Users of insulin pumps need to regularly change their cannulae, both to avoid infections and to maintain insulin infusion rates. There are some simple and effective tools available to keep track of this.
For teflon cannulae we’re supposed to change them every 3 days. For metal cannulae such as the Contact Detach or Sure-T sets, it’s meant to be every 2nd day. But each day blends into the next, and it’s easy to lose track of which day you’re up to.
Some pumps support timers for cannula changes, but not all. And I find it easier if the timer is available on my phone, where the rest of my life gets organised too.
Of course, there are apps for that. Set Change is one on the Apple App Store. It’s fairly simple, with just a single timer. You set the number of days, and tell it when you’ve done the change. It then starts counting down to the next change.
There are some other apps around too, and some have a few counters so you can keep track for multiple PWDs in your family. But there’s a tool that’s available on your phone and computers already: the calendar! I’m going to illustrate this with the Apple Calendar app, but the same functionality is available with Google Calendar.
Create an appointment for changing the cannula, and set it to a repeating event that happens every 3 days (for example).
I have set mine to give me a reminder alert at the start of the day. Because my calendar is synchronised across my phone and my computers, I get the reminder in all locations. I have it in a calendar that only I use: my wife doesn’t need the alerts coming up in our shared calendar.
If I forget and only get around to doing the change the following day, I simply change the date of the event to the date I did the change, and all the following repeats move by the same amount. I just need to ensure I select to change All Future Events.
This simple tool is already available on your phone, and if you have the calendars synchronised with your computers, it’s available there too. You might not need to spend money on an app.
It also works for multiple reminders. For example I have a “Start Libre sensor” event with a 2-week repeat. The Libre Reader does give you a countdown as you approach 14 days, although it can be confusing when it suddenly switches from saying you have 2 days left to saying you have 23 hours left.
Having Libre sensor starts in my calendar is useful in multiple ways, not just in knowing when the next change is due. I can look back and see when I started a sensor (which can be useful when interpreting historical BG data). And I can look forward and easily plan how many sensors I will need to take with me if I’m heading out on a trip.
I also record things like pump battery changes in this “Pump data” calendar. It’s quick and easy to setup, and then easy to search back and find out how long the battery lasted.