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!).

Saturday, April 07, 2012


Dateline: 1335 hours (that’s 1:35 9.m.) today:
Motor Error.

Four days. Four alarms. This does not look good for the home team. I jumped from the plane and pulled the rip cord.

I took off the clip.

I dialed the number on the back of the pump.

I was told that if this was a medical emergency I should hang up and dial 9-1-1.

If I called 911 about this medical emergency, the operator would laugh her ass off.

I worked my way through the press this number, press that number robotic menus and shortly had an almost too cheerful young lady on my hands (metaphorically). I gave her a run-down of what was going on, how many errors I had gotten, and that I had promised the HelpLine girl last time that I’d call right way if trouble continued to access if I had the right kind of infusion sets.

I think I already told you that I didn’t think too much of the infusion set theory. It flew in the face of everything I thought I knew about infusion sets. Which is quite a lot. But with a second brand new pump giving me the same trouble the first brand new pump had, I was beginning to doubt myself.

Thankfully, my new Helper was scornful of the infusion set theory and expressed her opinion that Motor Error messages were rarely caused by infusion set issues; but rather generally by things further up-stream. Either the push-rod motor, an issue with the reservoir, or the connector between the reservoir and the tubing. She didn’t beat around the bush: hey, four errors in four days, we are so replacing this pump, too.

Actually, later in the day, I got an email from my local Med-T rep. I had fired off a question to him about the infusion set issue, as he actually knows what I look like, having seen me a time or two. His response was: “Your body type is perfectly appropriate for 6mm, 90 degree cannula. Very lean bodies need the Silhouettes simply because there is little-to-no subcutaneous tissue. Very lean could be described as perhaps a lean teen, or endurance athlete. Unfortunately, us middle-aged guys have a few pounds to spare…”

But back to my HelpLine mate. She still had some protocols to follow. Did I make out with a nurse in an MRI Scanner recently? No. Well, not in an MRI, anyway. Did I drop the pump? When? When I took it out of the next-day air box? And so on and so forth, including the mandatory, “by the way, what was your last blood sugar?” question that seems to be part of the HelpLine script. Of course, I had no frickin’ idea.

I did tell her that like last time, the box arrived intact, but that I always suspected the Brown Truck guys here in New Mexico of being brutes. I don’t know what it is. Maybe because they have such long distances to drive in our wide-open spaces, to get from delivery to delivery, but my 25 years in the state are littered with damaged mail order goods and customer service reps in India telling me how funny that is, as they never have any trouble getting their merchandise to other parts of the world intact.

My Helper told me that she personally suspects that much of the trouble she sees is from shipping brutes. Ummmm…. OK, I might have paraphrased her a little bit there.

Next we did the empty reservoir test. Did I tell you about that last time? You put an empty in, go through all the steps to fill, and when the push rod gets all the way forward and the “0.00 Units” message flashes, you let go, and then go check the Status screen to see if the pump knows there’s no insulin.

Of course, when the pump detected nary a drop nor a drip of insulin, it set off an alarm. Then it phoned myAssistant. Who said:


My Helper laughed, “Was that a Sentry I just heard in the background?”

We went through the whole required routine that is now becoming routine for me. Fourteen days to return, yada yada, or thirty-six-hundred bucks, yada yada, you’ll have it tomorrow.

And she asked me what my plan was. Yeah, I’m just going to leave the damn thing on, and if it kicks the bucket once and for all in the middle of the night Sentry will wake me up and I’ll deal with it then.

I got no argument. So some of you might regard three pumps in three weeks as tragic. For me, it borders on comical. I gotta admire the customer service, actually. My Helper told me today not to worry, that they’d keep sending pumps indefinitely until they got me one that works. I’m sure that was meant to be re-assuring…




Blogger Sara said...

Okay, so it might not be the infusion set, but have you considered trying other designs?

After many problems with the Quick-set I switched to the Sure-T. Since the steel cannula can't kink it does take a step out of the problem solving process of a high blood sugar or a pump alarm.

3:26 PM  

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