Pump backup?

Interesting. I thought regular insulin was available everywhere without a prescription. In California you can get syringes if you “ prove you are diabetic” so I would just show them my medic alert tag.
That was 6 years ago don’t know what’s changed in the laws since then.
I had a gap in insurance changing jobs so I used regular in my pump for a while.

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The newer "analog"insulins require a prescription everywhere in the US. Humalog, Novolog, Apidra, FIASP, Lyumjev, etc… But the older insulins such as Humulin R, Novolin R, Humulin N (NPH), and Novolin N (NPH) are considered “over the counter” drugs in 49 states. For some reason, Alaska is the only state that requires a script for them, and even that seems questionable/not enforced.

In 2006 at the beginning of a 6-month backpacking trip through Asia, my pump died in Thailand. (I was using a Deltec Cosmo pump, manufactured by Smiths Medical.) I kept the pump in a pocket alongside a little magnetic compass, which I think fried the pump. (The buttons stopped responding completely)

Smith’s Medical was great-- they promptly sent me a replacement via Fedex, but Thai customs held it up. They demanded a $1,400 “medical device import fee” to release it to me. (Fortunately, I had packed a quantity of syringes and Lantus along with my Humalog.)

Despite our (and the company’s) insistence that this was a device for personal use that would be replacing a broken pump that I would return, Thai customs insisted that we pay the fee or they would not release the device.

We did some research and found that Singapore did not levy taxes on imported medical devices for personal use, so we told the rep at Smiths that we’d refuse the shipment and change our plans to go to Singapore to receive the device.

To their credit, the rep at Smith’s Medical agreed to just pay the import fee for us, and we went about our journey without incident.

Thank goodness we thought to bring that supply of Lantus! I’m not sure what we would have done had we not planned ahead.

In a post-script to this story, the only other time I had a complete pump failure was two years ago when we were traveling in New Zealand. No magnetic compass this time-- my Omnipod PDM device just decided to display an error message that completely fried the device. I had no way to control the pods without it.

In comparison to Smith’s Medical, Insulet did absolutely nothing for me. They refused to send me a replacement because I was outside the US. I tried to find a local distributor that could provide me a replacement, but they refused to work with me at all. They only option they offered was to send me a replacement when I returned to the US.

Quite a shocking difference in these two experiences. I’m so sad that Smith’s Medical stopped producing the Deltec Cosmo-- when I needed them, they were there for me and were a real pleasure to work with.

I really wonder how many current pump manufacturers would be willing to go that extra mile for their customers in need?


Type 1 for 56 years, on a Medtronic pump for many years and never worry much about failure. Medtronic can replace within a day or two, and in the meantime I simply check often and give myself mini-doses of Humalog with a standard syringe as need be in between meal boluses.

That sounds easy. Thank you!

I have Novolog and Lantus pens as my emergency pump backup. Novolog is only because FIASP moved off formulary. GLP-1 from when I was misdiagnosed T2, could be dialed between doses. Not with Novolog pen, so will move to syringes marked with half units when pens expire.

I have been pumping since 1990. In that time frame, I have only once lost a pump. I dropped it on a tile floor when on vacation in AZ. We were heading home that day so I called Minimed, they said a pump would be delivered to my house the next morning. So I called my endo and she walked me through using my regular insulin using injections throughout the day. I did it for the day, yes had to get up during the night but it worked. I haven’t had a long acting insulin in my house since I went on a pump.
I started with Lente back in the day and ended with Ultralente before switching to a pump. So would I know how to use the newer basal insulin’s? Probably yes. I think with some website research and a phone call to my endo if I had questions, it would be pretty easy. But I do think if I had a problem, I could still old school it with injections of regular until my replacement pump arrived. But I would imagine, someone could get me a replacement as I live near the Tandem headquarters and a rep could help out. I also have my first Tandem pump in my supply cabinet along with an old Minimed pump (and yes-still have supplies for it. I am a little bit of a hoarder when it comes to diabetes supplies!)

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Thanks Sally! Someone else mentioned that they did that also. I’ll probably do the same. 1/2 unit syringes are on order. Seems wasteful (and expensive) to have a supply of basil insulin on hand “just in case” and probably never use it.

On the other hand, basal insulin in the fridge gives you a better alternative, especially if you suffer an extended situation like a natural disaster. Insulin often arrives well ahead of its expirations date and you likely can use expired insulin that’s one year past its expiration providing good known storage protocols have been followed.

That means getting an Rx from your doctor every second or third year for a basal insulin. A little bit of a hassle but nice insurance. Insurance still provides peace of mind even though you might not use it. Cars still come with small “donut tire” spares but how often have any of us experienced a flat tire?

My doctor gives me a prescription for lantus in case I need it. I’ve never filled it. I’ve never used it. But if I needed to I could go to the pharmacy and get some.
I jumped off MDI when they discontinued ultra lente insulin.
When it first came out I thought it was an incredible godsend.
Funny how our perspectives change.

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Hi Terry. That’s a good point. Thinking of those poor people in Texas. I guess you never know. Seeing my Endo this week & will see what she recommends. Your comment did motivate me to go dig out a spare power cord for my PDM. Just in case. Luckily I never throw away any type of cords! Thanks!