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Monday, April 30, 2012

Tough Weekend with Arnold

In the 4.5 years that I have been on an insulin pump, I've had very few instances where the pump had a malfunction.  Usually, I can contribute any random highs on operator error.  But this weekend, I had several instances where I was so frustrated with my pump that I want to call my endocrinologist to go back on MDI (haven't yet, but I'm still considering it).  

I guess it all started when I noticed that my most recent box of infusion sets seemed to be made of flimsy plastic because I would have little bits break off when I would insert the cap into the reservoir.  It never caused any trouble with the pump working, so I brushed it off.  But Saturday morning, I woke up to a high BG of 219 mg/dL, which is a far cry from the 100ish average I try to maintain in the last month of my pregnancy.  I got up to confirm the high alarm, and noticed that the tube on my pump was dangling towards the floor and not connected to the site on my thigh.  "Oh, well that explains it."  I reconnected with a new infusion set, and bolused a correction.  

The problem was that I was never able to get back into normal range, despite dialing in correction after correction.  I feel into a heap on the bathroom floor because I was so frustrated.  Even rage bolusing wasn't working.  (And by rage bolusing, I mean 5 extra units "just because".)  I finally come down after 5 hours of being above my preferred line.  The rest of the day went on as normal.  

Then yesterday, I laid down to take a nap (random occurrence for me these days) and when I woke up I started going high like I just ate a cupcake sprinkled with sweet tarts.  But I hadn't eaten anything in 4 hours!  I got up to 297 mg/dL and three failed correction boluses before I finally gave myself an injection, ignoring all of my active insulin.  I finally came back in range 2 hours late to 125 mg/dL without a crash, which should have been inevitable considering I gave double what I needed.  

After 2 calls to Medtronic, we decided that I have a bad box of infusion sets.  So I changed my site for the 3rd time in two days with a new reservoir and infusion set from a different box.  I bolused for dinner after not eating for almost 8 hours and waited to see if my blood sugar would actually come down before I took a bite.  Thirty minutes later, I was cruising towards my low threshold, so I concluded that the new site was working.  

Even today, I'm still not happy with how quickly my insulin takes to work.  Everything with my site change yesterday was new, including a fresh, cold vial of insulin from the fridge.  But so far I've had to give 2 additional corrections following breakfast.  It might be that my insulin:carb ratio needs adjusting (again!), but I still am not happy waiting over an hour for my insulin to bring my blood sugar down.  

I feel absolutely hopeless when this vital technology fails me.  I don't want to go back to MDI, but the time it takes for insulin to kick in is considerably less than waiting on a bolus from the pump.  It may save me from lows, but I'm spending far too much time over 100 mg/dL to justify it.  Even thought my last A1c was fine (5.6%), I don't want to let up in these last 4 weeks of pregnancy.  I want to keep the same steam that I've had the whole time.  And I can't do that when I don't trust the technology that I rely on to keep me there.  

It's the final lap, Arnold.  Do we need to come in for a quick tire change and fuel up before we win this thing? 


  1. Defective equipment that I wasn't even aware of was the final straw for me in getting rid of my Medtronic pump and making the jump to Animus.

    Good luck getting everything back where it should be.

  2. From what I undertand from my pregnant also diabetic friend, insulin just doesn't seem to work period in the last month or two or pregnancy. She told me she used to take 25 units for just a peanut butter sandwich. I doubt it's your pump, I'm betting it's that little nugget in your belly! Just wait it out!


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DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor, nurse, certified diabetes educator (CDE) or any medical professional of any kind. (But I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express!) Therefore, please do not use any of my postings as medical fact. I am simply a blogger expressing my highs and lows (pun intended) with diabetes. For changes in your medication, exercise regiment, or diet please consult a qualified physician.

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My name is Holly and I live in north Alabama with my hubby, two cats, and a dog.