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From Abby: Casually Defective.

It's not just our pancreases that are busted at times - there are often moments of diabetes techno-burps that leave us scratching our heads.  Abby recently had a "WT ...H" moment with her insulin pump.  And she also experimented with word smashing; you'll see. 

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Abby Bayer, who is moving today, so wish her good luck as she shuttles all her crap to New England.  :)Since I got home from camp, my lifestyle is much more ... umm ... sedentary (read: I sit in my room unpacking all day, just to repack in a week).  This is a big change from my lifestyle at camp in which I was walking everywhere all the time.  So when I was having a lot of persistent high blood sugars, I chalked it up to this change in activity (and cranked up the basals).

When I woke up at 3:30 am on Wednesday night to my Dexcom annoying the crap out of me (saying I was 329 mg/dL with two up arrows), and I was feeling like absolute death, I decided to check for ketones. This is where the story gets complicated. After seeing that I had smoderate ketones (yes, I’m allowed to smash the words small and moderate together), I looked at my site. Total vampire cannula. I ripped that thing out and found a huge bruise. Great.

Here comes the strangest part ...

Since I use Mios, it’s just easier/safer to change the whole setup when having cannula issues.  (With a Medtronic Revel and Mios, I’m so pump trendy.)  When I took the reservoir out of my pump, it literally dripped insulin all over my bed. And the little place where the reservoir lives in my pump was FILLED with insulin, with like at least ¼ of an inch in there. I soaked up two Q-tips to get it out.

What. The. Heck.

I was a little concerned about my pump, since it’s not waterproof, and it’s brand new (I just got this upgrade in May), but at 3 am I was far more sleepy and ketone-sick than concerned.  I called Medtronic the next morning and the customer service person basically told me I had a defective reservoir and hit a weird spot in my arm which lead to the blood (I was expecting a scolding for using my arm, but she was fine with that – thankfully).

This is my old Minimed pump, not Abby's, but I figured a visual representation of the pump would be all "Ahhh!"

But she thought this was a totally acceptable reason - "Defective products are pretty common." In this woman’s defense, she went through all the steps she could to make sure my pump was okay. But a lot of the expectations don't really apply to "real life." For example, "Please find the lot number on the package from the pump site and reservoir."  Maybe I’m the only one, but I throw all that junk away as soon as I put the new site in. And I also dump out all of my pump supplies in a drawer when I get them because the boxes and all the paper inside takes up way too much space.  So finding those lot numbers?  Not going to happen.

I love me some technical support, but sometimes I wish the people on the other end of the phone had diabetes and were a bit more sympathetic as to how that casually defective reservoir made me feel. She kept telling me “I’m very sorry this happened to you, we can replace those products right away” which is helpful, I suppose.  I guess I just want someone on the phone to be like "Aww that is awful, I totally know how having ketones feels, and it’s no good at all."  So I guess what I’m saying is life would be easier if everyone in the world had diabetes :)

(I’m totally not dissing on Medtronic. I get that it’s not their fault if one reservoir doesn’t work. And they’re always super nice and super helpful ... it’s just frustrating when things that keep us alive are allowed to be faulty. See also: Kerri’s meter discrepancy extravaganza.)

In the end, pumpy is fine. Since there are no cracks or anything in it, and apparently because when I shake it, it doesn’t make a sound (yet another test the tech support girl had me do) my pump is safe.  She told me to keep an eye on it, and call back with more problems. Crisis mostly averted.

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As someone who recently cracked their Animas Ping against the floor and had to rock MDI due to my awkward pump failure, I totally understand the need for people to understand the "real life" implications of pump failure.  Have you ever busted up a bit of your diabetes technology and had to reset your management plan?

Comments

... and if anyone has had to call MM's helpline within the past few days, the wait has been EXTREMELY long. However, I sent an e-mail complaining about this, and was told that despite MM's having hired extra help to handle the folks stranded because of Hurricane Irene, there were so many hurricane-related calls that they just couldn't handle all of them in a timely fashion.

Tech support should have some in house empathy consultants that can be deployed during any call. Just to say, "I have been there and it sucks! Sorry."

I am not joking, I actually think you are onto something. IT would make things so much easier to deal with.

I've never had a problem with leaking and I've been using a pump for ten years now. I really like their customer service except when they ask me what my blood sugar is at the end of the call. I tell them "I don't give that out."

Been there! Recently! And blogged about it too: http://mewithd.wordpress.com/2011/08/18/my-non-aquatic-pump/

I am dealing with this right now. I am at the beach, and my Dexcom got fried on my beach chair. Unfortunately, my Dexcom is out of warranty, so I have to start the whole process over again.

