I’ve been a bit on the quiet side as I ran in to my first issues with the pump.
I’ve had a chest infection and needed to appropriately double my dose (as is required during infections), very easy to do on the pump and convenient I thought as all I need to do is run my rate at 200% rather than the usual 100%.
Within 24 hours of increasing my dose I started to feel an itch on my infusion site, this itch got worse and redness started to appear around the cannula.
I didn’t want to take any risks so I changed everything and moved to a different infusion site, 24 hours later I was in the same position except now I was panicking. Was I allergic to something in the hydrocortisone?
I discussed with my endocrine nurse and we ran a few experiments, we needed to see if I was having an allergic reaction and if I was then what was I allergic to?
I set up a new cannula with no infusion running to see if I reacted to that, I also set up my new site with a protective dressing underneath the cannula to rule out allergies to the dressing. I stopped using my stomach for my infusion sites, partly because my entire stomach was now red and itchy (aren’t you glad I didn’t include a picture of that) and also to see if the skin on my stomach was just particularly sensitive.
The most indicative test though was the reduction of my rate/dose, as I had doubled up my dose by increasing my infusion rate to 200% so that I was double dosed but still had my nice dosing pattern to fit with a circadian rhythm. Once I had reduced my rate back to 100% my skin was fine, no more reactions at all.
I had noticed on the higher rates that I was getting a small amount of leakage around the cannula. This leakage is what seems to have irritated my skin. Any time I removed a cannula and there was any excess hydrocortisone leaking or pooling around the site my skin would react, having my pump on a normal rate doesn’t seem to create such an excess of fluid and therefore my skin does not come in to contact with the hydrocortisone.
To remedy the skin reactions I have chosen a different cannula that goes in a little deeper and straight down rather than the 30° that is used normally. The only downside with this new cannula is that the dressing is quite small and starts to peel off quite quickly.
On discussion with other pump users the skin irritation seems to be a common issue and most users will only increase the rate on their pump slightly and otherwise take extra oral steroids to avoid the irritation of the skin but allow a safe dose.
Learning this allowed me to breathe again, I was very anxious that I was allergic to one of the preservatives and this meant I couldn’t use the pump anymore. I think this is why it is important to be able to speak to others who share your experiences, we can learn from and support each other.
I am hoping to resume normal content soon, I have some interesting recipes and updates on the chickens.