Before type 1 diabetes crashed your child’s life party, I’d guess bubbles didn’t give you much, if any reason to get agitated, frustrated, and despondent or on occasion, cause you to consider hari-kari a viable “out”. 


Some bubbles are fun to blow in gum or chocolate milk. In cellophane wrap, they protect our stuff, or offer amusing sacrifice for “popping” in idle time. Don Ho, the popular Hawaiian crooner, sang affectionately of his “tiny bubbles”, and Shweppes described the fizzy little things in its ginger ale as rejuvenating “Shweppervescence”. And who couldn’t appreciate those household allies, the “Scrubbing Bubbles”, those industrious mighty mites armed with brushes, scum-fighting soap and insatiable appetites for mold and mildew?


But these villainous air bubbles of which I speak are no fun at all: Nearly microscopic, these gnats of air just keep showing up one by one or by the ba-zillions in the cartridges of our kids’ insulin pumps. They find one another and conjoin, eventually forming globs of air that intrude on insulin and disrupt accurate coverage of glucose: petty but persistent robbery.  The methods and techniques we employ to purge them are creative, and sometimes effective. Here are several I’ve used:


  1. Overdraw insulin and push the plunger back, repeat again and again until your thumb is numb or most of the bubbles disappear.
  2. Angle the insulin cartridge in a direction opposite from where you want the bubbles to go, toward the center. Use the same back-and-forth motion you used when you played the miniature arcade game that came with your box of Cracker Jack.
  3. Use room temperature insulin. If you live in a place like Vermont, that means you’ll set it near the wood stove half the year.
  4. Tap lightly using implements that have some heft. I prefer the barrel of my Smith and Wesson .44 Magnum. It seems those bubbles move a bit faster.
  5. Put on background music and play Top 25 hits from the 1970’s. As frustrating as your battle with bubbles will be, you’ll chuckle when you hear Tony Orlando and Dawn singing, “Knock three times…”

Here are a few more “alternative” methods which to date have been most effective…

Watch this video

We can joke a bit about the nuisance to us, but these baneful little bubbles are yet another example of why machines and management, whilst wonderfully helpful to our kids, pale in comparison to a cure for type 1 diabetes.