Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Pumps on Pumps on Pumps

Diabetes is constant, incessant, and, at this moment, permanent. But the devices we rely on to make it easier, to give us some semblance of "normal" are not. As Diabetics we are kings and queens of the "backup plan" - always having some way to transfer the elixir of life (insulin) from vial to body.

Chris convinced me to up my original backup plan and order a vacation "loaner" pump just in case something happened while we were in Grenada. After a little prodding I obliged, grumble grumble. My entire Diabetes defense looked something like this:

Plan A: Original insulin pump
Plan B: Vacation loaner pump
Plan C: Fast-acting Insulin pen delivery
Plan D: Syringe delivery

If you count the plethora of extra insulin vials, batteries, infusion sets and reservoirs, and multiple "pens"...you could argue I had many more than just 4 backup plans.

Everything was going well at first. This type of pump is water proof to a certain depth, so while we lounged in the pool I clipped it to my bathing suit near my shoulder to avoid complete submersion. However, about halfway through the vacation (of course at 3:30 am), the pump began rebooting itself periodically as if I was putting in a brand new battery. After about 30 minutes of troubleshooting I determined this pump was a lost cause, and praised my husband for his nagging to get the loaner pump. But its not as easy as slapping on a new pump.

I had to use Plan C for a few hours until I could call in the morning via our friends voice over internet capabilities. I was upset when the nurse told me I could have broke out the loaner pump on my own without calling, even though their paperwork describes a $3,600 fine for doing so. At any rate, I programmed the backup pump, said a prayer of thanksgiving, and finished out the wonderful vacation!

Pumps on pumps on pumps. From left to right: new pump, loaner pump, crapped-out pump. 
After returning to the states I called the pump company to figure what I had to do now that I activated the loaner pump. They said they would send me another new one because their standard pump and loaner pump inventories are not cataloged the same. So there I was with three total pumps, 2 shipping boxes (hopefully I got them in the right ones), and a realization - the double edged sword of Diabetes management tools...we rely on these mindless little boxes of electronics an awful lot and we trust them with our lives.