Friday, February 22, 2013

Be Prepared

Back in August I volunteered to be the "check in" person for my son's scout troop for this weekend's ski trip. I haven't done this job before and I have a new found respect for it. What on earth does this have to do with the d-word????
  • I've not spent a weekend away from Alex since she was diagnosed (except when she has been at camp).
  • Being the sign up person requires a lot of organization and communication, especially when you have 50+ people attending and several new families attending with a bunch of questions and then cancellations, additions, making sure paperwork is in order, making sure fees are understood and paid (especially when a few policy was recently changed), and constantly figuring out if we have enough drivers when the number of attendees fluctuates due to illness, bad grades, new scouts, etc.
  • My son has had the flu this week and his attendance has been in question and then there is the concern Alex will get the flu and then would I be comfortable leaving her with the flu and diabetes?
Would I have done this when Alex wasn't on the pump? You bet not!

So, last Tuesday, I attended the ADA School Walk for Diabetes at Alex's school. As we were standing there listening the nurse make a presentation, Alex whispered to me that something was wrong with her pump. I looked at it and it had a dead screen. Nothing we did made it respond. I disconnected her and walked to the health room to retrieve a fresh battery. I assumed (you know what happens when you do that) that we missed a low battery alarm and quickly changed it out and re-primed and all seemed happy. 

Exactly one week to the day and time (no really!), Alex noticed her pump was dead again. She was at school without me this time. She went to the health room, changed the battery and it started back up. When she got home she mentioned it had needed a new battery again. While I thought it odd, I thought maybe the battery I used was old/expired and the way she worded it made me assume she had a low battery alarm and changed it. There is that assume word again.

Wednesday morning, Alex was leaving for the bus and happens to mention the pump died without alarming her. I realized then that something must be wrong. I wanted to call Animas but I had put her on the bus. I knew they would ask me questions and want me to have the pump with me. So I decided to wait until she got home from school. I called Animas as soon as she came through the door (at this point the pump was working fine). 

Animas has some great tech support people (completely different than my experiences with their billing department). I didn't see ANY cracks or corrosion in the battery chamber. There are no low battery alarms listed in the history since January 24th (which I remember and we changed). The tech said they were overnighting me a new pump...only it was past 6:30 and they couldn't ship until Thursday which meant a Friday delivery. She advised us to stop using the pump and use a backup plan...shots...

Now this is where I make some decisions that are questionable and I strongly urge you NOT to follow. Alex was distraught over shots. The pump was working. I figured it worked for a week after the last battery change. We have Dexie helping us with high and low alerts. I decided to check her every 2 hours including overnight and keep pumping. Thursday morning, Alex's pump seems fine and her BGs are awesome. She heads to school. Within 20 minutes I get a phone call that the pump is dead. 

I get off the phone and start gathering up syringes, Lantus, Novolog, Alcohol Wipes. Then I start making my brain revert back to shot calculations. I can do carb ratios and corrections with Novolog. I have no idea what to do with Lantus. Why didn't I ever ask? I call the endo and ask for the on call doctor. They transfer me to a message line for the nurse. Really? This isn't an on call issue? Whatever I guess! The nurse calls me back and they explain to total the daily basal amounts in the pump and give her that in Lantus right away. That would be great...if I ever wrote down the basal rates on the pump. They are in the dead pump. So not prepared.

After a little while, I remember I have it saved in Diasend, log in, and find them. My basal numbers match the nurse's numbers and I now know the dosage. I head to the school with all stuff in hand. As we are waiting for Alex to come from her classroom, the nurse mentions her pump is in her drawer and she took the battery out because it was making alarm noises. My eyebrows raise...I thought it was dead?

This is the second part where I make decisions I urge you NOT to follow. I pull the pump out and reinsert the battery and prime it. It appears okay. Alex appears. She seems okay with the Novolog. When I tell her she is getting a Lantus shot, she completely panics. She always hated Lantus. It stings and she gets huge red spots. We've tried Levimir too and same result. I'm looking at my distraught daughter, a bag of shots, and a pump happily showing me a normal status screen. I decide to hook her back up to her pump. I tell her to test in ONE HOUR and call me no matter what.

I head home and lament my woes on Facebook. A super awesome mom from a local support group offers to loan me her daughter's old Ping pump for peace of mind. As I am making arrangements to pick it up, the phone rings again from the school. The pump is beeping and alarming low cartridge (not true) and just not acting normal. They immediately disconnected it before calling me. I tell her to hang tight (her BG is fine still) and I meet this awesome d-mom to pick up the loaner pump. Then I drive to the school and we hook her up to the loaner pump.  Her face of happiness at no Lantus was priceless.

This morning, a new pink pump arrived via UPS. So..I'm hoping we've put this chapter behind us. Something I want to note that another good d-mom pointed out....it was just plain STUPID to keep using that pump. What if it primed or gave her more insulin as opposed to none? The way it was acting who knows??? My fear and my pain over her face over the Lantus should NOT have won that battle. And why am I willing to post this on a blog? Because I want anyone to read this know we all do things sometimes that we look back and realize weren't the best decisions. It's how you react to your choices...not the choices themselves that you make necessarily.

Anyway...so back to scouts...in the midst of these 2 days of pure agony and stress, I've been having to make a bunch of other plans and decisions for the trip. I've had to listen to people praise my efforts for planning and people complain about policies in place over fees, driving, etc. Having to drive 30 minutes to get a loaner pump and ensure I get it back to my daughter before she ended up in DKA in a hospital bed while dealing with all of that...puts THAT in perspective. In a twisted way, it made this whole check in thing easier. I'm not sweating any of it. There are BIGGER things in life people than a ski trip and having this paper or that fee how you want it.

And, while I might be very prepared for a scouting trip, I ought to be VERY prepared for the d-word throwing anything and everything at me when I least expect it...like a dead pump.

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