tech to improve, but my mind is an entirely different matter.

So I asked for a pump to be prescribed and jumped through the hoops to “prove” I had T1D and no beta cell activity so Medicare would pay for a G6 and a t:slim to be used in basal mode until I successfully transitioned from Novolins to Novolog. I wanted to get the essential pump parameters nailed down, based on a recorded talk* by the man who developed the Cotrol IQ algorighm. I did, but in the process learned a lot more than necessary about diabetes tech, and rather than set reasonable goals, was aiming for perfection 24x7, even if there was a disaster. Belt and suspenders wasnt enough, I needed backups for the backups. My attention to the tech interfered with my possible enjoyment of my trip out of town.

It’s been a couple months since I started with the t:slim, and my TIR has improved from low 80s to better than 95%, my A1C from 6.7 to 5.9 and my average glucose dropped under 126 before I “upgraded” to Control-IQ. After my out of town experience, I think I can take a step back, to see how I would actually do on my “emergency backup” MDI Lantus +Novolog protocol using a BGM with a CGM used “blind” as an auditor and remove the last bit of fear, uncertainty and doubt from my management.

But I wouldn’t consider going back to MDI permanently. Because now I’m actually sleeping soundly, my weight has been steadily dropping, and I feel better and more energetic most of the time.

Dealing with the problems of poor CGM and infusion sites is annoying, but becoming less frequent so the overall effort haas been worth it. I just need to pull back more from over-attentive monitoring and get back to a more normal life. Tech used right should make life easier, not harder

  • " Real-World Onboarding Experience with the t:slim X2™ Insulin Pump with Control-IQ Technology" ,Dr Jordon Pinsker. Real-World Onboarding Experience with the t:slim X2™ Insulin Pump with Control-IQ Technology - YouTube The essential paranmeters are covered in minutes 6:30–12. Without an accurate base profile and correction factor the Control-IW algorithm can’t work well. Control IQ won’t auto-bolus within an hour of a food bolus, so wthout accurate ICFs BG can go out of range out of range faster than Control-IQ can do anything (and corrections become non-linear at higher values.)
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@psfud123 Thanks for your background and story! It demonstrates what many progressive Endo’s/Docs as well as T1s with CGM’s have said for years and the ADA is finally coming around to: A1C can hide widely varying BGs while indicating a good “average,” where as CGMs show the reality. I’m a big fan of TIR and GMI in addition to, or even a replacement of A1c, albeit there is a significant current cost for the tech. @GY_t1, please do the research and form your own opinion; but I think you’ll find there is wisdom in @psfud123’s story and many here will back it up.

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On this occasion I was out with my wife for dinner.

Without insulin, I can’t eat dinner, or at least I can’t eat what I want for dinner. Or if I did eat, we would have to rush home right after dinner.

Sitting at a very nice restaurant and not being able to eat what I want diminishes the dining experience.

If I am not going to eat dinner, my wife certainly isn’t going to eat. She would rather go home than sit there in the restaurant eating dinner while I can’t. Being able to eat a normal dinner allowed her to do the same. So my diabetes did not affect her evening. That is always one of my goals, to not let it affect anyone else.

My emergency syringe made diabetes irrelevant. I was able to eat as I would normally. Diabetes was not a factor in the evening. So that’s how it saved the night.

I am not sure why my post about carrying an emergency syringe has provoked you.

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I’m with you, Eric, be prepared in this small way allowed you to enjoy an evening, great coping skills. I added a syringe to my regular kit that I carry with me everywhere. As I am due for a cartridge change today, I will test whether I can draw insulin out of the cartridge with a fine, short needle.

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I think the idea of using a small syringe is inventive, practical, and a great suggestion as an option. Kudos to @Eric! Since going on Dash pumps and G6, I’ve stopped carrying my “kit” (Insulin pen, BG meter, meter strips, lancing device, needles, etc.) everywhere. It may just be I’ve gotten “used to” being T1 and now forego the “fear” factor. Instead, if going on a shopping trip, medical appt across town (town meaning the DC metro area), I mostly just take glucose tabs in a tube (quick/small/convenient, though a candy bar or soda would do), figuring I can get home relatively quickly (45 min +) if my pump fails. If its a “trip” of some length, or an important day/evening “event” I don’t want to interrupt, similar to @Eric, I stick my “kit” in the car, figuring I can get to it and “treat” myself. If we’re headed to our cabin for several days or a vacation, I take extra supplies (pods, sensors, pens, etc.).

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What I have always loved about FUD is that it is a wonderful collection of badasses who generously share their successes and learning experiences so that others may benefit.

Everyone walks their own path. But we support each other along the way even WHEN our path is different for numerous reasons…chosen or involuntarily.

Mutual respect and open minded curiosity enrich these conversations.

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I learned to carry always a syringe from your earlier post! I even carry one in my waist bag while running and biking.

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I agree - if someone hear’s about something another diabetic has done successfully and with good results, they can see if it can be replicated. With my allergic reaction to Dexcom adhesive, I now know to use a Dexcom overpatch underneath and over top. Use a Skin Tac wipe over my skin first, then put the overpatch on. Let the Skin Tac dry and then it’s a piece of cake. Has saved me so much trouble and bad skin issues. Thank goodness for the fudiabetes forum!!! :heart: :heart: :heart:

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The last time I changed out a cartridge I couldn’t get any insulin out as it only show 4u. Today I drew out 15u with a regular 29 gauge insulin syringe.

This means one can get emergency insulin from a Tandem cartridge as long as one is careful to not bend the needle.

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@Shecamp Sounds strange the Dexcom’s normal adhesive would cause a problem, the adhesive in their over patch would not. I assume their decision not to use one over the other is a cost avoidance? Or is it that some are allergic to one, and others allergic to the other?

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Interesting TomH! I’m not allergic to the overpatches at all - use one under my Dexcom and over it as well. Never had a problem with the overpatch and they really make a difference for me. I think Dexcom changed their adhesive because the old one was causing the sensors to not last as long and they had to replace so many that didn’t stick. Personally was not allergic to the old adhesive at all.

Anyway, the only thing that works for me is this:

  1. Use Skin Tac on my skin first
  2. Stick an overpatch on my skin
  3. Put the sensor on

I tell anyone who asks that Skin Tac and sensor overpatches are what I’ve used for at least 3 years. Interesting question if the adhesives are the same. Go figure!

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Just spitballing, perhaps it’s not the adhesive but what the patches are made from.

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No, it’s the Dexcom Adhesive. The overpatches have been a lifesaver. I use one under the Omnipod Dash I wear too.

I’ll usually just have a capped syringe with 10 units in it…just in case

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I apologize if this has been covered before but with an Omnipod 5, am I correct to assume that you insert the syringe in the hole that the insulin was inserted in the first place?

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