Stuck in the Mountains With No Infusion Sets or Reservoirs

For the first time in 5 years as a Diabetic, I have made a costly mistake, and I have to try to figure out an innovative way to correct it. I drove to the mountains of north Georgia yesterday with a couple friends to attend a Bible Seminar. I got up this morning and went through my usual Diabetic routine, and suddenly, like someone hit me in the head with a hammer, I realized I brought everything but an infusion set and a reservoir. My pump is warning LOW RESERVOIR as we speak. I go home tomorrow, but it will be tomorrow evening before I get home. If I were in my truck, I keep spare parts in my glove box for just such a time as this. Now I can remove the top off my insulin bottle where I can poor it into the reservoir, but to do that I’m going to have pull the plunger out the bottom of the reservoir. Then I could poor the insulin into the reservoir, and then put the plunger back in. Will it work? That’s the only thing I know to do. I’m miles from a Pharmacy where I could maybe get some syringes. I cannot believe I did this. How do you forget the one thing you can’t do without? Any ideas?

You have to pack up and go to a pharmacy or go home.

Chance are good that someone else at that seminar is also a diabetic with some spare syringes. Have the organizers make an annoucement and ask. It can’t hurt.

What you are proposing to do to the insulin bottle could get you an infection at the infusion site. I don’t recommend it. Infections are tough to fight when you are diabetic. You really have two choices: don’t eat anything and monitor your BS every two hours until you get home, or go home. I doubt any pharmacy will sell you syriges without a prescription. There will be other Bible Seminars you can go to. Best of luck! Let us know how it works out.

Call the closest pharmacy and see what they can do for you (some seemingly unrelated pharmacies can transfer rx’s pretty easily)

make an announcement at the seminar

if that fails–go home and catch the next seminar.

hope you get to stay

You have to get insulin - even if you don’t eat you need background insulin. It’s the fasted way to get ketones! Go home or find a pharmacy or someone with spare infusion sets.

I thought the thrust of the question was “How do I keep myself from forgetting?”

The answer is “I don’t know. People forget sometimes.” Here are some ideas.

  1. Keep an infusion set and supplies in your toiletry bag and keep them there until you use them.
  2. Keep a set in your vehicle. (you do that, it looks like.)
  3. Make a permanent packing list and keep that either in your suitcase/duffel bag or your toiletry kit. (Don’t forget to list your insulin supplies!!!)
  4. Enlist someone to remind you.

What I would do is to find syringes (from pharmacy) if I could, take a shot of rapid insulin every 4 hours (the amount represents the total amount of the basal rates for the next 4 hours minus 20%) and bolus your meals with your carb ratios. That’s what they taught us at the hospital and we had 2 occasions that we applied it and it worked okay. It’s not the best thing, but it worked. I know that during the night you have to take off more than 20%, but I can’t remember. I don’t recommend undoing your reservoir, what will happen if it leaks into your pump after and your pump don’t work anymore?

It’s also handy to you have 2 infusion sets at hand, we broke one set before insertion (one time) and we were thankful that we had 2 sets.

Good luck!

You do have one syringe/pen , bottle of insulin fast acting …??1 ) Daytime : every 3 hours a needle shot of : 3 hours of basal , your meal bolus if you eat and correction bolus if needed.Your insulin/carb ratio and correction /sensitivity ratio are required to do the math . 2 ) overnight : every 3 hours a needle shot . Lots of finger pokes !!!
I think , I would go home .
PS I always carry bottle and one needle in my glucometer pack ; I have learned the hard way .

There has to be like a first aid station or a ranger station. Ask around and find out about that. They might have syringes or might be able to point you in the right direction.

Hi Bobby,

How much insulin do you use per day? When my pump warns low resevoir, I have at least 20 units of insulin still in it. Would that be enough for your basal insulin until tomorrow?

If you need to give a bolus, you can give it by calculating the dose and giving a fixed prime. It would be best if you could find a syringe to use for your boluses, but let your pump continue to deliver the basal as long as it will. The pump can deliver a basal for a long time after the low resevoir warning.

Hope you are able to find a syringe or get home a little earlier!!


Go home and learn this lesson well. We all goof up and have to pay the consequence of our actions. Just remember to learn from it.

I would be very wary of invading your reservoir and it’s suction. The minute you do that you might lose any sort of self seal it may have. And talk about infection risk!!! Don’t even think of it.

Good suggestions from others here: First and best idea is to ask at the seminar if anyone has additional supplies. You’d be surprised to find a lot of diabetics in attendance. If not, I would try to contact your DR (after determining the phone number & location of a pharmacy) and then get him/her to call the pharmacy. I doubt that any “official” source would just hand out the supplies without a scrip.

Actually, Bobby, you’re not alone in this. I was admitted to the hospital thru the ER one time. Of course, I had no supplies. Wouldn’t you know it?..a low reservoir message. I didn’t want to let the hospital screw me up because I take a more uncommon insulin. Believe me, hospitals are ill-equipped to handle things like this. Long story short … my nursing aide was a diabetic wearing the exact same system that I have … even the same purple color!!! She agreed to bring in supplies for me from home and my pump had enough to get me through to the next day when she came in. Talk about being in the right place at the right time.

