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, 2015, 2016

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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!).

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Motor error mysteries revealed. Well, sort of….

OK. So I’ve been doing a lot of asking around. And I’ve been getting a lot of emails. And I appreciate the feedback advice some of you have been posting.

And here’re the FACTS, as best as I can discover them: No Delivery alarms are just garden variety occlusions that can be caused by a hundred and one things. They come from kinked tubing, bent cannulas, miss-set reservoirs, you name it. They’re alarms that are no cause for alarm, so to speak. Well, I mean they’re important, because they mean you aren’t getting any insulin and can die; but they’re generally easy to trouble-shoot, easy to fix, and don’t mean there’s anything wrong with the pump. They generally mean something’s wrong with the infusion set instead.

But it’s the Motor Error alarms that get folks shook up (especially people at various levels at Med-T), and more especially when they happen separate from No Delivery alarms. That’s because isolated Motor Errors are a symptom of a more serious problem.

Actually, sometimes, I’m told, when you get a couple of No Deliveries, you’ll then also get a Motor Error, and no one gets their fur ruffled about that. I guess that makes sense. But, but, but. Isolated, repeated Motor Error alarms, to quote one of my unnamed informants, “In my experience typically indicate a ‘sick’ pump.”

Pump number one suffered, as I recall—although I confess this is all beginning to run together in my head at this point—three isolated motor errors. The other ten errors were mixed events: Motor Errors and No Delivery alarms together. Pump two suffered four separate isolated motor errors. One per day on each day I had her.

It’s pretty clear looking back on it that Pump one was one sick puppy. And while Pump two wasn’t dead yet, hospice was on speed dial.

Now pump three has, at worst, a heart murmur. Nothing to get too upset about… yet. The two alarms on set up where No Delivery alarms that I got squared away by fooling around with the infusion set. I think I ended up advancing the reservoir plunger manually to get it moving, and then the pump took over from there. Or maybe I didn’t have the reservoir in just right. Or maybe something got stuck, being first time out of the gate and all.

It’s that isolated Motor Error the other afternoon that’s making me jumpy. Talk about twice burned, thrice shy. Yikers!

But no alarms today. (Whew!) How many alarm-free days will it take to relax? Hmmmmm….. it’s probably directly proportional to your wine consumption. Speaking of which…. where did Rio put my cork screw this time?


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