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, May 05, 2012

Thoughts and theories


There’s not been much news coming out of Medtronic these past few days, but that doesn’t mean a waking hour passes that I don’t wonder about, and worry about, the frickin’ Motor Errors. What caused the plague of errors? Will they return again?

But Pump the Fifth has been running like a champ. No issues of any kind.

It’s working so normally that it’s almost scary.

Of course, if Med-T can’t figure this out, what chance do I have? Medtronic employs 38,000 people. Over the last week, I’ve talked to 37,998 of them. (The other two were on vacation.)

Still, the odds of so many pumps failing truly boggles the mind; and even if they had a bad “batch” of pumps, that doesn’t explain the re-built one also throwing out Motor Errors. So I keep coming around to one thought: what do they all have in common?

Well, me, of course. Or as Scott E. called me on his blog recently, Wil “Motor Error” Dubois. Thanks for the new nick-name, Scott. And while I’m not so arrogant as to rule myself out as the cause of all of this, it’s not my favorite theory. Not only do I think I know what I’m doing, but I’ve double checked myself. Triple checked myself. Quadruple checked myself. I’ve re-read the manuals, talked to Agent 99, and even checked in with my local trainer and my local rep. Everyone seems to agree that I’m using the gear right, doing the set changes right, and that this is the weirdest fucking thing they’ve ever heard of. Ever.

And to my face anyway, they all re-assure me that they don’t think I’m doing anything wrong. So if I’m in the clear (assuming I don’t have some sort of weird personal bio-electrical field that destroys pumps), then what’s left?

One thing.

Well, one thing that I can think of, anyway.

All of the Motor Errors, on all four pumps, happened on one lot of reservoirs and one lot of infusion sets. When I finally got another batch, over the last few days of Pump Four, and over the whole run (so far) of Pump the Fifth, I’ve had no trouble.

Not exactly QED-worthy—but one has to wonder. But that also begs the question, if this, all of this, ends up being about consumables rather than gear, why did it take so long for Med-T to send some more supplies instead of raining new (and used) pumps down on my head?

And the answer to that question is pretty simple: it wasn’t in the playbook. The playbook says multiple Motor Errors are the sign of a sick pump that needs to be replaced right away. Motor Errors are generally caused by stuff wrong with the pump, rather than stuff wrong with the consumables. I’m sure going forward, all new Motor Error replacement pumps will ship with a few new reservoirs and sets. Just for in case.

The problem is, bad reservoirs would, or should, as I understand it, trigger “no delivery” alarms rather than Motor Error alarms. At least most of the time. And while I’m up to my ears in Motor Errors, I’ve had precious few No Delivery errors. In fact, none since the first pump.

Still, given the evidence at this date, to my mind: I’m really beginning to think it was Mr. Green, in the Library, with the monkey wrench.

And I think the monkey wrench in the works is the reservoirs.

3 Comments:

Blogger Scott E said...

Sorry about that, Wil. The name is in reference to your captivating story and not you, specifically. I hope you don't mind, and am glad to see some semblance of a resolution.

4:51 PM  
Blogger Jamie Naessens said...

Like those little blue clampie thingies, I also had a pump run - having to replace a total of 7(!!!) pumps in one year, some varying issues, but most were communication errors. All were green Pings and all came from the same depot. I finally insisted that they send me a BLUE one from their main facility. Crazy?! Sure. And that blue one has been working ever since. *shrug*

11:01 AM  
OpenID mewithd said...

Hey Wil. Scott E sent me to your blog as I seem to be joining the "Motor Error" club and am definitely part of the "Multiple Medtronic Pumps" club. If you're interested, the latest episode in my story is here: http://mewithd.wordpress.com/2012/09/18/new-pump-take-2/
I wish you many Motor Error free days ahead! :)

7:22 PM  

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