When Good Insulin Pumps Go Bad (Part 1)

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In May I blogged about the Smiths Medical Deltec Cozmo insulin pump recall. OK, it wasn’t a mandatory send-it-back-or-else recall. I mean, my insulin pump wasn’t going to malfunction and send me into a hypoglycemic episode or anything like that. However, as you know if you read that blog post, I opted to get the replacement pump.

As I tried to convey in that entry, my ignorance — remaining in the dark about the potential error — would have been just fine with me. Obviously Smiths Medical was right to inform me of the software error, but doing so and giving me the choice to keep the old pump or replace it with a nonmalfunctioning one? Well, when I found out that my pump was potentially faulty, it left me no choice.

For nearly three months, life with my replacement Deltec Cozmo insulin pump went smoothly. It was nice to have a pump that no longer had a crack on its screen. And while it may not be a big deal, it was also nice to have a pump that delivered the insulin more quietly than my old pump. The noise was almost imperceptably quieter — it’s an almost silent delivery to begin with — but I did perceive it, and I appreciated it.

For nearly three months, as I said, life with my replacement Deltec Cozmo insulin pump went smoothly. Then, last weekend, some strangeness in the pump started happening.

On Friday night I got into bed with the insulin pump in the pocket of my shorts. Now for those of you with insulin pumps, I don’t know where you keep yours at night — whether it rests next to you, in a waistband, in a shirt pocket, on the pillow. For me, I’ve tried many things, and I found that having some comfy shorts with a zippered pocket in which I can secure the pump for the night works best. This way I don’t wake up with the surgical tubing wrapped around my leg or the pump beneath me on my back when I roll over. A couple of times a week, when my zippered-pocket shorts are in the laundry, I wear regular shorts, and it never fails that the pump falls out of the pocket and ends up somewhere it shouldn’t be.

But when I got into bed Friday, I had it secured. I settled in, turned out the light, rolled onto my side, and settled in for sleep. That’s when I felt the vague buzz of the insulin pump. Now normally, if I snack before bed and forget to check my blood glucose, the pump will remind me with eight short quick buzzes. But this was not that. This buzz — and for those of you with Deltec Cozmo pumps in particular, you’ll know of what I speak — this buzz was the short, very quick two-report buzz that you hear upon starting the pump. Say, for instance, after a battery change.


Why did it do that?

I pulled the pump from my shorts, and sure enough it was at the startup screen and going through the motions. Why it did this I don’t know. I checked the CoZmonitor attachment (the little blood glucose reader attachment that piggybacks on the pump). It was pressed snugly. I checked the battery cap, which is often a culprit. It, too, was firmly in place. The reservoir cap? Tight. Was there anywhere else on the pump that might have caused this to happen? No, not that I could think of. I hadn’t banged the pump against anything, put any undue strain or stress on it. So what was this?

I was tired. I fell asleep. And forgot about it on Saturday.

Saturday night it happened again…

Tune in next week for the second installment of Eric’s good-insulin-pump-gone-bad tale.

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