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Midnight Calls to California

Click.  Click.

"No backlight?  That's odd."

Click.  Hit the button with the arrow.  Try and scroll down.

Click.  Click.  Clickity-clickity-damnit-whatthehellisgoingon-click-click.


Before I went to bed last night, I clicked on the "arrow" button to show me the pump stats - the time, my last bolus, and most importantly, the insulin left in my reservoir.  I usually check my reservoir supply every night before bed, to keep myself from running out on the overnights.  I knew I had changed the infusion set on Saturday morning, so I had to be close to running out.

The "arrow" button clicked fine.  But the "down" button was not having it.

"What.  The.  Hell.  Is.  Wrong.  With.  You?"  I punctuated every word with the click of the button, hoping it would catch and everything would be fine again.

No luck.

I tested my blood sugar.  214 mg/dl.  I pressed the "up" button in hopes of being able to manually click my way through a bolus, then hoping the insulin would still be delivered.  As my wounded pump boop beep boop'ed its way to a correction, I called my customer service pals at Medtronic.

"Hello, this is Damien."Thank goodness for Minimed.

"Hi, Damien.  My name is Kerri.  I have a Paradigm 512 and it's still under warranty.  The 'down' button is toast and I can't access the prime function, my insulin totals, or the bolus screen.  Or a self-test." 

"Hi, Kerri.  I can help you out with that.  Let's try a few things first."

We changed the battery.  No luck.  We talked about the most recent alarms that had been thrown and how they may have impacted.  No solution there, either.

"Okay, Kerri.  I'm going to recommend that you stop using the pump now.  Do you have back-up insulin and syringes?"

I thought about the bottle of Lantus in my fridge from the rafting trip and the boxes of syringes I've been stashing for the last few years.

"I have plenty of back-up."

"What was your blood sugar when you checked last?"


"Were you able to correct for that?"

Nice question.  I didn't think they cared what my blood sugar was. 

"I was.  I could manually bolus using the 'up' button."  I answered, affixing a gold star for Medtronic in my mental chart.

"Great.  Okay, Kerri.  I'm going to see if I can get this overnighted to you for delivered tomorrow morning.  Where can this package be delivered?"

"My office."  I gave him the address.  "Yes, that's 'd' as in 'diabetes.'  It's a diabetes-media company." 

"Wow.  You work in diabetes, too?"  I heard him clicking on his computer keyboard.  "And what email can we send an update to?"

"Kerri at sixuntilme dot com.  Six is spelled out."

"Nice.  Got it.  Six until me?"

"It's my blog.  It's a diabetes blog, actually."  It was one in the morning, my insulin pump was busted, and it was my 21st anniversary with this disease.  I was burnt out.  "I know.  I'm surrounded by this stuff."

Damien shook off his professional demeanor and laughed freely.  "No kidding?  That's pretty cool, I think."

"I have a good time.  So this pump should arrive tomorrow morning?"

"It should.  You'll have a FedEx confirmation email in a few hours."

"Great.  Well, I'll be sure to write about you tomorrow.  You've been very helpful."

He laughed again.  "Make me sound nice, okay?"

"It'll be easy."

And now I wait for my "certified pre-owned insulin pump" to arrive at my office.  I have a bag filled with pump supplies, syringes, a bottle of Lantus, and some back-up Humalog pens, in case FedEx doesn't make it in time.  I have no idea how much is left in my pump, or if it's working properly, but I woke up at 84 mg/dl and I'm sitting currently at 126 mg/dl.  It appears to still be able to administer insulin, I just can't access anything or prime the damn thing.  Even though I'm going against the recommendation of Minimed to remove the pump and revert to injections again, I'm holding out for the new insulin pump and closely monitoring my blood sugars in the meantime. 

Here's hoping FedEx arrives soon. 


Bless your heart! I dread the day my pump dies! It makes you want to keep a backup around, ya know? I hope fedex gets there soon!

Hi Kerri,

I've had more than one pump die, but I stick with Minimed because their customer support is top notch. (They even offered to overnight an insulin pump to *Japan* once.)

I would have stayed connected but kept a close eye on my BG, too. No need going on a Lantus roller-coaster for a day when the new pump will be there in the AM.

I had something similar happen in high school. The pump had threw a temper tantrum every time I tried to bolus. Buzzing and whirling and what-not. Very frightening since it was the first time it had happened. I too left the pump on since the basal worked just fine, it was just the keyboard had somehow become disconnected from the pump and couldn't take instructions. I think I had to wear it for about a day because it too happened at night and they could only 24 hour deliver it starting the next day. Looks like Minimed has shaped up in the six years since that happened.

