Monday, September 21, 2009

Look Ma, No Pump!

Around 2:00 Saturday morning, Riley's pump alarmed that there was 10 units or less of insulin left in his cartridge. Michael silenced the alarm and went back to bed. I was due to change his needle at breakfast anyway.

So, when his pump alarmed again at around 7:30, I didn't think much of it. Michael went to silence it again and I heard: "Penny, the pump screen is blank!"

My heart sank and I got a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach. I jumped up out of bed. I pushed every button I could on his pump. The back light would come on and the pump would beep appropriately when I locked and unlocked it, but I could not get anything to show up on the screen.

I called Animas and while I was waiting for someone to call back I changed the battery. I was really hoping that would work, but alas it did not. That's when I knew that it was bad.

I spoke to the very nice Animas lady and I was on the phone for less than a minute before she was taking down my address to send a new pump. Since it was Saturday the pump would not arrive until Monday. I guess she could hear the sound of defeat in my voice. She was very sympathetic to my plight. She asked if I had the pump settings written down somewhere and when I said yes she said, "Good job, Mom." That's when I wanted to ask her if she wanted to go explain to my 7 year old that he had to go back to injections for two days. My stomach hurt just thinking about it.

It had been at least 3 years since Riley had received an injection of insulin. But, just like everything else having to do with diabetes, he took it like a champ. He said he was hungry and wanted breakfast. I sat him down and explained to him that his pump was broken and he'd have to take a shot with breakfast. He shrugged his shoulders and said "OK". I really need to take some lessons from him.

Right now we're between endos. Well, not really between endos. We have one, we've just never met him. Riley's beloved Dr. Morris, who is the best pediatric endocrinologist in the world, had to close her practice in June, due to health problems. She recommended a doctor to us. Since we had been seen by her in June, I made the appointment for September.

When I made the appointment I spoke with the nurse (who, I learned, is Dr. Morris' best friend. Thanks for looking out for us Dr. M.) and she gave me the emergency number to call with problems. I dialed it and was immediately connected to some doctor I've never spoken to before. She said, "Oh, it's simple, you just take his basal and shave 10-15% off and that's how much Lantus he takes."

Sorry, doc, there is nothing simple about it. Since Riley's total basal is 8.40 units, she told me to give him 7 units of Lantus. Also, she was going to call in a prescription for new Lantus. The Lantus I had in the fridge had an expiration date of this month, but had been in my fridge (unopened) for a year and a half. I would rather be safe than sorry. I also had her order some more syringes for us.

Not to go into too much detail, but as of late my life has been very stressful even if you take diabetes out of the equation. My mom is still sick, with no real answers as to what is going on. Work is horrible, I was switched to being the school nurse at the high school with no warning at all and I've hated every minute of it.

Then, Riley's pump decided it needed a vacation. I went to the pharmacy and the doctor had not called in the prescription. The pharmacists ended up having to call her and get the info. All the time, I'm waiting and envisioning Riley's sugar rising as he had no basal insulin floating around.

I finally got home and gave him the Lantus. He screamed and said it hurt. Since then, I've had to chase him a few times to give him his NovoLog also. He's skipped snack a couple of times too, only because he knew if he ate he'd have to take a shot.

I will be so happy when his pump arrives later today. I'm sure the first thing I'll do is take it out of the box and hug it and kiss it.

I've always loved the pump, but these past few days have made me love it even more. I will go to help Riley take off his pants to get in the shower and fish around for the pump for a few seconds before I realize he doesn't have one on. When his sugar is low, I'll go to see how much insulin he has on board, only to realize that figuring that out is up to me.

Or, he was getting low in the middle of the night, and I went to tell Michael to decrease his basal and then realized you can't do that with Lantus. Or, he'll run around and around and I'll think "maybe I should decrease his basal".

Math has never been my strong suit. I've given all the injections, but Michael has been the one computing to determine how much insulin to give.

Yes, I've had a miserable weekend. Technology is wonderful. When the man in brown shows up at the door, I might even kiss him too.


phonelady said...

Yeah that guy in brown is awesome , is he not ? I am expecting him today too for something else and I love it !!!
I really do . sometimes I dont like the mail man delivering my supplies cause he takes so long to get here and his truck is always hot so I never know if the insulin is going to be good or not . Not a good thing . I hope all is well in your household soon dear and god bless .

Lora said...

Wow, hope the upcoming weekend is much better for you guys.

Shannon said...

You know, Brendon never gave us a problem about getting shots before he started on the pump about 6 yrs ago.

Since he's been on the pump, he had to go a whole weekend of getting shots when it malfunctioned and we had to wait for a new one.

BUT, he HATED getting the shots during that time. He kept saying he wished they could send the pump sooner.

When it was finally sent to us that Monday, you could see the relief in Brendon. His whole body relaxed and he was in such a good mood that day.

I'm sorry Riley had to go through that torment. Here's to the pump!

Wendy said...

Writing down pump settings...I need to be better at that...thanks for the reminder. I hope today turns your world around!

Penny Ratzlaff said...

Thanks for the well-wishes, guys.


Every little noise Riley hears outside he runs to the window to see if it's the ups guy. He runs to the window with a big smile which quickly fades once he realizes it's not him. He just got another injection for lunch. We were really hoping we'd have the pump up and running before then. I just told Riley that hopefully, that was the last injection he'll have to take.

Still no pump. Yes, writing down pump settings is very important. Or just type them in your computer as a word document as save them that way.

meanderings said...

Poor Riley - and poor you! Here's hoping for a less stressful Monday evening.

:) Tracie said...

Love Animas...they are so good at taking care of things right away.
Jessi always says she'd rather have shots, hope we don't experience this anytime soon.:)

Best part of the new pump will be how undamaged it is on the outside. That and no more shots!!!

Meri said...

Sadly, one of the perks of having three diabetics is we can just attach a brothers pump every few hours and give him some insulin from there, (under fixed prime so it doesn't show as the other childs bolus.)

Sorry about the breakage, we deal with it a couple times a year and it is absolutely a bummer. Hope your boy is all hooked up and happily pumping again!

Amy said...

I hope the pump came with no problems today! :( Sorry you had such a cruddy weekend!

Bernard said...

That stinks, especially at the start of a weekend. I hope the new one is up and safely running by now.