Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Good Bye Old Friend: Death of An Insulin Pump

Goodbye old friend - And thank you! 
On Saturday, December 29th at 7pm, during the appetizers and right before the main course, my insulin pump (which was no longer under warranty,) died. 
Granted, I knew this day would come, and like ostrich who sticks its head in the sand instead of confronting the inevitable, it was a reality I never wanted to think about  - especially since I was forced to change insurance companies a few years back and have been dealing with THIS insurance mess since August. 
As much as I wanted a new insulin pump, the thought of jumping through hoops with my insurance company in order to get one was something I just didn’t want to deal with. 
This wasn't the insurance I had when I got the pump - And I knew that getting a new pump approved would require mountains of paperwork and months of logged blood sugars. 
So I put it on the back burner refused to think about it - Until My friend Michelle had a Girls Night dinner on the last Saturday of 2012.
My minimed 512 had been good and trusted friend and teammate who had been with me through breakups, moves, weddings, deaths and everything in between.

Cut to last Saturday night in Michelle’s kitchen and me noshing on some cheese and crackers and  taking one glorious sip of the super-delicious limey cosmopolitan that had just been handed to me. 
Michelle was 15 minutes from putting lasagna on the table so I decided to pre-bolus. 
I’d taken my blood sugar before I left the house (I was 141) and had already bolused for the cheese and crackers and had just up my basal rate temporarily.  I guesstimated the carbs for a  very small piece of lasagna (45 grams,) and was bolusing for it, except the carb number passed 45 and just kept going and going and going like the numbers on a stop watch. 
And then the the words “Button Error” flashed up on the screen and wouldn’t leave.
By that time I had already unplugged & googled “Button Error,” on Michelle’s computer. 
I tried resetting the pump with no luck. I took the battery out and that put it back in a few minutes later - and it was still stuck. And would stay that way for another 3 hours.
My insulin pump was pretty much toast . My pump had served me well to the very end and had completed the circle of it's insulin pump’s life. 
I couldn’t cry, because I needed to find a 24 hour pharmacy because the 3 near me were closed thanks to Sandy. Also, I’d thrown out my emergency Lantus my Endo in the summer right after Hurricane Sandy. Once I found a 24 hour CVS  -10 miles away. I called my Dr’s office and the Dr. on call called in my RX, and then called me right back and together figured out the amount of Lantus I needed to take. 
I hadn’t taken Lantus in over ten years so I had no idea how much to take and an hour later I was at the 24-Hour CVS picking  up my order of Lantus pens, which cost me $116.50 bucks!  Did I mention my insurance sucks?
Somewhere in between all of the above, I’d updated my pump’s death on my FaceBook status and was overwhelmed by the response of loner pumps from the Diabetes On-Line Community - YOU GUYS ARE AMAZING, GENEROUS, AND I DON’T KNOW WHAT I’D DO WITH OUT YOU!
SO. I spent a week shooting up Lantus nightly and short acting insulin whenever I ate or needed a blood sugar correction - And I was once again reminded that I wasn’t a fan of multiple daily injections! 
The Lantus did it's job, but I was injecting short acting insulin a lot - Sometimes 7 times a day - And my stomach was various shades of purple from all the bruising. 
I missed my temporary basal rate something awful, especially since I’ve been fighting a nasty cold and cough all week!
I missed figuring out my carbs/ amount of insulin to cover said carbs in under 2 seconds flat. 
And I missed the accuracy that an insulin pump gives the person wearing it. 

But not having anything attached to me body?? I gotta be honest, that part wasn't bad.  
Still, it was so weird not wearing my insulin pump!  It was like my pump was a phantom limb  and while I wasn’t wearing it on my person, I would constantly reach for it on my hip whenever I took my blood sugar out of shear habit... And security. 
And that first night on Lantus while I was getting ready to go to bed and going over the events of the evening while changing, I suddenly thought midway through taking off my jeans: Ohmygodmyinfusionsitesgoingtoripout  & immediately lost my balance and fell onto my bed with one leg still in my jeans!
YEP, I did that. Still - Even with my lack of physical grace - and I’m getting very personal here - That last Saturday night of 2012 was the first night I'd slept in my birthday suit in over 10 years! 
But birthday suit or not, I'm getting a new insulin pump because shots aren’t for me, and the past 10 days has reminded me of that fact. 
So, where do I go from here? Lucky for me I have a couple loner pumps, giving me the time to figure out the clusterF*c$ that is my insurance. 
I want to take this time to not only figure out my insurance, but to research what’s out there re: pumps -  and the loners are giving me the opportunity to do both!  
So stay tuned and I’ll keep you guys posted! 


Bill Woods said...

RIP MM Pump! May you link up with your old pump buddies.

When I had to go on shots due to a faulty pump... the TEMP rate was the deal breaker for me to go back on to my pump/

Araby62 (a.k.a. Kathy) said...

I'm still dancing around the idea of a pump, when I did a saline trial of the OmniPod I was surprised at how comfortable the idea settled in my mind. MDI is all I've ever known.

No advice, just condolences and wishing you luck!

Amanda E said...

Kelly Its funny that all this is mentioned today . Yesterday I got a no delivery alarm followed by a motor error alarm upon changing all the parts that need to be changed in such an alarm upon calling medtronic and doing all the checks it was determined that my pump was not working so they sent me a new pump can i tell you I received the new pump in 70 minutes (very impressed) since I live a distance from medtronic In the Toronto area. so it was a one shot deal lol literally !

Katie said...

I'm seriously considering the OmniPod now that they've come out with their smaller version. However, I'm hearing it won't be available until 2Q13, and I'm sure you don't want to wait that long to start up again. I used a traditional pump in 2002-2003 and could never get used to being attached. So, I've been on MDI the rest of the time and am keeping my fingers crossed that OmniPod just might be the perfect option for me! Good luck.

Carey said...

Good luck Kelly. We'd be pretty lost if we suddenly had to switch back to MDI.

Misty said...

Best wishes on whichever pump you choose. My son really likes the Omnipod. The smaller pods with the new PDM have been approved by the FDA and will be shipping out in late Feb./early March. (We were told.)Thanks again for blogging and sharing your story!!

Celine said...

I sleep in my birthday suit every night - my pump tucked in snugly beside me. No way I was going back to pjs when I switched to the pump!

Hopefully things sort out pretty quickly for you and without too much aggravation.

Kelly said...

Oh no! I LOVE my MM Pump! Sorry to hear yours died, it really is strangely a sad moment isn't it? Same happened with mine awhile back and I was a mess and unprepared too! Ugh. xmas eve I started the Omnipod thinking going tubeless would be great and mainly that financially the Pod is least expensive for current pump users...I pretty much hate this thing! Sooooo many more buttons to push, no IOB for boluses and the smaller pod doesn't come out till march. All these things I even considered before switching, but I just didn't think they would matter all that much...come to find out they sure do! Bummer :( I hope you have better luck finding your best fit for a new plastic pancreas!