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« PDM Error | Main | Arden Supporters on Facebook »

Our thirty minute vacation from type I

This is a companion blog that will read fine as a stand alone but if you want the entire story you should start here and then come back.


Last Saturday we decided that the boys in our family would go to the batting cage and the girls would go see the Hannah Montana movie.  We left the house at the same time and I was looking very much foreword to doing something that was just going to be me and Cole.  I don’t get out with just him very often and I was excited to do so.


It took us about 20 minutes to get to the batting cage, we checked in and began browsing their store while we waited for our turn in the cage.  But before we could get into the cage I received an email from Kelly saying that Arden’s PDM (the handheld controller that operates her insulin pump and is also her BG meter) “went dead”.  


Kelly and I emailed back and forth trying to resolve the issue but the PDM had experienced an error that we didn’t know how to fix.  During these emails we were called to our batting cage and I was now typing with one hand and feeding balls into the pitching machine with the other.  


By this time I was beginning to worry. Poor Arden was trying to enjoy her movie and her BG was undoubtable climbing way too high because the PDM gave out before Kelly could deliver the bolus for the snacks that they had already bought.  I felt horrible for Kelly because she doesn’t get to have time alone with Arden like this very often and now (I imagined) she was sitting in the theater worried about Arden’s BG, and scared to death because she didn’t have a back up glucose meter with her (which was my fault for not including one in my emergency bag).  And I was annoyed that my time with Cole was being disturbed and that my bag didn't have a back up meter in it.  But most of all my heart sank for poor Cole who is always the trooper when it comes to all of this Type I stuff.  He never complains even though we spend so much time treating low blood glucose, testing, carb counting and on and on.  He really is very understanding and patient and he deserved this respite as much as anyone.  


After Cole’s thirty minutes in the cage was up we got in the car and drove directly to the movie theater.  I called the pump company from the car and found out what I’d need to do when I got to Arden.  My first priority was to get the PDM working so that we could test her blood glucose and make sure that she wasn’t in any imminent danger.  I was all but positive that she would have a severely elevated BG and not a dangerously low one but I still couldn’t shake the panic that I felt.  Not having a blood glucose meter is like not being sure that air will be available when you take our next breath.  If I was forced to make the choice between the two I’d leave the house without insulin before I left without a meter.


What happened next borderlines on comical, I arrived at the theater just before the movie ended we found Arden and went out into the theater lobby. I called Insulet back to get the step by step instructions that I needed to reset the PDM.  The first step was to put the batteries back in which made the pump beep incessantly.  Next step was to press the recessed button under the battery cover with a long pin.  What long pin you ask? Good question!  Over the next few moments I and anyone I could enlist searched the lobby for a long pin and there was none to be found, no toothpicks or paper clips either.  Suddenly one of the employees took off her name tag and we used the pin on it to reset the pump. Yea!  


We finished the reset process, thanked the CSR and tested Arden who was of course experiencing a very high BG, in the 400s.  We went home immediately to change the pump because once the communication is lost it can’t be reconnected, you must start over again with a new pump.  We got home, everyone was mentally exhausted and I put on the new pump... three hours later Arden’s BG was back in range. 


Kelly didn’t have that nice relaxing day with Arden.  I did not have a chance to not think about diabetes for more then the twenty minute ride to the batting cage and Cole wasn’t able to escape the Type I vortex for very long.  Saddest of all, we’ll never know if Arden was able to really watch the movie because of her elevated BG.  The entire day was a bust, we just as well could have stayed home and stared at a wall - it was a disaster.  But I’ll tell you what and I mean this 100%, next time we get the chance we’ll do it again and if that day blows up into a diabetes disaster, we’ll regroup and do it again because I’m not giving in to this disease... I’m not teaching Arden to be limited by this awful twist of fate.  


Things like this don’t happen all of the time of course but they do happen.  It’s that looming possibility that causes us to always be just a little unsettled, we never really relax because there is no way to know if this is the moment that something goes wrong.  It has before and it will again, staying vigilant is the only way to avoid a truly horrible outcome.  The vigilance is exhausting  and it is going on in over 13 million homes across the country.  


Please support the JDRF as generously as you can until a cure is found.


The following are archived comments from this post. You can post new comments below.

I have type 1 diabetes and am currently in a graduate program for physical therapy.  I was using a minimed pump but switched to omnipod in december.  It has truely changed my life.  But a week before my training my minimed pump died.  This was also my final exam week before christmas break!  I had to switch to injections and try to manage that way through my finals.  I couldn't get a new minimed cause it was out of warranty and my omnipod training was not until that friday!  Luckly everything worked out fine.  Thank you for the blog post!
Sunday, May 3, 2009 - 11:13 PM
Hello Jess!  Thanks for reading and posting!  I hope you are having as much success with the OmniPod as we are.  I can see how it would be difficult to switch back to injections after being on a pump.  I'm so glad everything worked out.   Hope to talk to you again...
Thursday, May 7, 2009 - 08:58 PM


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