So I'm having to revert back to checking before each meal and setting an alarm for 2 hours afterward. But I think this is a good thing because I was relying too much on my Dexcom. Hopefully I'll remember that when my new system comes in.

I hadn't heard about Mios! I'm intrigued by having color choices. That seems to be a trend lately. What I'd really like is an infusion set that doesn't leave a bump and make your clothes wrinkle around it...

Well, I had the opposite experience when I called DexCom today. I was returning Megan Adam's phone call about shipping my new system (insurance is changing as of 9/1, so I'm replacing while I still have durable medical covered). We went over all of the basics and I had to share that I got my latest A1C back. I have dropped 2 whole points since starting last year (this includes a month with ketones and a liquid diet on this one!). I don't know how we got on it, but we started sharing different tricks that both of us used when using the system. It was so cool to be talking with a representative that totally got it! (Megan, if you are reading this... you made my day! DexCom, you need to give her a raise b/c she's "been there"!)

Totally. I once had a car run over my entire kit. Don't have a pump (though maybe one day) but my insulin pen was bent and cracked and emptied, my strips were all over the road, and my glucometer was smashed.

http://www.frizbian.com/2011/07/diabetes-at-bbq.html

My husband was just laid off from a pump supplier company :(. However, he loved being able to relate to the customers on the other side who have diabetes like himself. He always said that while his co-workers could say they are sorry for what happened to an escalated issue, they never could say, "Hey, I know EXACTLY how you are feeling...because I've been there".

I second Emily--I have had absolutely excellent support calls with Dexcom, on more than one occasion. None of my reps had type 1 (or at least they didn't volunteer this information), but they were super friendly, helpful, and above all *patient.* I spent probably close to 20 minutes on the phone with a rep, angsting about whether or not my sensors were going bad in my hot apartment and asking her about a million questions about calibration.

Ever since minimed was purchased by Medtronic their customer support has never been the same. Don't even get me started on the omnipod customer support.

I called Medtronic Friday about defective reservoirs (again - had an issue with the previous lot also) and there was an extremely long wait time ("experiencing high call volume" - recording said at least 30 minutes). Called again Saturday and got through in 20 minutes. The rep was very helpful and apologized for the defective reservoirs - empathetic & concerned and explained that the wait time issue was due to understaffing in San Antonio. He said it could be a few months before they hire & train enough staff. Every year it's something with them - last year it was the system "upgrade" - this year it's the transfer to San Antonio, Have no option but ti since Medtronic has relocated the diabetes support team to San Antonio (and a lot of the Northridge staff chose not to transfer), they don't have enough staff to handle the phones. He said it will be a few months until they hire & train new staff.

Since I've switched to the OmniPod from a minimed, I've been a little freaked out by how much my life relies on pretty spotty technology. We recently went on a 5-day trip. I took 6 pods even though I should have only needed 2. It's a good thing because I went through 3 of them by the 2nd day. Two of them died for no apparent reason. I was working at a high-tech tradeshow and I started to worry that there was something interfering with and disabling the wireless communication technology. It was pretty stressful trying to figure what I could do 900 miles from home if I suddenly had no functioning pump. I didn't call tech support because I honestly didn't know what they could have done about it. When pods have failed in the past without any reason given, there's nothing they can really say except "send it back and we'll send you a new one." Not very comforting if you're 3 hours away from needing an ER.

I have had trouble with MM tech support too. The problem is, I love my pump, and don't want to change though! My issue was a stuck button. I was at a wedding dance, and needed to change my basel - my up arrow stuck, and wouldn't 'unstick'. It then suspended itself and wouldn't work...awesome. (Of course, this is the point when the Electric Slide started - I love that song!)

So, at 10:30 on a saturday night, I called MM and was on hold for over 30 minutes because of high volume....who else was calling??? Luckily, I had my back up lantus at the hotel, so my husband and I drove back, I took some lantus (was worried, because I hadn't taken lantus for about 6 years, but my dr. said that I should always have a bottle - listen when they tell you that!)
Anyway, finally got through to MM on Sunday morning. They were able to ship me a new pump that arrived on TUESDAY morning...so, I had to take shots until then...not cool.

As a former Medtronic Northridge employee I would say the leadership for SOS is really dissatisfied with the level of talent in San Antonio. The level of service will continue to decline due to poor decisions. The employees quit left and right due to the poor leadership. It used to take 8 days on average to get your order out and now it would take around 20. This is due to the lack of knowledge in SA. Good luck pumpers you will need it.

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