Anyway, take a breath and see if anyone can help. If not, go home. Your health is more important than a 2-day seminar. :slight_smile:

Lois La Rose
Milwaukee, WI

OK. Ya’ll are going to think I’m crazy, but I hope it works out ok. See, I can’t go home, because three of us came together in one of their vehicles. I’m not sure how far we would have to drive to find a Wal-Greens. So I took a chance and did another no-no, and believe me, I thought about all the things you’ve said here. I was able to pull the plunger out of the reservoir (I know this is bad, I used my car key). I took the top off the insulin vile with my pocket knife, (I sorta feel like McGiver, or whatever his name was). I poured the insulin into the Reservoir and then gently pushed the plunger back into the Reservoir. I worked the air out of it, rewound the pump, installed it and primed it, and here I am. I know, I’m a nut. I thought about the things I needed when I left yesterday, I just somehow walked without the most important stuff. If I had been in my truck, I would have been ok. I always have spare parts in my truck, as well as my wife’s car. I must have serious dain bramage.
So, how long does it take for an infection to show up at an infusion sight? I’m hoping, praying, and trusting God that doesn’t happen, but… you never know. So far it’s working like a charm. I guess all I have to worry about is whether it leaks back into the pump and ruins the pump, or getting an infection at the infusion site. I do appreciate all the concern you guys show though. That in itself is priceless. So what do you think? A day or so for an infection to show up? I’m banking on my Boss from above to take care of this. After all, He is why I’m here in the beautiful mountains of north Georgia. But it’s not His fault I forgot my stuff. Gee, I really feel dumb. I can’t believe I even told ya’ll what I did.
But I must admonish the rest of you here; Do not try this at home! If I come through this without a hitch, I will glorify God. If I wind up in the hospital, I will credit my own stupidity.
I’ll keep you posted.
Peace Ya’ll

Prayers are with you Bobby. Please be careful

If the resevoir didn’t leak when you primed it it probably won’t…however I know that even if they do leak–a pump can conitune to work…and work after you clean it out…

make sure ya change as soon as you get home and ut some neoporin on the set site…you mopst probably will be just fine, althoughn surprised no other D people at the Seminar–is it a small one (seminar)?

Any way–let us all now how it worked for ya–inquiring moinds want to know–and you just never know what circumstances might arise that someone else would need to use this McGiver :slight_smile:

Hope that you are doing alright Bobby!

I thought I was crazy, but you win. We must add the disclaimer:

“Kids, don’t try this at home.” (or anywhere else for that matter).

Let us know when you are home with a fresh resevoir and infusion set!!

I know, I’m a nut. But I really had no other choice. I’m here with two other people in one of their vehicles and they were counting on being here. I didn’t even say anything to them. For me to have gone home, I would have had to pull them out of this seminar too. And I know it sounded crazy, but I was very careful when I did what I did. It’s nearly 24 hours later, and everything is working fine. I just woke up, and got up and checked the pump delivery and it seems to be fine. The infusion site seems to be fine. You know, I think this has been a hard lesson learned for me, that I will not soon forget. It has emabarrassed me because I know none of you would try what I just did. In fact none of you would have ever left town without your supplies, but leave it to me to be the guinea pig. I can just about bet that I won’t be leaving home without my parts and pieces again whether I’m in my own vehicle or someone else’s. I’m going to purchase one of those Diabetic totes of some kind. I’ve actually been looking at Wal-Mart and those kind of places, but they don’t have what I’m looking for. Even the Medical Supply stores in Statesboro don’t stock them. How crazy is that? So I’ll have to order something on-line without having even seen it and hope I get the right thing.
Well folks, this has been a really weird weekend. I have attended the whole seminar, except for what’s left this morning, and I will do that too, in a few hours, and then I shall drive Jacob’s Gigantic Ford Excursion 320 miles back home. So far, me and my pump seem to be no worse for the wear. Thank you Lord!
And you know what? I’m really not just a wreckless dim-wit that makes idiotic decisions, even though that’s what it sounded like. I really am a fairly intelligent human being. I found myself between a rock and a hard place, and I just weighed my options, and did the only thing I felt like I could do, and so far it seems to be working. Gotta go back to bed now. You guys are great. Thanks again for all your love, concern, and support. You are the best friends I have ever had!
Peace Ya’ll,

Bobby, I actually don’t really think you are that crazy-- you found a solution and it worked for you!

And please don’t think you are the only one who forgets supplies at home!!! I put a big sign saying “INSULIN” on the door when I am preparing for a trip! I can’t tell you how many times I have forgetten to bring insulin!! The other day, I ate lunch without bolusing. You think that I would be used to it by now, but…

Another recommendation is to keep a syringe in EVERY bag. Hide them all over the place. I like having syringes with me in case my pump ever failed or I was in a jam. I have them in every purse, bag, drawer, etc.

Glad that you had a meaningful weekend! Have a good trip back!

Oh Bobby:

I’m so disappointed in you!!! How could you forget? Would you forget your own head if it weren’t attached? KIDDING! Like I said in my previous comments (and others did too), you need not kick yourself too hard for forgetting. Everyone has done something similar. How could I forget to bolus even when my pump is right on my body!!! Ewwwwwww! Boy, do I have a brain with mold on it!!

I am surprised that you were unable to find another diabetic at the conference, but that’s the way life is sometimes. In any event, you made it through and, hopefully, you were greatly blessed by the weekend.

Just don’t do it again!!! :slight_smile:

Luv & Hugs.

Lois La Rose
Milwaukee, WI

Try the weekender Jr by moda( in the cosmetics aisle–comes in basic black or current “in” colors)–$8 this is what I have in mine:

2 or 3 infusion sets and resevoir, quickserter, precsision meter for keytone testing, 2 or 3 vails of insulin, 1 or 2 insulin pens, gel pack, syringes, sm sharps container, scissors, tape, IV 300, neosporin, gauze, calculator,batteries,pen needles, lancets,alchohol wipes, some other stuff I know I am forgetting…

I sew, but by the time I but cordura or such, zipper, and my time–was cheaper to buy than to amke.Mine has lasted over a year and I use it daily.