In Pump Failure, And In Health

Some of the most common advice about wedding planning is that while you can try to plan out every detail, it is nearly inevitable that something will still go wrong. A and I heard this from many people as we planned our wedding, which took place in June of 2009. A lot of times, however, you don’t realize how good the advice you’re getting is until it becomes reality.

I’ve mentioned before that our wedding day had a couple of minor catastrophes. I’m not talking about flowers being the wrong color or reception food being cold. I’m not talking about hung-over groomsmen or rainy weather. No, when I have a catastrophe, I go big – I’m talking about our photographer not showing up, and my insulin pump dying.

My wedding day preceded my involvement (or even awareness of) the DOC. I didn’t know that other ladies had pockets built into their wedding dresses for their insulin pumps – so I did on my wedding day what I did every other day; which was to hide it under my clothing via undergarments. More specifically, my Deltec Cozmo pump was between my Spanx and I, and both of us were all wrapped up in layers of satin and tulle.

In retrospect, I can see the trouble brewing. At the time, I thought nothing of it. It’s a waterproof pump! I've had it for four years with no problems! It’ll be fine!

And, fine it was, until A and I were in the vehicle that transported us from ceremony to reception. We were sitting in the back seat, being excited and nervous (and hungry), when all of a sudden my pump starts incessantly vibrating.

Spanx + wedding dress + sitting down in a car = a pump that’s REALLY HARD TO GET TO.

Upon retrieving it, I noticed that the screen had a bunch of gibberish on it, and that none of the buttons were responding. It kept vibrating, then beeping… and I couldn’t do anything to stop it. Nor did I know if it was delivering any – or way too much – insulin. I had to disconnect and take out the battery.

And that's when the tears came. Why now, Mr. Pump? Of all days in my life, why did you die today? And not only today, but two days before I'm leaving the country on my honeymoon trip?

In addition, Deltec/Smiths Medical (the manufacturer of my insulin pump) had announced a couple of months prior that they'd decided to discontinue the Cozmo and leave the diabetes supply market. In my mind, I was imagining horrid scenarios where I'd try to call the customer service 800 number, and that pre-recorded robot lady would tell me "This number is no longer in service".

I was also imagining horrid scenarios where I wouldn't get to eat my own wedding cake.

Thankfully, for the first time in my insulin-pumping life, I had asked my internist at my last appointment for some back-up supplies. It never occurred to me that a pump failure could happen on the actual wedding day - I was thinking about the overseas trip. My brother once again stepped up to the plate by quickly driving to my house, getting the specified supplies out of my fridge, and bringing them to the reception for me.

After the reception, I got on the phone with Smiths Medical. Let me just say, they were wonderful. I explained the whole story. About how it was my wedding day, and my pump had up and died with no prior warning. About how I was flying overseas within 48 hours. And you know what? They had a new (well, refurbished, but a working) insulin pump at my door within 12 hours of my phone call. Awesome.

That very same wedding advice can (and always should have been) applied to my diabetes life, as well. You can plan and plan, but things can still go wrong. The best robot parts can still malfunction, and they can have spectacularly bad timing. Having back-ups of everything helps to make those small bumps in the road seem a bit less like mountains.

And that cake? It was delicious.


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Oh those pumps pick the WORST times don’t they? My daughter was giving me my 1at grandchild 4 years ago. Whlie wating in the “Family Room” (Well that’s what they called it in that hospital) my pump went totally out. Had to stop EVERYTHING (for me anyway my g-daughter was bornwhile my husband had drove all the way across town to get my supplies and batteries) and get my stuff. I thought “Please not now” but I lost that battle. Oh well! I got a g-daughter that day and was trying to get my pump together too. Now I laugh about it but not then! LOL!