Failure and rescue
There is no telemetry and for the last 10 or fifteen minutes I have no data. Oh shit. We’re doing a lot of walking. I tend to get hypo when I exercise.
So three-year-old in tow, with a stroller, my emergency bag, his supply bag, and our coats I’m off to find the nearest bathroom to check the sensor set and try to figure out what’s going on. “Daddy, I’m not ready to gooooo!” We gotta go, NOW.
In the bathroom, after getting myself and the stroller caught in malfunctioning automatic door for wheel chairs, I find nothing seems to be wrong with the set. Of course, what is there to see? The transmitter is still plugged in to the sensor, and senor is still plugged in to me. Well, shit.
“Daddy, I’m hungry. Hungry. Hungry. Hungry.” OK, well I can’t think what to do, my mind is numb. Better feed the little one. Down we go to the T-Rex Cafe. Juggling stroller, bags, jackets, three-year-old; and now a tray with a salad for me and salad and fruit for the little one. Did I mention that my wife and my mother are off on a separate adventure, leaving us “men” to fend for ourselves at the museum? I have a new appreciation for the difficulties faced by single parents....
Finally after getting us through the line (twenty bucks for a couple of salads???), and out to the tables, and then back to the cash register for the plastic “silverware” and paper napkins I’d forgotten, and then back to the tables; my mind quickly goes through anger, confusion, despair.
Anger: this damn thing is brand-new and already it broke!
Confusion: what the hell am I going to do now?
Despair: can’t cry in front of the boy! ;-)
I’ve left the manual at home. I’ve left the test plug at home (the test plug is a device tech support can use to check the systems). I’m not carrying my spare sensor with me, it’s back at the room in the fridge. I try to work out what to do next with my limited knowledge of the system.
Monitor read outs are functioning. The back light is bright. So it is not likely to be the batteries. I’m not getting a telemetry icon. So it would seem that the transmitter is not sending out a signal. The transmitter is supposed to last a year. I’ll be pretty irked if it lasts less than a week. I’ve had some weird readings on this sensor. Could it be a bad sensor? If a sensor starts to get used up I’m supposed to get an alarm to warn me it needs to be replaced. I haven’t had that alarm. If a sensor did fail, would that cause the telemetry to fail too?
I’m thinking to myself that I’ll trying changing the sensor when I get back to my room and see what happens. If that fails I’ll have to wait until I get back to New Mexico. Then it occurs to me: maybe it is something simple. Maybe it is something that Medtronic can help me with. They have a 24-7 tech support line. Do I have the number? I take the monitor off my belt and slip it out of the case. I remove the belt clip, and thank goodness the 800 number is printed on the back of the monitor.
I’ve finished my salad, Rio is still working his way through a mountain of fresh fruit--dipping watermelon chunks and strawberries into ranch dressing. I get out my cell phone and call. I’m very quickly talking a real person. I explain the problem. The young lady at tech support starts taking me though a series of checks to narrow down what the problem could be. We confirm that the monitor knows the transmitter’s number. We check a couple of other settings. I’m starting to get depressed. My contact tells me to try initiating a search. This is the same procedure you use when you’ve put a new senor in. The monitor starts an 8 minute count down during which there is an electronic mating dance between the sensor and the monitor. Of course with a new set, you start the count down, plug in and in an instant they are linked up. I start the count down and then my Rio says:
“Daddy, I have to go to the bathroom.” You gotta be kidding.
Now I don’t know how many of you either have, or have had, three-year-olds. But when they tell you they need to go, the clock is ticking and you haven’t got much time. So off we go, three-year-old Rio, stroller, bags, coats, cell phone on shoulder, monitor out of case, belt clip off; now with a bottle of water and a bottle of strawberry milk to add to the load.
Is it possible to call you back? I’m figuring in the middle of this I’m gonna end up dropping either the cell phone or the Guardian in the toilet. She gives me her name, wishes me luck and tells me to call her back as soon as I’ve got the situation under control.
About ten minutes later, I situate us and our gear in a more quiet corner. I pull the Guardian out of my pocket. She’s working again. I call my contact back for a post mortem.
Her best guess: some sort of radio interference (maybe from the electronics in the museum exhibits?) interrupted the telemetry link. I’m told that cell phones sometimes do this, as do some types of computer equipment. Usually if there is a break, the two will link up again. If the interference goes on too long a manual search needs to be done. She’s not sure the length of time.
That’s OK. She’s got me up and running again; and I know what to do if it happens again. And Rio and I are off to see the Egyptian mummies...