The Second Same Insulin Pump Replacement

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In a couple of hours I am going to be replacing my current insulin pump, a Smiths Medical Deltec Cozmo. Unfortunately it’s not a switch to a different brand of insulin pump, which I get to do next July at the end of my current four-year term when I’m eligible through my insurance plan to acquire a new pump. At that point, in July of 2011, I hope to move on to the Animas OneTouch Ping. Today, however, it’s a simple swapping-out of my green Cozmo pump with a replacement green Cozmo pump, the third such Cozmo pump I’ve owned in the last three-and-a-half years.

The large box containing the tiny, tiny pump arrived via UPS at my office yesterday afternoon. Getting mail like this, even when I know what it is and that it’s just not that exciting, is still exciting — for me it’s hard to beat the package-opening feeling, regardless of the package contents. However, it was after four when it showed up, so I didn’t immediately switch out the old pump.

When I got home last night, I’d planned on putting the new pump into use right away. Then I second-guessed myself and decided it would be best to do it in the morning, in case the new pump malfunctions, or in case I misprogram something (basal rates, carb ratio, etc.). In this way, I will be awake for the next twelve hours to detect anything if anything goes wrong — rather than have a potentially dangerous pump mishap while I’m asleep. Isn’t that some smart thinking!

All of this may lead you to wonder why I’m switching insulin pumps less than a year before getting a brand new one? Yes? Well, two reasons. The first is that the battery compartment on my current pump has a crack at its top. Right at the ridge where the cap screws down to seal it watertight and to activate the pump, a small fissure developed a couple of months ago. Three days ago I noticed it had grown to almost two centimeters. Although I don’t wear my pump swimming or in the bath or shower, it is exposed to moisture if I’m caught in the rain, or if I have it on while working out, things of that sort.

The second reason is that my CoZmonitor — the blood glucose meter that piggybacks on the pump — has been malfunctioning lately. For the past month or so I’ve been getting “CoZmonitor Error” almost half the time I try to check my blood glucose. I have enough test strips; that’s not my main concern. The annoying problem with the error reading is that it happens after I’ve put in the test strip and after I’ve stuck my finger to draw blood for the reading. Thus I have to wipe off the drop of blood, clear the error message, try another strip, restick my finger, and hope it works the next time. And if it doesn’t? More choice epithets lobbed the monitor and pump’s way.

Yes, I’ve tried all of the remedies for the error message. A new battery in the glucose monitor? Fail. Taking the monitor off and cleaning all the connection points? Fail. Trying new test strips from a different shipment? Fail. Recoding the strips in the insulin pump itself? Fail. Everything the consumer — me — can possibly do? Fail.

When I called Smiths Medical on Monday and explained my issues, they were incredibly helpful. We looked at the error codes for the test strips in the pump and determined it was an internal calibration issue, and because the pump has the cracked battery housing, they wanted to replace that. Two days later (yesterday afternoon): new insulin pump!

I’ll let you know how it goes.

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