One Hand Pump Use

I have a relative who has been T1 for most of his life (60+ yrs) and has only recently started using Dexcom G6 sensors. He didn’t seem too aware of pump technology and I was showing him my T-slim. He has only one hand, so that may be the reason he’s not using a pump. Anyone have temporary or permanent one hand use of a pump?

While I fortunately enjoy the use of both hands, I’ve thought about the various things I do as I use my pump and think its possible to do all pump tasks with one hand.

Your relative may not be able to use a second hand to pinch up the skin of an intended infusion site but I’ve inserted many sites without pinching up the skin. Alternately, I think a tool that simulates what a woman’s hair clasp does could be employed to help with this.

I think pushing the pump buttons could be done with one hand. Placing the pump on a waist belt using a pump clip may take some practice but maybe installing on the belt before cinching the belt would work.

One thing that could present some challenges is filling an insulin cartridge and then eliminating the air bubbles would be difficult with only one hand. I would experiment with a device that could hold the insulin-filled cartridge upright so that your relative could then tap with his one hand to get the bubbles to rise to the top and position them for expulsion.

Alternately, using a pump like the tubeless Omnipod could help.

I think pumping insulin could be successfully done given enough forethought and implementation of tools that could mitigate the challenges. Perhaps consulting an occupational therapist could help identify tactics to address this disability.

I did a YouTube search on “living with one hand” and found many videos. This video of a young woman reminded me of the resilience and resourcefulness of the human spirit. It doesn’t address using an insulin pump with one hand but I don’t doubt that this attitude will easily overcome any challenges.

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I often attach and remove Omnipods with one hand just because it’s so easy to do – you can pinch up and press down on the pod with one hand while inserting – and the PDM controller is easily used with one hand. When I had frozen shoulder and couldn’t use one hand, I did fingersticks by holding the lancet in my mouth, putting the finger to be lanced in place, and pushing the trigger with another finger on the same hand.

I don’t use the G6 so I don’t know how easy it is to insert with one hand, but where there’s a will there’s usually a way!

I personally think I could insert the G6 blindfolded and one handed if I absolutely had to. Case in point

Remember Jim Abbot the baseball pitcher. He only had one hand, and was diabetic. Not sure if anybody knows this or not, but he used a very early version of the pump because of his schedule and routine. It helped him a lot managing his diabetes and playing baseball at the same time.

I have the Tandem X2. And while I am not fully ambidextrous, I have fully operated my pump, single handed, with either hand, many times over the time I have had this pump.
The Dexcom G6 is actually easy to do single handed. It sticks on it’s own, you can lift slightly on the inserter if you need to. I like to put a slight tilt to it. Super easy single handed (I don’t use two hand for this part.)