Monday, March 5, 2007

Squirt died

This was a week of challenges. Mostly it was a Tuesday of challenges.

I was at work on Tuesday. I had just finished eating lunch and was ready to bolus. I had delayed my bolus because I was a little low. I realized that my insulin cartridge was low, and would need to be changed before I could bolus. I took out the near empty cartridge and replaced it with a full one, and started the rewind. My pump alerted and said “battery depleted.” I dug out a new battery and changed that. I started the cartridge changing over again. Again “battery depleted” appeared on the screen. I was sure that both batteries were new, but tried a third one. Same message. Then my pump started squealing a high pitch noise and a “call for service” message appeared. I dialed the Smith Medical number on the back of the pump. I was put on hold. This continued for 15 minutes and then my cell phone rang.

My mom was calling from an ambulance. Earlier that day she was diagnosed with pleurisy. The clinic called her a couple hours later and said that she needed a CT scan to check for blood clots. She went to a local clinic. They saw a pulmonary embolism on the scan and called an ambulance right away. She was transported to a local hospital. I decided that I needed to leave school right away and get home to figure out the pump and mom’s situation.

I sat on hold with the pump company the entire 20 minute commute home. Still no answer.

I got a hold of mom and she had finally gotten and room assignment and was stable. O.k. Deep breath. All is safe.

I called my endo to figure out a shot plan. (I’m embarrassed to say that I don’t have a shot plan. I had an old bottle of Levimir in the fridge that I had taken camping this past summer) My endo was on vacation. The doc on call was going to call me back to help me figure out a plan.

I called the pump company and sat on hold again. Finally got a rep on the line. She went through a sequence on things and then said “…your pump is dead. You need a new one. Should I Fed Ex it to you, or do you want to come and pick it up?” (Poor Squirt- that's my pump's name) Are you kidding… several shots in and I was ready for a new pump. The rep said that it would take a couple hours to get one. I talked to my mom. She was doing fine, had i.v’s going with blood thinners. I waited the 2 hours, and then headed over to Smith Medical. (which, fortunately, was only 15 minutes away from my house. YES!! I knew that “picking a local company” would end up paying off for me.) The woman was so nice. She took my old pump and synced it to the new one. I reconnected and was on my way across town.

I went to my mom’s house, picked up her jammies, books, toiletries, etc. and then headed back downtown to visit and drop off her things. I got back home around 9:30pm and collapsed from all the craziness of the day.

I went to work on Wednesday. After work I drove across town to pick up mom’s car at the clinc that she had been at when the ambulance was called. I drove her car to her house, and then drove back home.

Thursday was a late start day at school. We had meetings in the morning. The weather was really kicking up. The kids arrived two hours late. As they were walking in the door, we were told that we were having an early release. The kids had an hour of instruction, had lunch, and then went home. My commute home took twice the normal time.

Friday, school was called off. Amen. Even with all of the shoveling, it was a welcome relief to have a day to myself. Dixie and I got some much needed rest.

I’m thankful that everything turned out all right. Mom is out of the hospital, I have a new pump, and Dixie and I have rested.

Chrissy asked: “Please do tell us how you train Dixie to hit the alarm button, if you are NOT having a hypo. Or do you do it when you ARE having a hypo and prewarn the people who take the messages? Do you have to plan a little hypo?

Dixie was taught how to activate the button in several steps. First she learned how to “touch” a button. Then, she learned how to “push the button.” This translated into pushing all sorts of buttons. (like the handicapped button to open a door) Last, she practiced pushing the life alert button when I was low. The hope is that if I would be low and unresponsive, she would try every “trick in her bag.” (the big trick would be hitting the button…actually she doesn’t usually hit the button, she chomps on it)

It’s funny, when I was working with Dixie at the training place, I told the staff there that I would induce a slight low blood sugar by bolusing some insulin, so that Dixie could practice “alerting.” They agreed to let me try. Even then, with our relationship being so new, Dixie knew that I knew I was low. She would position herself in her “protective” way in front of me, but she would not show any alerting behaviors when I induced. The same is true with the button. If I “induce a low,” she won’t fall for it.

Dang, she’s smart.


Chrissie in Belgium said...

Sounds like an unbelievable, horrible week..... but not too horrible b/c everything worked out OK! I get the shivers when you talk about your Cozmo going dead! Just the thought of that occurring scares the hell out of me!How old is your Cozmo? Glad your Mom is OK now! Even though what you say about Dixie sounds "unbelievable" - I do believe b/c dogs just are so amazing and intelligent. So how do you get Dixie to practise pushing the button if you cannot "set-up" a hypo?!

Molly said...

My Cozmo was approaching 5 years old. When I brought it in, the woman did say that she found a crack in the case, and that probably caused all of the problems.
When I'm low, I have Dixie push the button. Even when I'm just a little low. Practice makes perfect.
It's a gamble...she might not push it if I passed out, but hopefully with all of the trials, she will..

MileMasterSarah said...

It sounds like you had one hell of a week last week. I am glad that your mom is doing well. Thank heaven for life’s miracles eh? Did you enjoy the ridiculous amounts of snow? I’ve had my minimed die a few times, and I don’t have a shot schedule. That gives me a good idea to talk about with my doctor today though

Minnesota Nice said...

I thought Squirt was another one of your pets. (Then I thought it was somewhat unemotional to title a post "Squirt Died", but maybe if he was just a hampster........).
My mother, who is probably a lot older than yours, was diagnosed with a blood clot in her lung in December and she is still on blood thinners. I think they take a long time to dissolve, but they can judge by the size and location the best way to treat it.
Glad she is doing better and that it was properly diagnosed.
The ice over here in Uptown is 4" thick on the streets and sidewalks. And, with the warmer temps coming up, we'll have a to of melting and refreezing overnight. Lovely.

Scott K. Johnson said...

Wow - what a string of events. Glad you & Dixie made it through in one piece.