Wednesday, October 28, 2009

One pump, Two pump, Dead pump, New pump . . .

With a hat tip to Dr. Seuss for my post title, I wanted to finally tell you a story.  This all happened a few weeks ago - and while I've been wanting to blog about it, some things around here have kept me off-line for a while.  Things like finishing up my class, busy weekends, some not-so-good family news, out of town guests and being sick on the couch.  You know, life stuff.

For now, let's rewind to a Friday night a few weeks ago.  Pete and I decided to FINALLY attend one of the Practice Parties at the ballroom studio where we take lessons.  I put on a cute dress, stashed my pump in my bra, and headed out to the Oktoberfest Dance Celebration.  (The studio owners are from Germany, as are most of the staff.)  We had fun.  We danced a lot.  And then we headed home.

While in the car, I fished my pump out of my bra to see what the CGM was reading.  I hit the buttons but something was wrong.  It kept freezing up on me.  I decided to wait until we got home and into the light to see what was going on.

In the well-lit kitchen, I tried again.  It seemed like the pump would take one button push and then lock up.  After fiddling with it for a few more minutes, I decided to call Minimed's 24 hour tech support.  Even at 11:00 pm on a Friday they were "experienced high call volume" and I had to "stay on the line for the next available support person" . . . *** insert cheesy on-hold music here *****.  While I waited for Mr. Tech-Support-Guy my pump wailed a series of shrill beeps and flashed me a "Button Error".

It wasn't too long before Mr. Tech-Support-Guy was with me and I explained the locking buttons and the error message.  "Okay, has your pump recently been submerged?"  "No."  "Okay, we do see this problem sometimes, and I have to say, it happens to females more often than males.  I'll explain why."  He talked about how most men just clip their pump to their waistband and are done.  But women often tuck it into their bra (why yes, I did!!) or inside their waistband where it is next to the skin.  Over time, especially in hotter climates, sweat can make it's way into the buttons and cause them to corrode.  I mentioned that I don't wear my pump in my bra very often, but that I had it there that night.

I had hoped we'd run some diagnostic test, but unfortunately he said once the button error flashed the pump was dead and there was nothing left to do but pull out the battery to keep the pump from squawking all night and reach for the syringes for some old-fashioned injections.  He would have a new pump to my door by noon on Saturday.  I thanked him for his help and hung up.

Then I had a major melt-down.  It was almost midnight and I was freaked out and my mind wouldn't think straight.  First off I was upset that diabetes was going to make me sit around Saturday morning waiting for a new pump when I had been promising Pete all week that we'd go to a remote control helicopter show he'd been really looking forward to.  (Yeah, I know, boring . . . . but he walks around looking at yarn all day when I drag him to Fiber Festivals, so I owe him  a lot!)   Once I was done being angry at letting Pete down . . . again . . . I panicked about Lantus dosages.  How much did I used to take?  I'd been dancing all evening, how low would that push me?  Without my pump I have no CGM alarm to wake me if I crash.  It's almost midnight . . . WTF do I do?

What did I do?  I actually did something really smart.  I got on Twitter and tweeted.

Within seconds, I had helpful and supportive tweets from the D-OC and even from a knitter.

Then the phone rang and Crystal was on the other end - telling me to calm down and take some deep breathes while she figured out my dosage for me.  I don't know what I would have done without her.

This story has a happy ending.  My new pump was delivered just after 9 am on Saturday morning, meaning I was pumpless less than 10 hours.  That impressed the heck out of me, considering it broke just before midnight on a Friday.  I have to give Minimed a huge salute for the way this was handled.   I logged onto my Carelink account and printed the Device Settings report, which gave me all of the information I needed to get my new pump programmed just like my old pump.  And Pete and I were on our way to the helicopter show just one hour behind schedule.

The morel?  Always be prepared, because the worst will happen at the very worst time possible.  And if you are stuck, reach out to the D-OC.  Chances are there is always someone there to support you, no matter the time of day!


  1. Hooray! Glad all worked out so well. ;-) Glad to see you posting and tweeting again too.

  2. The support we have is unmatched. Thank God it worked out and I have to be honest, the remote control helicopter things sounds awesome!!!!


  3. I love this story! Well not the pump failure part, but the DOC support part! Thanks for being part of my support system!!

  4. I remember that night...I was packing up to go to Cherise's house to spend the night before the luncheon the next day and all of the sudden she hollers "Karen's pump died"...we both went into thinking mode while she googled on her iphone...

    so happy everything worked out so quickly for you! gotta love the DOC!

  5. Karen-

    OMG! Boy do I remember that night! I freaked out like it was my pump!!!! I'm glad Crystal was able to help you because I was on pins and needles. The DOC rocks:) glad it all worked out for you:)

  6. Ever since my pump died the first time, I always keep lantus and syringes nearby. Glad it worked out so quickly.

  7. By the way...I just discovered your blog....I will link mine to you ASAP.

    This is great!

  8. Wow! So glad you got a new one quickly and for your support system!!


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