Saturday, June 25, 2016

MacGyvering a Pod

We were about an hour and a half from home, visiting my mother. And we were at Pizza Hut when it happened. Grace leans over the table and says "I think my Pod is leaking, it's wet and smells like insulin." Yep, we have a leaker. I encouraged her to go ahead and change her Pod, right there at the table. She objected, stating that others would look at her. If you know Pizza Hut at lunch time, everyone in that place is just worried about their pizza and their kids, running amok in the place. I let it be. I told her she could change it when we got back to Mom Mom's place.

Grace decided to change the Pod in the car on the ride back to my mom's place. Since I was driving, it was all on her. It usually is anyway. I'm just the sidekick in this rodeo. As we were driving, I hear Grace say from the backseat "It didn't beep, Mom." She meant that when filling the Pod with insulin, it hadn't let out its customary small beep that let you know that it reached the minimum fill. We listen for the beep every time. If it doesn't beep, that's the first sign that something is going awry with that Pod. In the six years she has worn the Pod, I honestly can say we have had only the Pod not beep maybe 2-3 times. So, this was unusual.

I told her to try and prime it anyway, maybe she missed hearing the beep. She pressed the buttons to prime it, but the Pod was smarter than us. It immediately stated there was a Pod error and to replace the Pod immediately. Grace told me, then looked at the vial of Novolog. She turned it upside down and in a strong voice said "We don't have enough insulin to fill another Pod. We only have about 20 units in the vial."

I kept on driving. We were an hour and a half from home. I thought of all the things I could do:

- Shots until we get home. Sure, I don't have any Lantus with me in case of Pod failure, but I could make 20 units last until we got home and got more insulin.
- Find the local CVS and get an advance on a bottle of Novolog.
- Get the insulin out of that non-beeping Pod.

We arrived at my mother's place. Grace and I went to a nearby room to change her Pod. And I tell her my plan. I am going to suck the insulin out of the non-beeping Pod, and put it in a new Pod. You would have thought, after I told her this, that I said our plan is to make ourselves some insulin in a lab.

"Mom, you can't do that. THEY TELL YOU not to do that!"

Well, there's textbook diabetes, then there is real life diabetes. I told her in no uncertain terms, that if she were in this situation again and couldn't access more insulin right away, but had just put insulin into her pump that she knew was good, to go and get it back out!

I tilted the Pod downward, with the fill button opening toward me, took out the fill needle and drew out 180 units of the original 200 she put into the non-beeping Pod.

"Well, look at that" she said.

"Honey, you do what you have to do so you can wear your pump. I am not saying this is an everyday practice, but we find ourselves far from home with no more insulin. This is what we have to do. I know they say not to do it, but sometimes you just have to. We just MacGyvered your pump."

Sorry to say that because she is 13, she had no idea what I was talking about.

(This is NOT medical advice. I am not a doctor. Just a mom with a Type 1 child, stuck far from home with no more insulin, trying to get through the day. Consult your doctor and of course, follow all OmniPod guidelines. Don't pin this one on me.)