A very, very long weekend

Sad to say, our initial week with the pump has been a horror show, with the pump failing to deliver insulin on a daily basis and resulting in either dangerously high blood sugars (three occasions) or dangerously low ones after we overcorrected (twice). The second dangerous low was Saturday, and I barely averted disaster by following my gut instinct to check Eric while he was napping (don’t usually do that) and, upon finding him at 38 (normal range is 100-200) getting juice into him before he was awake enough to fight me over it. He actually started to have a seizure while the juice was taking effect, but by that time I was feeding him chocolate syrup so the seizure was limited to a couple of twitches in one arm and leg before the juice and syrup in combination started to bring him up out of danger. That, my friends, is what’s technically known as “F***ING SCARY”!!! And then Sunday, I tried one last time to get the pump working and wound up taking it off him after the bolus dose I tried to give him didn’t get into his body and his sugars climbed up to 490, with 0.2 ketones. After giving him insulin with a syringe, I called Medtronic and explained to them that after 5 days of following the instructions to the letter and having it fail on me every single time, I wanted them to help me figure out what the f*** was going on.

The guy at Medtronic walked me through a high pressure test, which showed us that there were no leaks in the pump itself but upon examining the reservoir, we found not only bubbles, but signs that the insulin was leaking down alongside the o-ring that separates the plunger from the reservoir. Since all of the reservoirs we have are from the same lot number, Medtronic is sending me new reservoirs from a different lot to see if the reservoir is the problem. Given that the air seems to be getting into the system very slowly, over the course of 8-12 hours, it looks like the problem is related to bad seals in the reservoirs. However, the Medtronic guy did say that it might be a good idea, once we have the new reservoirs, to do another session on how to prepare the pump for use just to make sure we’re not doing anything wrong (he didn’t think we were, after I did a step-by-step practice run over the phone). My new reservoirs won’t arrive till Wednesday evening, so we can either put the pump back on him during our appointment using one of your reservoirs, or we can simply do a training session and I’ll use one of the new reservoirs to put the pump back on that night. One way or another, though, I want to get that pump back on him.

So we’re going to try to start him on the pump again on Wednesday morning, with our diabetes educator’s help to make sure we’re not somehow screwing the procedure up… although I highly doubt it’s us. Meanwhile Mark is succumbing to pneumonia again purely from the stress. BUT, the times that the pump worked, it worked incredibly well, so it’s worth persevering.

Yes, it can be problematic getting started on a pump, especially with a youngster like yours. As you’ve seen he can have very volatile bg readings, likely much more than grown ups will. That, of course, is the best reason to persevere.
Does your pump have only 1 “O” ring? My Animas has 2, and I’ve never had a failure like that. Guess it wasn’t caused by cold insulin anyway. What I don’t quite understand is how it can be leaking insulin OUT and air IN. In my experience pressure would push 1 way or the other (air out or insulin in). Oh well.
FWIW it seems you may be giving him too much insulin, and getting a wildly bouncing bg chart as a result. Was his dose reduced when he started with the pump? Insulin pumps deliver a much more efficient dosage that follows needs more closely without waste, which sometimes creates the wild variations he seems to have. If the dosage wasn’t reduced call his endo and ask why not. Also, what insulin is he using, Humalog or Novolog. Some do well on 1, some on the other, and the only way to be sure is to try both. For instance when my new endo changed me to Novolog from Humalog I started taking about 5 units a day less, and variations were reduced as well.
Generally with insulin the less you can use and get good control the better off you tend to be.

I am so sorry to hear you have had such a bad experience. The chances of getting bad supplies are pretty small so it stinks that you had to deal with this on your little guy! I am so glad that you are not ready to completely give up on the pump, it really will be a blessing soon. You will have so much more flexibility when it is working correctly and you have mastered it.

Wow…I’m sorry to hear you had such a rough start. Keep at it though. My two and a half year old has been on it for two weeks now and the improvments we have seen have been worth the 10 -12 finger pokes a day and the late night checks. He was sick last week and we were able to keep his number in line and use finger tip control as soon as he went high, which was a real weight off my shoulders as I’m sure you can relate. I hope you have more success the next time. Good luck!!! http://aydensmom.wordpress.com/

Scary! I hope your replacement works out. Seems like a worst case scenario - bad supplies and a little one = Not Good At All!! Sending good vibes your way!

one thing you can do is fill the pump reservoir with sterile water and test pump for several days. i wore one for six days before i went live. Just use sterile water .

rick phillips

Wow. Starting out on a pump should not be a nightmare of an experience. I’ve never had any such issues with my Animas pump or supplies. Hope you get things squared away.

I am really sorry that you had such bad luck. If it was my son or daughter, I would be throwing a lot more of those “F-bombs” around than you did, I can tell you that. LOL! It just shouldn’t be that way upon startup. I am glad that you are going to stay with it. You will find life amazingly easier with the pump. You little man will be happier without all those shots. As Suzanne said, bad supplies should be rare, but sorry you had to go through it. Keep us posted how it is going.

talk about bad luck! I hope the new reservoirs work for you and you start having fabulous pump experiences :slight_smile: Best of luck to you!