The Second Same Insulin Pump Replacement

In a couple of hours I am going to be replacing my current insulin pump, a Smiths Medical Deltec Cozmo. Unfortunately it’s not a switch to a different brand of insulin pump, which I get to do next July at the end of my current four-year term when I’m eligible through my insurance plan to acquire a new pump. At that point, in July of 2011, I hope to move on to the Animas OneTouch Ping. Today, however, it’s a simple swapping-out of my green Cozmo pump with a replacement green Cozmo pump, the third such Cozmo pump I’ve owned in the last three-and-a-half years.


The large box containing the tiny, tiny pump arrived via UPS at my office yesterday afternoon. Getting mail like this, even when I know what it is and that it’s just not that exciting, is still exciting — for me it’s hard to beat the package-opening feeling, regardless of the package contents. However, it was after four when it showed up, so I didn’t immediately switch out the old pump.

When I got home last night, I’d planned on putting the new pump into use right away. Then I second-guessed myself and decided it would be best to do it in the morning, in case the new pump malfunctions, or in case I misprogram something (basal rates, carb ratio, etc.). In this way, I will be awake for the next twelve hours to detect anything if anything goes wrong — rather than have a potentially dangerous pump mishap while I’m asleep. Isn’t that some smart thinking!

All of this may lead you to wonder why I’m switching insulin pumps less than a year before getting a brand new one? Yes? Well, two reasons. The first is that the battery compartment on my current pump has a crack at its top. Right at the ridge where the cap screws down to seal it watertight and to activate the pump, a small fissure developed a couple of months ago. Three days ago I noticed it had grown to almost two centimeters. Although I don’t wear my pump swimming or in the bath or shower, it is exposed to moisture if I’m caught in the rain, or if I have it on while working out, things of that sort.

The second reason is that my CoZmonitor — the blood glucose meter that piggybacks on the pump — has been malfunctioning lately. For the past month or so I’ve been getting “CoZmonitor Error” almost half the time I try to check my blood glucose. I have enough test strips; that’s not my main concern. The annoying problem with the error reading is that it happens after I’ve put in the test strip and after I’ve stuck my finger to draw blood for the reading. Thus I have to wipe off the drop of blood, clear the error message, try another strip, restick my finger, and hope it works the next time. And if it doesn’t? More choice epithets lobbed the monitor and pump’s way.

Yes, I’ve tried all of the remedies for the error message. A new battery in the glucose monitor? Fail. Taking the monitor off and cleaning all the connection points? Fail. Trying new test strips from a different shipment? Fail. Recoding the strips in the insulin pump itself? Fail. Everything the consumer — me — can possibly do? Fail.

When I called Smiths Medical on Monday and explained my issues, they were incredibly helpful. We looked at the error codes for the test strips in the pump and determined it was an internal calibration issue, and because the pump has the cracked battery housing, they wanted to replace that. Two days later (yesterday afternoon): new insulin pump!

I’ll let you know how it goes.

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  • Jenny

    Hi Eric,
    I enjoy reading your blog. I am curious to hear why you are so eager to switch to the Animas ping once you are eligible? Sorry to hear that you have to wait to switch bc of insurance.

  • michael the smart pump obsessive

    Be prepared to give a lot up moving to the Ping. It is not a smart pump in the way that the cozmo is, in terms of taking away a lot of the mental labor of pumping, like site reminders, bg test reminders, and time remaining with IOB. I pumped cozmo for four years and curse the Ping every day i pump with it (i frequently run my out-of-warranty cozmo). The ping of 2011 is far behind the cozmo of 2006 for the serious pumper.

    One thing I do like about the ping is the information provided on the “bolus total” screen, which includes insulin for carbs, insuling compensation for current BG, IOB, and total bolus.

    The display is atrocious however, and the color display is misleading, because the colors are not used to highlight or express information beyond what a monochrome display could.

    Here is a partial list of the shortcomings i find with the ping (mostly compared to the cozmo)

    -Poor user interface including menu design, information design and display (too difficult to find most-needed info like current basal rate, IOB, Insulin time left on board, last bolus time and amount, basal rate name; poor use of buttons for navigation and two buttons i never use; poor resolution on battery life of 0-1/3-2/3-100; )
    – battery removal behavior (requires full rewind and prime at disconnect)
    – limited alarming/reminders (no site change reminders, no reminders after high/low BG, no missed bolus alarms)
    – no saved temp boluses
    – need to manually scroll up from zero units for every bolus (thanks for wasting my time!)
    -lack of disconnect calculation
    -ridiculously overpriced replacement clip (20+ shipping)
    -poor battery cap design (plastic battery cap that strips threads if too tight, and costs $12.00 to replace; smiths never charged me for one)
    -incomplete pump history (lack of battery events, e.g.) and inability to see all historical events in sequence in one place
    -no carb amount or calculation history in pump (only stored if bolus delivered via meter)
    -belt clip scratches leather belts
    -always-lit design provides poor visibility in bright light and poor battery life
    -lack of basal insulin reserve
    -deliverable cartridge capacity is less than 180 units
    -home screens don’t display actual rate when temp rate in use (only percentage plus or minus, of a scheduled rate that is not displayed either)
    -time display units are decimal hours rather than minutes (is my temp rate done in one minute or five!?!?!)
    -time adjust units (temp rate length, e.g.) are half-hour instead of 5- or 15-minute
    -no high-BG additive factor (e.g., +40% over 300, +50% over 400)
    -no calculation of carbs required after low bg
    -remote meter can only bolus (no basal control or other pump configuration
    i could go on…