Kerri--This reminds me of last spring when I was on a business trip to the middle of nowhere, and it was about 1 week before my 4-year warranty was up on my 508. I had been waiting for that warranty to expire, because then I could order my new 512. Anyway, the 508 died and Minimed FedExed another 508 to my hotel by the next morning! It was really great service. The following week I ordered my 512 and was still able to return the replacement 508 for a $500 credit on my new pump! I've been using Minimed pumps since 1999 and have been very pleased with their service (and pleasantness)!

Now that's some quality customer service. Hopefully FedEx will deliver (pun-intended) the same standard of service

I love good customer service. That is great. I am glad Master P is a Medtronic product. That is really comforting.

Damien? Hello, this is Lucifer, and I will be assisting you with your broken pump issue.

I've always wanted to call those customized BabyBaby tapes and ask for a Lucifer tape.

Either there are a lot of people named Damien in California who work at Minimed, or I've talked to this guy too. A very helpful fellow.

Here's hoping your package comes soon. :)

When I first got my Minimed 522 it took a total of 2 weeks. The customer service was great. Medtronic does a great job even if they are making a fortune on pump supplies.

That is very refreshing to hear! Not the breaking but the solution!

I keep thinking I am going to shop around pump companies for my new one in a few months, but MiniMed has always been so good to me!

Wow - Good for you Kerri! I wonder if I can ask for Damien next time I call.

I had a problem with my pump last night too. It alarmed with *Failed Battery* and I had to try 3 different brand new batterys before it took one.

Unfortunately, when I got on the line the Minimed, the Rep. lectured me for using Duracell rather than the "prefered" Energizer batteries and only after I asked did she mention replacing my pump. Also - no e-mail confirmation. Not a good experience at all.

Glad to know that there are good reps out there and hopefully next time I'll get one. Plus I'm going to buy a full pack of Energizers to keep in the fridge just in case.

Either Medtronic have shaped up a lot, or it was only ever their European operation that sucked.

Since I reverted to Medtronic from Animas a little over a year ago I haven't, touch wood, had a problem requiring assistance. But going back a number of years, I once had to wait 3 weeks for a replacement 508 because there were none available in the UK so they had to wait for shipping from the Netherlands. Turned out they had no blue 508s. Rather than send me a black, white or green one, they waited for a blue one from the US because - "it's not policy to change colours." They must have sent it surface mail given the time it took and to add insult to injury, when the new blue 508 arrived it didn't work! Thankfully I ticked by on an old 507!

I won't eve go in to the 511 they wouldn't replace because "there is nothing wrong with it". Nothing other the fact that it cut out without warning at least once every 24 hours!

Glad your experience was better!

I was with MM since the early 80's then sad to say for some reason the customer service went down hill. I use a cozmore pump now and just love it ! I do hope that MM has changed maybe one day I will go back .

My Paradigm 512 kicked the bucket with a "motor error" after my own enGAGment party ended late at night. Such great timing, as always. ;)

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Minimed's customer service. Funny thing--I have talked to Damien before (I got some leaky reserviors...weird). He is super-duper nice. I had Mary yesterday when they sent me the wrong infusions sets. They overnighted new ones and sent UPS to pick up the old ones. She was fantastic as well.

I am one of the people who does not like that they ask my blood sugar. If it has nothing to do with the interaction that I am initiating, I find it too prying.

Minimed has been great to me as well! Mine died while on vacation on Hawaii's Big Island in 2002. Ironically, the letter about them not being "completely submersible in 8 feet of water for up to 24 hours due to possible hairline cracks" was traveling via USPS to my house at the same time...but the pump was deliverd to my parents house within 24 hours...and I was prepared with my (gasp) syringes...

My down button went on my first pump, too! I was also depressed when I had to send it back. It was so sad that the pump I used for my foray into pump-world was no longer going to be with me. And I only had it for a year!

I had to call Minimed yesterday for an uploading problem and they asked my last blood sugar result as well. I asked him why they were asking me what I think is a personal question. He told me it was because they sometimes get people who are at, like, 25 and can't get things to work. They are required to call emergency services and stay on the line until paramedics get there if the person is incoherent. I thought that was actually a good idea.

Since this is my first post on your blog, I wanted to say how much I enjoy your frank honesty, humor about your ups and downs with diabetes. It's refreshing.

Hi Kerry,

Had the backlight and OK buttons fail on my Animas IR 1250. After I called Pump Support and explained my problem, Animas sent me a new pump out yesterday. Got it 2 hours ago and back to pumpin'. They have bad hair days too!

I have had 2 pumps fail. Both while on vacations. The first time I was in NY City at a hotel, no needles, nothing but humalog. The pump wouldn't stop priming after putting a new insulin cartridge in. The 24 hour hot line walk me through how to force things to work so I would have insulin over night. The refurbished pump arrived at the front desk by AM. I now carry needles at all times.

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