LifeAfterDx--Diabetes Uncensored

A internet journal from one of the first T1 Diabetics to use continuous glucose monitoring. Copyright 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

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Location: New Mexico, United States

Hi! I’m William “Lee” Dubois (called either Wil or Lee, depending what part of the internet you’re on). I’m a diabetes columnist and the author of four books about diabetes that have collectively won 16 national and international book awards. (Hey, if you can’t brag about yourself on your own blog, where can you??) I have the great good fortune to pen the edgy Dear Abby-style advice column every Saturday at Diabetes Mine; write the Diabetes Simplified column for dLife; and am one of the ShareCare diabetes experts. My work also appears in Diabetic Living and Diabetes Self-Management magazines. In addition to writing, I’ve spent the last half-dozen years running the diabetes education program for a rural non-profit clinic in the mountains of New Mexico. Don’t worry, I’ll get some rest after the cure. LifeAfterDx is my personal home base, where I get to say what and how I feel about diabetes and… you know… life, free from the red pens of editors (all of whom I adore, of course!).

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water...

100 boxes of Revel pumps on the wall, 100 boxes of Revel pumps,
Take one down, ship it around… 99 boxes of Revel pumps on the wall.


99 boxes of Revel pumps on the wall, 99 boxes of Revel pumps,
Take one down, ship it around… 98 boxes of Revel pumps on the wall.


98 boxes of Revel pumps on the wall, 98 boxes of Revel pumps.
Take one down, ship it around… 97 boxes of Revel pumps on the wall.


97 boxes of Revel pumps on the wall, 97 boxes of Revel pumps,
Take one down, ship it around… 96 boxes of Revel pumps on the wall.


Or maybe…. How many insulin pumps does it take to change a light bulb?

So, the odds of getting hit by lightning once are around 1 in 576,000. The odds of getting hit by lightning twice? Around 1 in 9,000,000. Three times? Greater than the odds of getting canonized by the Catholic church, although it does happen. (Both canonizations and being hit by lightning three times.)

In point of fact, pity poor Roy Cleveland Sullivan, a U.S. Park Ranger who was hit by lightning no less than seven times in his life. He survived all seven strikes and shot himself at age 71 over an unrequited love. I’m not sure what to make of his demise. Anyway, he hasn’t been canonized yet, but probably should be.

Yes, boys and girls. New Pump Redux Redux just blew a gasket, slipped a cog, lost its mind, flipped it’s lid, snapped a fuse, had a meltdown, or whatever the fuck happens to insulin pumps to trash their delicate little motors—and I just got stuck by lightning three times. Today New Pump Redux² racked up two Motor Error alarms. One at 9:22 this morning, and one at 2:55 this afternoon. Both happened during small correction boli of less than one unit. Remember folks. These aren’t delivery errors. These aren’t occlusions. These are something going wrong with the motor that drives the plunger that pushes the insulin that keeps the diabetic alive. And they are both on an established infusion set and reservoir that has been preforming flawlessly.

After the second Motor Error alarm, to vent, I fired off nasty, terse emails to various folks at Med-T. The replies that came back to me all said the same thing: NO FUCKING WAY!!!

OK, so I might have paraphrased that a little bit.

They actually said things like: “How you have been so unlucky as to have multiple encounters with Motor Errors on multiple pumps is unknown to me.” And: “I’ve worked with hundreds, if not thousands of pumpers over the years, and I’ve never heard of anyone getting two bad pumps in a row, much less three.”

And they all told me (can you guess?): Motor Errors like these are the sign of a sick pump. Call the help line. Replace pump three. Lightning can’t possibly strike you four times.

So I did. And the HelpLine agreed that three isolated Motor Error alarms in such a short time period was bad Ju-Ju indeed, and that there was no question in their minds that pump three needed to be sent packing.

And so the fourth pump in four weeks is winging it’s way to me. Do I call it New Pump Redux Redux Redux? New Pump Redux³? Or New Pump Wars Episode IV? Or New Pump the Fourth? Or a Borg name, like 4-of-18 (hopefully not)?

So why haven’t I just thrown in the fucking towel and gone back to my CoZmo and my Dex? After all, I’ve worn three CoZmos and not one of them ever gave me a day of trouble. The first was a Model 1700 that was upgraded for free to a rebuilt Model 1800, when that newer model was released, and the third one was a brand new 1800 (and one of the very last sold when Smith’s closed their doors) that I got when my original warranty ran out.

Well, I’m sticking out this miserable party that Med-T is hosting partly because this is becoming so comical that I want to see just how many pumps it really does take to change a light bulb. Will the fourth time be the charm? Or the fortieth? And partly because, while all things mechanical can and do fail, the Med-T pumps don’t have that bad a reputation. But mostly, I sticking this out because the mySentry is a rockin’ piece of gear that I have become highly addicted to, and I can’t bear to send back—just yet. In the not-quite a month I’ve been playing with it, it has become my blood sugar GPS system. I use it to find where I am, and to help me get to where I want to go. It’s bordering on becoming an indispensable tool for me.

When I wake up in the middle of the night, even without my glasses on, it’s large enough that I can see my trace line and know if my blood sugar is stable or changing. And if it’s changing, how rapidly? The colors of the icons, even fuzzy glasses-less, alert me to trouble and help me plan my day as I wake up in the morning. Oh. Yes. That’s right. New infusion set today. Ah. I see. New sensor tomorrow.

And speaking of the sensors, holy crap, have they gotten better since I last used them! They’re running spot-fucking-on for me. And if they aren’t running spot-fucking-on for you, may I suggest that you read Chapter 9 of Beyond Fingersticks? Sof-sensors still do require some calibration discipline, but if you treat them right they’ll treat you right, too.

It really is a masterpiece. The CGM and the Sentry, that is.

And the Revel, when it’s not regurgitating Motor Errors all over my shoes, is really a sweet little pump. It’s thin and light. Easy to use, with nicely re-vamped and very user-friendly menus. I like the reduced load on my waist both in individual gear weight and in number of devices. I’ve even gotten fond of the bulky backlight-less meter that magically beams my blood sugar readings to the pump for fast and easy calibrations and corrections.

Yeah. You gotta know when to hold ‘em and know when to fold ‘em. But I’m not ready to fold ‘em just yet.

Of course, Chess is more my game than poker… but at this point I’m worried that I’m only one pump away from checkmate. And I’m not the one who’s winning the game.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope you are buying lottery tickets these days because the odds must be in your favor. It seems totally unbelievable what you've experienced. I do hope the next pump is a keeper.

7:13 PM  
Blogger Jessica said...

Seriously? I need to know if you share an office with an MRI machine, live in close proximity to Roswell or are the victim of a secret government experiment!

5:59 PM  
Blogger Scott E said...

Make sure your next pump is clear, not smoke-colored or purple or whatever color you've been using, so you can get a good look at those gremlins messing with the motor.

8:32 PM  
Blogger Wil said...

All smoke, to match one of my three vices. (I'll leave it to all of you to figure out the other two!)

8:44 PM  

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