Monday, August 18, 2008

Cleo Nightmares

When you are under a lot of stress AND you have to manage your diabetes, I think there's always a risk of a major meltdown. It can be caused by even the stupidest, littlest things like not enough blood on the test strip, a low blood sugar that keeps you from going home on time, or in my case, some rogue adhesives that refuse to do their job.

It was around 12:30am last night that I unintentionally put my emotions and those of my husband's through the wringer. Everything started off normally and innocuously enough. I was getting ready for bed, changing my entire infusion set. I use the Cleo 90 sets with my Deltec Cozmo pump. (See pic above.) I definitely like the Cleos—they don't get as bent up as some of my old Medtronic sets did. Once you can get them on, they're usually pretty well stuck unless your waistband or belt decides to get pesky. That's only happened to me twice.

However, sometimes I have some trouble getting the Cleos to stick initially. I always use IV Prep wipes, and sometimes I wonder if I have a bad batch of them. Some days I try to put one on (or in, however you want to look at it), and the first one doesn't work. The Cleo has a brilliant mechanism that makes it super-safe as soon as you use it. The introducer needle retracts into the inserter's housing, making it impossible to accidentally poke yourself or someone else with it. Sounds great, right?

It is. Except, if your adhesive doesn't stick properly, you can't try to stick yourself with the set a second time. If it's not staying, you're done. You pull out the depressingly empty cannula and proceed to bleed all over the place.

This is the brief, easy overview of my bedtime last night. The long, emotionally draining version is a little different.

One Cleo didn't work. Frustrating, but common for me. The second one doesn't work. I'm tired. I just want to sleep. Why does this keep happening to me? I just want to go to bed like a normal person without having to do this crap. Matt comes to bed. Everything goes downhill from there. I am almost in tears anyway. He asks me what's wrong, and I answer him truthfully, but I'm short with him. I ask him, trying not to snap, to get me another Cleo. This is the third. Third time is the charm, right?

It doesn't work. My eyes flood with tears, and I can feel my entire body shaking. I feel like my only reaction at this point can be a violent one. I twist the protective cap back onto defective Cleo #3 and grip it hard in my hand.

"What the fucking SHIT?!! Fuck!" comes out of me from a very guttural place as I pitch the Cleo and it hits the bedroom wall with an almost satisfying clack. I am crying, shaking staring straight ahead. Matt moves to hug me and I just feel too down low to even want to accept the affection. Matt assures me it's okay. He says he understands because he gets really frustrated when things don't work as well as they're designed to.

Before I know it, I open my stupid frustrated mouth. "Yeah," I say, sobbing, "but you don't have to worry about how your stuff malfunctioning leaves your health out of control, and that doesn't make you think about how no matter how hard you try, maybe you'll go blind, or your kidneys will fail, or you'll lose a leg...or you'll never have enough control to ever have your own children."

Then I am instantly wrapped in Matt's arms before I even know what happens. I regret the words I've said as we both sit on the bed and weep. I am drained, and I still need to get the infusion set in.

I try the fourth. It fails again. More cussing. More throwing of failed Cleos. More tears.

The fifth one finally works. I breathe a sigh of relief. I apologize to my husband for the freak-out. I go to sleep.

Was it worth the anger? The blinding rage? The bottomless feeling of hopelessness? I don't know. But when my every day life is bringing me the stress of my job, the stress of looking for a new home, and the stress of my father's failing health, sometimes it takes a few extra bleeding holes in your body and failed medical devices to put you at your worst.

Thanks again, diabetes, for showing me just how much hurt is in my life in the ugly hours when I'm trying to make the most of things. Thanks a lot. (Yes, folks, that's sarcasm.)


  1. {{{{{HUGS}}}}}}} Oh boy, it sure sucks sometimes, doesn't it. Your husband sounds like a wonderful guy though - just like mine. There's something we can always be thankful for. And I hope your life settles down soon.

  2. Hannah -

    I'm sorry this happened. Frankly, I think the meltdowns aren't just a matter of course - they are an absolute neccesity in this thing. Sometimes, there is nothing else and nothing more healthy to do than lose it - let it out - throw something - scream. Sometimes, there are innocent bystanders that get hurt in the course of the meltdown. You are so fortunate (as am I) to have a strong partner who loves you and seems to understand that there are times when you just need to. lose. it.

    If I were there - I'd give you a giant hug. And I'd give you permission to curse and scream and throw things at me. Because I know that's sometimes just what the heart - and the mind (and the doctor?) orders.

    xox - Nicole

  3. Aw, man. Those are the worst moments with infusion sites. I've been trying to go back to Comfort Shorts and I swear they are out to get me. I had one of those days yesterday where everything I touched broke, fell, ripped, or spilled and the accidental site pull at the end of the day was the last straw. I wound up about where you were last night with similar reaction from hubby. (Aren't hubbies wonderful people?) So far today I've been avoiding moving anywhere at all in the hopes that the evil klutz mojo is all gone. Here's to letting it all out when we need to!
    All the best,

  4. ((( Hannah )))

    I've been there, too. It's hard, and it hurts, and the tears burn with a heat I'm never prepared for.

    Thinking of you. And I can't tell you how many times I've said this very (colorful) phrase:

    "What the fucking SHIT?!! Fuck!" ;)

  5. Yuck. I'm so sorry. I once had 4 minimed sets kink in the same day. :( I want to scream all kinds of unkind things when this happens.
    I'm glad you finally got your set in. And a meltdown every once in a while is okay. It happens to all of us.

  6. sorry things are so shitty!! sending hugs your way...

    i know these moments, thanks for sharing so openly so we know we all go through this hard, not pretty, stuff.

  7. Anonymous3:53 PM

    Hey, it might be a bad batch, and since they cost $XX, you can call their customer service people and they will replace the bad ones. We've done that.

  8. Hannah -


    Diabetes can be so FUCKING FRUSTRATING!!! Cursing and meltdowns help BIG TIME & and are perfectly acceptable whenever called for. Let em rip sister!

    Sending positive vibes your way and hope to see you very soon!

  9. Hannah-

    I've had this happen on numerous occassions with my Cleos. I have no idea what the hell makes them do that. Even though the situation sucks, I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one. And yes, I think I've uttered the very same phrase.

    :) Allison

  10. Hannah

    I had this happen just last week. The Cleo didn't stick until the 3rd one. And the 1st one hurt unbelievably.

    A diabuddy of mine suggested not using the IV Preps. That made sense because, for me, the cannula is really hard to remove after 3/4 days. So now I just use an alcohol swab. When I was using the IV Prep I lost LOTS of Cleos, since moving to the swab I lose very few.

    Good luck with the remaining sets changes - you know all of them until there's a cure!


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