Monday, April 8, 2013

beep BEEP beep

Conversation that took place yesterday, whilst I was on one end of the house, and the kids were on the other...

Meri: "B.  How much insulin do you have left in your pump?"

B: "Me?  Let me check."

L: "I'll check too."

B: "I have 121 units."

L: "Mom.  I have low reservoir!"

Meri: "How many units do you have left?"

L: "Hmmm.  I can't seem to find any."

Meri: "You know where to look.  Go to the home screen and arrow down."

L: "No.  I'm there.  It just says dot dot dot.  No number."

So he's out of insulin.  Wunderbar.   

He disconnects.  I grab the pump, and a new pump setup is on his body in less than 5 minutes.  (It would have been two, but I had to grab a freshie from the fridge and warm it up a bit first.)

Which begs the question:

"L, didn't you hear the alarm?"


Thinking back, we only ever hear alarms in the car.  That is when everyone is sitting and fairly quiet.  Around the house I rarely, if ever hear alarms.  One would think that having the pump in their pocket would lend itself to hearing such an alarm.  But when you are a 9, or 11 year old boy?  Not so much.

Which begs another question:

Why don't sirens go off when the reservoir is empty?  Shouldn't there be infrared lights strobing around the room and a deafening sharp horn sound emanating from speakers in the pump?  Having no insulin in the body is dangerous, and a little "beep BEEP beep" is supposed to be all the warning we need? I heard a car alarm go off a couple days ago in the Target parking lot.  I looked at my sister in law and said, "There.  THAT is what I want to happen when the pump is out of insulin."

Sure.  Remembering to change sets every three days isn't rocket science.  But when you have three boys, on three different set change schedules, it kinda is.

I call it "my swelly brain" for a reason.

I had the boys all on one schedule a few times.  It lasts a week.  Two at most.  A set loses out to a doorknob, or a slide at the park.  A unexplained high forces me to pull it.  A set sticker is loose and requires a new cannula insertion.  Someone uses more insulin than usual. There are a lot of variables.  Is it a cop out to say when I had one boy on a pump this was all a walk in the park?  (Memory wise anyway.)  Seriously, I used to walk into the endo's office and rattle off numbers from the last two weeks from memory.  I knew every pattern.  Every sensitivity.  Every ratio.  If you asked me what J's carb ratio is today...I couldn't even give you a wild guess.

Now the numbers backstroke throughout my brain causing havoc on everything I need to remember.  In shorthand: My brain is mush.

For a couple months we got in the habit of checking reservoirs after family prayer every night.  Somehow we got out of the habit.

I guess my only excuse is my swelly brain has a hard time finding important bits of information these days.  I hope one day my synapses will start firing again and I'll be able to sort things out better.

I can't blame it on alcohol.  I don't drink.  I can't blame it on drugs.  Surprisingly, I'm not on any. 

I guess I can only blame it on diabetes.  Ok...and maybe I've had a lot on my mind lately.

Lest I start receiving emails on the reality of sirens going off on insulin pumps.  I get it.  That isn't a reasonable option.  I haven't been eating glue.  I totally know.
funny gifs

But there has to be some middle ground.  My son got a "Battery test fail" alarm today.  Trust me...I heard that sucker from the other room.  Isn't an empty reservoir just as important?

Another idea might be having the pump text us regarding an impending low reservoir?  

But if that did happen, would the pump company have to pay residuals to Kim?

I guess we'll just have to file that under one of those things we may never know...along with the long asked question, if I do start eating glue...will the alarms get louder?


  1. Not that it will REALLY help with teenage boys but Medtronic pumps have a super secret extra insulin supply. Once the reservoir is "empty" according to the pump it will continue to deliver about 20 units (tubing?). THEN it will give you the closed black circle beep for NO DELIVERY and you WILL hear that!

  2. Ha!!! I will accept any and all residuals. ;)

    Would you believe that I actually wish my pump DIDN'T alarm when my resevoir was low/empty? I'm in a totally different situation than you all, though.

  3. My son's animus pump alarms without stopping when out of insulin, even if you are sitting in a quiet Shakespeare play, and you can't shut it off. My medtronic does not, although maybe it would according to the comment above.... I always wait until the last unit to change sets which is probably a problem...

  4. Again you have written about a day in my life :o) Thank you Meri for making me feel like I am not alone. I need that little touch of sanity. Today, I am tired oh so tired.

  5. Medtronic pumps pre-Paradigm used to do just that. They would scream. They would beep incessantly like a car alarm until you filled them back up. You could hear it from another room. "No delivery" would read on the screen. It was awful. It was embarrassing. And it alarmed you. When I started on the Paradigm series, I couldn't believe I missed that feature.


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