Getting the darn pump to work

Hi all,
I am 29 and have had type 1 for a year. I got a pump 2 months ago and everything was going OK, but it all of a sudden stopped working (insulin works when injected with syringe, no kinks in tube, remove canula and insulin still comes out, changed sites 5 times…??) I’m wondering if other pump users have had similar episodes or have any tips for this type of thing. Anyone test out the pump for a while and switch back to shots? I’m about 2 seconds away from doing so. THANKS!

Hope you don’t throw in the towel yet. Have you tried contacting the support # for the pump? The only time I’ve ever had a problem with mine (the infusion set was defective), I called them (this is Minimed I am talking about) and they were SUPER-fast in getting my situation solved, troubleshooting with me over the phone and helping me get back on track in no time.

In the end, they sent me packaging so I could send back the defective infusion set at no cost to me (for analysis) and they included along with the packaging a free replacement set.

Hope this helps!

For the curious -

I spent a long time on the phone with Minimed today and it seems I may have an insulin absorption problem. Anyone else heard of this or have similar issues? The pump will work for 12-18 hrs and then it seems like I am not getting any basal and I have to double my boluses to get the desired effect. I’m going to take a pump break for a few days and then try a new site.

Is it possible some of the places where u were applying your infusion sets were very close to each other (same side of the abdomen, for instance)?

I find it very hard to believe - I went through about 7 infusion sets in as many days and they were all at least an inch away from each other and on different sides. I just restarted Lantus and am finally out of the clouds. I actually hit 500, which was terrifying. I will try again in a week or so but I just need to have some normalcy for a few days in a row.

WOA. Don’t blame you. 500 is a lot. Best of luck as things get back to normal.

Yuk. I read your chat with Manny below.

That sounds terrible. Have you tried switching from your stomach to your back (less painful there also)?

Maybe you could try a different insertion set. What are you using right now?

I tried pumping for 3 years, but ultimately returned to shots. The bottom line is that pumping can be great for some, but not necessarily everyone. My basal rates were very, very low, and changed very little all day, as a majority of my total daily dosage was bolus-related, but for people who have a larger percentage of their total daily dosage being delivered as basal insulin, then a pump is probably much better for them. I also had lipodystrophy issues every place I wore infusion sets (the insulin manufacturers say it doesn’t happen with synthetic “human” insulin, but they are lying on that, studies in Europe have revealed its far more common than the FDA applications suggest), and found it took a loooong time for my subcutaneous tissue to heal after wearing an infusion set there. Everyone is unique, but don’t feel like you have to continue pumping. I had pretty good control with shots, and found changing sets and priming the tubing to be far more cumbersome than simply replacing a cartridge in an insulin pen. I also hated being tethered to a pump 24/7, especially while sleeping (I tend to roll in my sleep, and found wearing a pump at night pretty uncomfortable). You’ve tried it, and you can always go back!!

Hmmm, I can’t think of where on my back I would put it…not my thickest spot. I get continuous no delivery alarms when I put it in my abdomen, so I always go for the love handle-y areas. Is that what you mean by back? I may try my thighs… Part of the problem may be my refusal to use the “quickserter” spring-loaded torture device that comes with it. I always manually insert. I am just reaching my one year mark of having diabetes at all and have some needle control issues. I tried the sillouette(?) that is made for manual insertion but I did not like it going in at an angle. I have fairly good control with shots, I think. Which brings up a different question I have had for a while - what do you all consider good control? Other than the A1C, of course. When I check the seven day average on my accu-check, I feel like I have good control when it is under 135. What do you all shoot for?

I’m very sorry it doesn’t work for you. I’ve just started on the pump myself, aslo MiniMed. I had a very similar problem in the first days. A solution that worked for me perfectly was the change in the type of the infusion sets. I switched from silhuette ones to the quick sets and the problem just disappeared.
I hope it will work out for you.

hi liz,
what does your doctor have to say about your pump problems? if your pump is saying “no delivery,” then i tend to doubt that it’s an insulin absorption problem. plus, if shots work for you, i feel like that is more evidence that the pump might have a problem. i would say to check your insulin, but if shots work, then i am guessing that is not it.
i am approaching my one year pump anniversary, and i love it, but i have had some problems with infusion sets. (i started with the 9mm quick set, switched to the silhouette and hated it, and now i am using 6mm quick sets and love them.)
i guess i would maybe recommend meeting with a dr or nurse who you could see first-hand.
oh, and to answer your other question-- my control is so spotty that i tend to be okay with anything under 150. i go low constantly, so having really tight control is kind of hard for me.
good luck,

hey Liz,
I had this problem in my 2nd week with the pump. actually spent the night at ER becuase I was so panicking. nothing seemed to be wrong with the pump, tubing, insulin, but the last possibility was the infusion set. I changed from Quick set to Silhoutte and now it is all fine.
I also had the same problem recently but then it was just a muscle tissue problem.
so dont give up, I can hear you because I had felt so frustrated. try different infusion sets
good luck

I can’t say for certain, but I think that using the Quick Sets without using the Quickserter device might be a big issue. I have read that those sets just don’t work (for whatever reason) manually inserted.

I have noticed problems sometimes as well (I use the torture device). What I’ve found is that I have zero problems when the set is placed above navel level. But below navel level (where I admittedly have quite a bit of abdominal fat) I constantly get no delivery, even though when I remove the set I can’t visually see any problems. So now, for better or worse, I rotate only on the upper abdomen but with sites closer together so I can still fit a lot in.

Thanks so much for everyone’s suggestions! I did not like the silhouettes because of the angle, and I am afraid of the quickserter spring loaded thingie. I was using the shorter sets, and am thinking about using the longer ones and manually inserting those. It’s pretty sad how happy I am with the lantus again though… I need to get through two July bridesmaid dress events and then I promised myself I will try the pump again.

Liz – I just started pumping yesterday and , quite frankly, my biggest fear was the putting in the infusion sets. I was amazed by the inset which has the spring-loaded thingie to which you refer. To me, the sound of the spring was the most disconcerting thing. Once I listened to it a while and knew what to expect, the rest was easy. I’d been on a pump many moons ago when you had no option but to manually insert, and I have bad memories of those times. Incidentally, I always had better luck in my hips both absorption- and comfort- wise.

My daughter and I both started pumping in June with the 522. I have not had one problem, but she is having just the same issues as you. At first I assumed her tummy was to skinny and the Cannulas were bending. This happened once. I guess her honeymoon was ending at the exact same time as pump start…we have tripled, (huge for a 6 yr old) her basals and she is finally out of the 300’s. Our first go around with the pump lasted 4weeks…nothing but highs, highs, I had to quit becuase she began to develop ketones and look so tired, worn and ill from battling 300’s. for so long, I hated that damn thing, I wanted to stomp it into a million pieces!! Corrections of .2, .3 would once work, then nothing would work. It all seemed too sparadic. We took off about a week and a half…then she agreed to set the site on her upper butt area. No problems since, except the tripiling of the basals that we are still working on. Our endo says maybe the novolog as a basal is just very different for her rather than a Lantus or Levemir for basal. I dont know, but I understand where you are at. Its is sooooo frustrating! Hang in there, move it around…and the quickset is what my 6yr old uses and it really, really is painless.


Can you make it to the pumper’s group meeting this Saturday in Woburn? Maybe you’ll get some helpful advise there, there’s a LOT of pump experience in that room.

my pump was not working. after 4 years i upped my insulin basels and ratios significantly and it seems to be keeping my blood sugars in control.