If you use a Medtronic pump, the words “Motor Error” can be quite upsetting. Obscene, actually. So when I woke up on Sunday morning, forgive me if I was taken aback when I saw those words flashed upon my insulin pump. I’d seen those words on a pump screen before in pictures, but never in real life.
So, of course, I did what any diabetes blogger would do. I went into the bathroom (where my wife wouldn’ t start asking questions) and snapped a photo of it. Then I did the whole rewind/prime thing, just to hopefully get the insulin flowing again before venting my frustrations on Twitter:
All kinds of thoughts started running through my head:
- Is this for real, or am I still sleeping?
- Please, oh please, don’t turn into a Wil DuBois experience! (If you don’t follow Wil’s blog, he’s been though five pumps in a very short time, all of which have persistently infuriated him with repeated Motor Errors)
- I really don’t want to switch to Animas. I like my Bolus Wizard, my not-really-integrated CGM, and my predictive alerts. And I’m not ready to trust T-Slim.
- Should I call Medtronic? I know they won’t do anything unless it happens more than once.
- Will it happen more than once?
- I’m supposed to play hockey today!
(That last thought has little to do with the pump, except it was to be the first time in seven years that I’d fully suited up and stepped on the ice, and the first time since pumping. There was a “family hockey” session scheduled at the Montclair State University rink and I was really excited to go out there with my five-year-old son)
There’s actually a little more to the story. I had been awaken by my pump-which-also-functions-as-a-CGM, rudely ordering me to METER BG NOW (Medtronic-speak for “calibrate”). It had been asking me to do this for hours, but this time I heard the call. So I put a microliter of my blood into a test strip, and it spit back a result: 181.
Do I want to calibrate? Yes. BG is too high. Do I want correction bolus? Yes. Then, something happened. I must have been looking for some information on the pump and hit the wrong button, because it went into SUSPEND mode. Quickly, I un-suspended it and checked that correction bolus. It all went through.
Then the Motor Error happened.
In my mind, I’m trying to rationalize what happened. The bolus began, and just as it completed and wanted to go back to delivering basal only, it stopped entirely when I accidentally suspended it. Then it started again. I’m hoping the timing and the start/stop activity is what caused the pump to get confused and give me the error.
In addition to being frustrated, I was still tired (did you notice the time?) so I went back to sleep.
The correction bolus worked. So did my breakfast bolus (too well, actually). Finally, I called Medtronic, if for no other reason than to get it “on-record” in case it happened a second time.
The woman at the other end apologized for the inconvenience and had me answer a bunch of questions and go through a battery of tests. Rewind and prime an empty reservoir filled with air. Run the “self-test” option. Check this, recite that. I think her script was a bit outdated, because Revel did away with the terms “rewind” and “prime” (replacing it with “reservoir setup” and “fill cannula”), but that didn’t bother me. I just wanted to get off the phone and get ready for hockey.
So far, my pump’s been operating normally without incident, even after stuffing it in my hockey pants and heating up to (what seemed like) 150 degrees Fahrenheit, soaked in sweat.
But I do have a new addition to my “emergency kit” (a ratty-old Ziploc bag). Good ol’ Minimed 515, age 6. It’s never failed me yet.