Friday, 8 November 2013

Single-handed diabetes

I'm fiercely independent. I know this because after having had a minor carpal tunnel operation on my left hand, I am all but useless. Whether it's going to the ladies, writing a text message or dressing myself, all bets are off as to whether or not I will succeed or become infant-like in my ability to complete even the most basic tasks. Even this blog post is being written through the use of the voice activation on my smartphone. At least Siri finally has a purpose greater than me asking it to 'beam me up Scotty' or telling me how much wood a woodchuck would chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood (I'm not kidding, look it up. Siri is a smart arse,). But while I have found savvy ways to make the rest of my life easier (and entertain myself while indisposed) when I have only one good hand and one bandage-wrapped club, diabetes has proven a little more difficult to do one handed. 

As I started to move around my home after the op and learned how to navigate my surroundings with only one good hand, I started thinking about how difficult diabetes might be to manage without the use of both hands. I had taken various steps to make life easier when I got back after the op, for example, changing my cannula a day early as I anticipated how tricky that would be without two hands. But as I absent-mindedly pulled up the pyjama bottoms I wanted to wear in order to make myself a little bit more comfortable,  I managed to catch my finger under the tubing and rip my cannula clean out. Shit! Changing my cannula was exactly the sort of task I was thinking about when I considered how difficult the next few days might be. 

I stood staring at the box of Sure-T cannulas in my diabetes supply drawer feeling very sceptical. After all, Sure-Ts are a manually inserted cannula meaning both hands are pretty vital. So the only thing for it was to revert back to my quickset cannulas - the ones with an automatic inserter - that I haven't used for quite some time thanks to the repeated kinking (ooh er!) issues I seem to have with  them.

As I fumbled my way through a one-handed cannula change, choosing this time to go for my left upper arm as my abdomen didn't seem to want to play ball with quickset cannulas last time I used them, I realised perhaps this was my body's way of telling me that it was time to use a new area. I talked in my last post about the mystery lump on my abdomen and my apparent apathy to do something about it, so maybe this was a good thing. One way or another my body found a way to push me into using a site I haven't been to for a while.  Being adaptable, open to change and prepared for all eventualities is something people with diabetes often have to face, so perhaps this is just another little twist on the winding road to diabetes successful management.  

See you next time, 

Love Anna 'club arm' Presswell 


  1. Hi Anna, sorry to hear about the wrist and the problems it is causing. Your last two blogs really do highlight the trials and tribulations that us Type 1 diabetics have to put up with. So many people seem to think Type 1 diabetes (assuming they know the difference) is simply a case of taking a shot of insulin and that's it. If only that was the case! Every time I go running, its a case of testing blood sugar and more often than not reacting to whatever it says which is invariably the need to have some carbs which is really annoying when one of the reasons for running is to maintain my weight! Then, the run is very often followed by a hypo, either straight after the run or more often than not in the evening either just before bed or during sleep! But, I'm damned if I'm going to let diabetes stop me from enjoying something that in itself is a great stress reliever. Anyway, that aside, I have one more week until I get my Accu Chek Combo pump and I am seriously looking forward to it! Followed within a few weeks (I want to get partially used to my pump before leaping into a CGM as well as) before I self fund a Dexcom CGM. Best wishes. Jonathan H

    1. Hi Jonathan, thank you for posting. It sounds like running can be a complete nightmare for you but I think you'll notice a huge difference when you get your insulin pump. There is loads of great info and advice out there how to cope with cardiovascular exercise with insulin pump at hand.

      Really looking forward to hearing how you're getting on and if you need any CGM advice please let me know. I love talking CGM! :-)

  2. Trials and tribulations indeed! How did the arm site work out for? Can't imagine having my tubing attached to my arm! I used to have problems with kinking quicksets too, but changing to the 9mm needles has stopped it completely. Problems now only occur if I rush a cannula change (or I can imagine if I tried it one handed!). Hope you return to full handed functionality soon.

    1. Hi Louise,

      I used to use arm sites until I started using my Dex sensors there, so it was like covering old territory really. Interesting about the 9mm cannulas though! Thanks for the tip :)