The I-Port Report
A properly installed I-Port does not drool.
If there is more than a single drop of insulin left over on my pen after injecting, I know my I-Port is no longer good and I can expect high post-meal blood sugars. A tiny little drop doesn’t seem to make a difference, but if there are two drops left on the needle, or drops bubbling out of the septum of the I-Port, then I’m going to have to trash it and start all over again. I’m still trying to figure out how and why a seemingly good I-Port insertion will suddenly start dribbling, but I suspect it has something to do with me being clumsy and getting it caught on things. Constrictive clothing over the I-Port is also not a good combo, so sorry ladies, but you’ll have to save your corset for times where your I-Port is installed further south or on an appendage.
A properly installed I-Port doesn’t hurt.
Any pain or discomfort lasting more than a few minutes after an install is usually an indication you didn’t do it right. I installed my third I-Port on the side of my abdomen about two inches north of my left hip-bone. The insertion hurt so bad I briefly considered what would happen if I hit the floor, but I survived. I gave myself an especially painful bolus before dinner, the found myself over 130 after an hour, so I knew something was wrong, but though maybe I was just going through one of those low pain threshold times of the month, so I decided to give it overnight to acclimate. The few times I moved in bed that night were painful, so I decided to take it off when I got up. When I ripped that sucker off I found a blood-filled cannula. Ouch! That was my first experience with pain and bloodshed and an I-Port. The second came Saturday, where I learned:
A properly installed I-Port doesn’t bleed.
Saturday I went to change a 3-day old I-Port, and after removing the insertion needle on the fresh I-Port, blood started dripping out the top. It was pretty gory, so I grabbed the phone and called the 1-800 number on the I-Port package. I wasn’t sure if anyone would be around on a Saturday, but soon I had friendly help on the line. After they advised me to remove the “gusher”, I chatted for a while with a guy who’s name I didn’t catch about my general lack of I-Port-ready real estate. Which brings me to:
I-Port Loves Flesh
I may have inherited my mom’s diabetes genes, but I was also blessed with my dad’s build and metabolism. So add to that the fact that I am petite, and I’m not left with a whole lot of prime abdominal real estate. The person I spoke with at Patton on Saturday suggested I try wearing the port where KK (the inventor of the I-Port) wears hers, which is on the backside “right below her beltline”. I even learned that some pump users put infusion sets on their breasts, but I was too embarrassed to admit that I don’t have enough fat there either. 😛 He also suggested arms, but even if I did have extra flesh there, I think it would interfere too much with my current workout routine.
I tried the upper-butt area over the weekend. The first try I installed while standing, but when I went to sit down the I-Port felt stretched and hurt, so I took it out and, rather than waste an I-Port, decided to try re-installing the same one while sitting. The seated bum installation was a win, but it only lasted as long as it took me to have to go to the ladies room. I completely forgot about the new location (a nice testament to how comfortable a properly installed I-Port is!), and it ripped right off my bum when I pulled my shorts down. Much blood was shed, but its my own fault for attempting a 2nd install – not only did I forget to clean the area first with alcohol, but I think removing it once compromised the adhesive. Will try the “lower back” area again soon, and will try not to forget about it (or maybe wear a skirt).
I imagine pump users go through the same trial-and-error with their infusion sets, so if there are any petite pumpers out there with some placement advice for me, please do leave a comment!
So despite my few installation issues, I am determined to find a way to make the I-Port work for me, because when it does work, it is such a beautiful thing! Split boluses are no longer an issue, and the little red dots that the I-Port leaves in its wake are so much nicer to look at than the sea of yellow and blue that the injections leave me with. I’ll have to upload a photo showing an I-Port dot vs. an injection site, and maybe even photograph an area for a week or two to see how long it takes to disappear completely.
It’s also worth noting how helpful and responsive, both via email and phone, the people at Patton MD have been. It is nice to know you can pick up the phone on the weekend and have more than just a call center drone on the other end. All of Patton’s employees, diabetic or non-diabetic, have worn I-Ports and done saline injections through them, so no matter who you talk to, they have at least some personal experience with the product they sell. I also forgot to mention how easy it was getting my insurance to cover the I-Port. All I had to do was provide the prescription and my insurance info, and Patton MD took care of the rest through their vendors.
If anyone out there reading this is an I-Port user, I’d love to hear from you! I’m curious to know where you wear your I-Port, where you avoid wearing them and why, and if there are any other tips you’d like to share.