Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Cartridges woes

When I was in the BWCA a couple weeks ago, I decided to half fill my pump cartridges, so that I wouldn’t heat up the entire 300 units of insulin day after day living outdoors in the hot sun. Seemed like a good idea at the time.

Yesterday I realized that I only had one cartridge left in the box. O.k., no big deal. My medical supply order from the company in Florida was scheduled to come on Wednesday. Last night I filled the last cartridge and put it in my pump. When I screwed on the luer lock for my quick set, I heard a click. Hmmm, that was odd. Never heard that sound before. I didn’t really investigate the noise.

I went to bed about 10:30pm. I woke up (I think because it was raining so darn hard) at 1:47am. I felt horrible. I grabbed the tester and poked. 367. WHAT??? I remembered the click sound, and so disconnected my quick set and primed the line. Nothing. No insulin. It pooled up around the top of the pump. CRAP! I didn’t have any cartridges left. The one in my pump was apparently broken, and I was high as a kite. (with small ketones, might I add)

I did the only thing that I could think of. I took my used cartridge from the garbage can (where I had thrown it hours earlier, minus the screw on top), wiped it with alcohol, and filled it up again. I put it in my pump and gave a gi-normous corrective bolus.

I called the medical supply place today. The woman tells me that my order had a problem with UPS, and that it wouldn’t be coming until Friday. I calmly explained the contaminated cartridge I was currently using, infested with probably more bacteria than I’d really like to know about. She put me on hold for 20 minutes, trying to pass me through to the “diabetes division.” After the 20 min, she came back on the phone to ask me to give her my number so that she could have a rep call me. THEY NEVER CALLED. I called and sat on hold again, ending up having to hang up to head to a training that I needed to give at a local summer camp for environmental education staff.

So here I sit. Contaminated cartridge of insulin pumping into me, germs and all, without a replacement en route.

I leave for the BWCA at 4am on Thursday morning. Gotta figure out something by then.

I’ll have to get back on the phone tomorrow and offer to sell my soul in exchange for one lousy, overnight-aired, cartridge.

Dam diabetes!


Christine-Megan said...

You use a Cozmo, right? I would call Smith's and ask if they could get you an emergency supply.

Bernard said...

Or call your endo's office. A CDE there may have some spare cartridges for you.

I'm evaluating a Coxmo right now. If you were local (Massachusetts) I could mail you a spare cartridge or two. Let me know.

Anonymous said...

Hey. Wow. Know how you feel. We have had two instances that were similar recently.
1) Pump broke just after a big dinner and before a big bolus -ahh! Spent forever on the phone with pump company trying to "prime" it- not happening. Then on the phone trying to get help "after hours" from a doctor. Needless to say count was high and the next 24 hours with long-acting was not a happy experience either, but it was only 24 hours.
2)Got into car for 3 hour ride home. Sat on new cannula, smooshed it closed. But what we learned from last time: have several small disposable syringes around (esp. for trips). Take count every hour and give yourself your basal rate per hour the old fashioned way. It worked very well for us (I would not do this if you are driving, its better to wait and be safe) I suggest to use this only in an emergency and when you cannot get in touch with your doctor immediately. I know its hard to always have the extra supplies around that you need.

As always, discuss with your doctor and use common sense. Of course this method is not the best and can only be realistically done for a short amount of time.

Scott K. Johnson said...

Hey Molly - give me a call - I can get you fixed up. I would be more than happy to set you up with some CLEAN & NEW cartridges I have at home...

I'm a little late on this comment, so I hope I haven't missed you!!

Chrissie in Belgium said...

OH MOLLY - WHAT A BUMMER!!!! Such bad luck. I have a Cosmo but if I were to send you some empty cartridges there is no way you would get them in time.... But now I see that Scott has already helped you. Thand goodness for Scott!