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Finally! A Stress-Free Weekend

Jan Chait

June 9, 2009

Legally Blonde isn’t a musical I would have chosen to see, but my almost 16-year-old (yikes!) granddaughter was dying to see it, so off to “Broadway in Chicago” we went. It was delightful! In fact, I’d go to see it again. Alas, it closed Sunday.

The accommodations weren’t bad, either. Because the hotel had given me an accessible room — but not one with an acceptable shower — the last time we stayed there, we got a big bowl of fresh fruit, a handwritten note, a list of musicals that were showing that weekend, and a portable stereo. And a walk-in shower.

My scooter had been sluggish of late and running out of steam long before it was supposed to. However, fresh batteries did the trick and had me going, and going, and going…

Even my insulin pump and continuous glucose monitor (CGM) behaved themselves.

It isn’t always easy being a Borg (basically, a human with mechanical parts). Machines do tend to act up now and again. As mine have.

As I was changing the infusion set for my pump last Thursday night, for example, the cap that screws onto the pump where the insulin cartridge goes in failed to go on. No cap, no delivery. An inspection showed that part of the piece the cap screws onto was broken off. I finally managed to jam the cap on and the pump began working again. I called the company and they said they would send out a new pump — which would arrive while I was gone. I did pack some insulin syringes for “just in case,” but Elvis the pump held out.

There was a new pump waiting for me when I got back. My task for today is to program it and switch over.

While it’s working just fine now, my CGM also gave me some problems for a while.

I have a CGM that has a 10-hour warm-up period, meaning that it takes 10 hours after a sensor is inserted before it asks for a calibration — and for any numbers to begin showing up.

There was a little problem with the transmitter detaching itself from the sensor. At least once, it did so nine hours into the warm-up period. I cannot repeat in a family forum what I had to say about getting one hour away from calibration and then having to wait another 10 hours.

It was especially frustrating when I had surgery to repair my Achilles tendon. I was looking forward to seeing what happened with my glucose while I was in surgery. Alas, the transmitter fell off.

Clearly, I needed a new transmitter: One that would actually stay where it was supposed to. And the company agreed that a new transmitter was in order. Just as soon as they got their order of transmitters in. Whenever that would be. While I assume the lack of inventory had to do with a situation involving possible cracks in the device, the company spokesman would say only that there were currently transmitters available for the device and that previous customer orders for the transmitter had been satisfied.

And I did get mine. It stays where it’s supposed to, so I’m a happy camper.

The next time I had surgery, I got to take my CGM in with me. It was kind of neat being able to see what happened with my glucose while I was under the influence of anesthesia. In fact, it was even better than being able to see what my glucose does while I’m asleep at night (or during a nap).

I was afraid for a moment that it was now beginning to glitch on the numbers, when mine began to go up and up and up this morning, despite my giving myself insulin to bring the high glucose back down to normal. I recall one time watching my numbers drop quickly, pop back up, drop again, etc. It looked like a waterfall on the graph.

Alas, this morning’s glitch can best be described as user error: My insulin infusion set had come out. I put a new one in, did a correction bolus — again — and my glucose is coming down nicely.

But I think the thing that should be remembered here is not that machines can malfunction. It’s that, when our diabetes equipment fails, the companies have somebody to help us troubleshoot no matter when we call. If a replacement is needed, the companies get those to us as quickly as they can.

It isn’t a good as having body parts that function properly, but it’s the next best thing.



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