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Awkwardly avoiding awkwardness

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My office building is home to probably nine or ten different companies. The cafe on the first floor serves all of them. I had just started my dual-wave bolus and placed the order for my lunch when I felt the unexpected and repeated vibration coming from my hip.

Bvvt. Bvvt. Bvvt. Bvvt…. (I’m not sure how many times, but it was a lot. Also, is that how you spell the sounds of a vibrating insulin pump?)

MotorError_Jan2013When I checked the pump to see what was up, it  turned out to be a Motor Error. It was the first one in a year, I think — I certainly haven’t been plagued with them as I was at an earlier time. Having been through these in the past, I didn’t panic. But I did have a bunch of thoughts go through my mind.

  • Did I bump it or go near any strong magnetic fields lately? (No.)
  • Do I have time to run to the restroom and restart the pump before my food is ready? (No).
  • Could I possibly remember all the variables I just so meticulously calculated into my dual-wave bolus, and then factor in what’s been delivered already, so that I can do it again? (No.)
  • Are the insulin gods conspiring against me in retaliation for filling a medical device with an alcoholic beverage this weekend? (Possibly.)

My thought-process was then interrupted by a voice coming from my right, asking a person behind the counter if he could see the package of whole-wheat wraps. He wanted to check the carb-counts.

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De-mystifying the motor errors

Before Diabetes Blog Week started, you may recall that I was whining a bit about insulin pump motor errors.

Well, I don’t know what caused them – and Medtronic has certainly been willing to work with me so I don’t end up in a potentially troublesome situation (i.e. like Swampy, but asking “Where’s my Insulin?”), but I’ve decided to make a few changes on my own, just in case. But first…

Every time I’ve had a problem with my Revel, I wax nostalgia about my old Medtronic 515 which worked for years without even a hiccup. What’s different about that pump and this one? Well, first of all, the older one had much less precision with insulin delivery. I don’t know the numbers off the top of my head, but the old one only gave me the choice of one digit beyond the decimal point, while the newer one gives me a choice of at least two. That’s a tenfold increase in precision right there if you’re talking bolus.  But if you’re in the basal-domain, take the hourly basal and divide it by sixty minutes (or however often the pump delivers pieces of basal) and you’ve got some really tight tolerances.

Maybe those tighter tolerances mean a better ability to detect when the pump falls out of those tolerances? Though the official definition of a Motor Error is vague and circular at best,  The best definition I’ve heard of a motor error is that it occurs when the piston doesn’t line up where it’s expected. It makes sense to me, so I’m sticking with it.
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A heightened state of alert

Stop me if you’ve heard this one…


It happened in the middle of today’s breakfast bolus delivery.

Ordinarily, I wouldn’t really care. I’ve been through tons of these before and they turned out uneventful (though this is the first one with THIS pump; I thought maybe Epsilon was a winner). I called Medtronic and went through the normal battery of tests, and everything turned out fine.

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Meet my new pump, Epsilon

This is my new insulin pump.  Her name is Epsilon, and I haven’t even taken her out of the box yet.  Her parts have been reincarnated refurbished from an earlier life as an insulin pump. I have no idea what that life was like or what led to her premature demise.

She’s here because my previous pump, Delta, experienced Motor Errors on the past two consecutive Sundays.  Delta, herself, is a factory-refurbished model.  She was hired as a fill-in pancreas in July, after Gamma decided she didn’t want the job anymore.

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Wordless Wednesday: Why my hair keeps falling out

DATELINE-  Sunday August 26, 2012.

I swear this isn’t a re-post of this or this.  Different day, different pump.