Thursday, September 08, 2005


All right. So when last I posted, we were waiting for Joseph's replacement insulin pump.

By eleven o’clock yesterday morning I was starting to panic, thinking "maybe this will be like the loaner . . . maybe it just won't come . . . "

I called Animas.

And again I explained the events of the past two weeks, adding that I was "losing confidence in the pump and the company we had chosen."

Now, to be fair, the technical support rep with whom I spoke was incredibly thorough. She walked through each of the issues I had raised last Friday, troubleshooting in an attempt to find an explanation for all of them.

All this, as I was rapidly losing my composure.

"This is insane! Our THIRD pump in seven months! They're supposed to last four years. These aren't even making it to four months!"

Understand, that because I had no replacement pump in hand, and Joseph was wearing something that could fail at any moment, I was a little out of control.

Finally, after offering many apologies and reassurances, the Animas rep said she'd call UPS, and get right back to me. Her professional response was typical of all previous conversations I'd had with Animas.

Well, prior to last Friday, that is.

Five minutes after I hung up the phone, the pump arrived.

Joseph was hooked up to the new pump, with a new set at 4pm (he didn't want me to come to the school and do it, and since I had pump in hand and could get to him in minutes, I felt okay waiting til after school . . . though I did pick him up instead of letting him take the bus).

And as if to give us one parting shot, the old pump sounded the "No Prime" warning once again as it sat on the counter top while we changed Joseph's set.

Joseph looked at the broken pump, with it's beckoning alarm and it's horribly faded display, and said, unsympathetically, "Stupid pump."

Like his pancreas, and the pump before this one . . . just another betrayal, I guess.

But then, he asked if we could put the cartridge cap from the old pump onto the new one.

"Why?" I asked, a bit surprised.

"Then I'll still have a part of that one with me. Then I won't miss it."


After we finished, he got up quickly and took off outside to skateboard with his buddy, Zachary-- only to return inside about 45 minutes later, looking frustrated.

"Mom, this pump just gave me a "Warning No Prime" message.


"Okay then, let's have a look at it," I said as calmly as I could. "Yup, we sure did just prime it 45 minutes ago . . . hmmm . . . all right, let's just re-prime then." So I primed out two measly units, because, as I said, I JUST PRIMED THE DAMN THING 45 MINUTES AGO.

"Is this pump going to work, mom?” Joseph asked, tentatively.

"It's gonna be just fine, buddy. Hey, did it fall out of your pocket at all? Or did ya bump anything? " I asked these questions, wondering skeptically about a "hiccup."

"Nope. Not at all. Can I just go outside now?"

Okay then. Not a good time to phone Animas, since Evan had cried throughout our little re-priming session. She was begging me to take her outside too, so I resolved to call Animas after Ryan got home.

I didn't have to.

Our local pump trainer, a CDE, called to follow up on our situation. We discussed everything that had happened. She apologized up and down, and explained that this is not typical of their pumps or their service. I reiterated to her that the two areas I felt were Animas' strongest -- stellar support and well-made hardware -- were failing.

"Sandra, listen, if anything happens overnight or tomorrow morning with Joseph's pump, call my cell phone. I will come out [she's an hour away] and loan you my demo pump until a replacement is sent. As a matter of fact, if Joseph has any problems at all, ever, with this pump, call me. I don't want you to have to wait around for a replacement."

This morning I received yet another phone call from Animas. It was from the rep I'd spoken with yesterday from the home office.

"Sandra, I got a call from your local pump trainer this morning. You've experienced an unacceptable number of problems here. We're going to send a loaner pump for you to have as a back up over the next three months. We'll review at the end of that period to see if you need it longer. The problems you've had are truly not typical of our pumps. But we don't want you to lose peace of mind worrying about whether or not this new pump is going to fail. "

So that's it. And I'm back to feeling much better about our pump company-- if maybe a little less confident in our pump.


Tekakwitha said...

Wow Sandra. That's all so frustrating and ridiculous. I'm glad that they finally decided to send you a back-up for him. Hopefully this all work correctly now that you have a back-up!

Kathleen Weaver said...

I'm wondering right now if the cartridges are giving you the problem and not the pump.

About 1 1/2 years ago, they had problems with a batch of IR1000 cartridges -- they were doing the same thing, requesting an often reprime.

I'm glad they got more responsive!

Tiffany said...

Jeez Sandra. Poor you. Poor Joseph! I don't think I would have the patience to put up with three pumps's about time both Animas and your Pump Trainer stepped up to the plate!

I hope things work out. Keep us updated!

Shannon said...

Kathleen may be on to something. Have you used a different batch of cartridges?

Sandra Miller said...

Hey Ladies,

So far so good with the new pump.

Kathleen and Shannon,

I'm not sure a bad batch of cartridges is the cause of the no primes, since the warnings were so isolated-- only occurring twice with the same cartridge in the old pump, and once with the new pump. All other cartridges from that box (it's almost empty) were fine.

I definitely think there was something funky with the old pump-- date/time malfunction, no primes, display fading, all in a matter of days...

But if you are right... well then, now we've got to worry about the cartridges too... Heaven help us!

Kerri. said...

My pump (Minimed Paradigm 512) acted up for the first time in a year and a half last week. The screen went completely blank while I was priming it. It stayed that way for about two minutes. Then it popped back on and hasn't hiccupped since. The sweat instantly appeared on my brow, I'll tell you that. There's nothing worse than becoming reliant on the technology, only to have it let you down.

Keep us posted on The Saga de Animas. And may the D-Force be with you.