Off the Dial

Pump Adventures

My kids are going through a funny phase right now.  When I do something they like they say, "You’re the best mommy in the world!"  Luckily, they haven’t caught on to the flip side of that; I haven’t heard anything about being the worst.  I’m sure that’s coming. 

The DVD player in my van stopped working a few weeks ago and Slade fixed it.  Benny is delighted and thinks his dad is a genius.  "Daddy is the best fix -it man, " he said from the back seat the other day.  "He is the best daddy in the world!" 

Those fix-it talents were tested just a few days later.  I tried to bolus Benny yesterday for a high blood sugar (180).  When I went to unlock the pump, though, a message I’d not seen before was on the pump’s screen.  The pump was beeping and read "remove battery to stop alarm," along with the message – call for service.  Oy.

So we called Animas, the people who make our pump, and they talked us through it.  Turns out the pump runs 250 diagnostic tests on itself every minute.  When it finds something it doesn’t like, it lets you know.  She instructed us to reset the pump (sort of like rebooting your computer) and we were all set.

Except we weren’t.  Tried to bolus him again (that just means giving him insulin with the pump) and no dice.  Same message screen.  Grrrr.  Back on the phone with Animas, same reboot.  While we did that, though, we got the same alarm message screen.  Apparently 3 strikes and you’re out – they decided to send us a new pump.  The next day.

Slade and I looked at each other and realized that the next 24 hours weren’t going to be pleasant.  The pump automatically gives Benny insulin every three minutes (that’s the basal) and we use it to give him a dose whenever he eats (that’s the bolus).  No pump means no insulin and that means Benny could get very sick in just a few hours. We’d have to use shots again.

Quick call to our amazing Pediatric Endocrinology office.  The doctor on call wasn’t Benny’s primary, but she was wonderful.  She talked us through the insulin doses (we’ve been letting the pump do the math for the last eight months) and gave us instructions how to restart pumping when we got the new one.

The last time we’d used a needle to give Benny insulin was last July.  The thought of having to do it again, likely every three hours even overnight, did not thrill me.  But when there’s no choice, what are you going to do?  I steeled myself for some tears and went on with the evening – dinner, homework, playtime.

Slade, though, had one last idea.  He rebooted the pump again and replaced the lithium battery, even though it showed it was at full power.  Success!!  We made it through the night and it even if it poops out now, we should get the new pump in just a few hours.  What a relief.  And I feel even better telling Benny that yes, his dad is the best fix-it guy in the world!!!!

Thanks, Checkers

How much fun was that?  We had a terrific time at the Charlotte Checkers game.  Many thanks to the team for a wonderful family experience, a terrific effort for charity and a once-in-a-lifetime chance for me and my daughter – we both rode the Zamboni!


I was invited to this game because the Checkers were donating proceeds to women’s cancer charities.  I host a health show as well as the morning show at WBT and they asked me to make an appearance and some announcements.  The ride around the rink was optional – but how could I say no?

I wasn’t sure how this would work – could I hold the kids on my lap?  Would they even let them get near the Zamboni?  In the end, we decided that Lea and I would just sort of take a walk and leave Benny & Slade in their seats.  I was glad we did; it was a long walk through the corridors of the Arena all the way to the other side where it turns out two Zambonis were waiting!  Good thing because they don’t allow riders on laps – one to a seat, please.

We passed Benny and Slade in the stands – the first time around we got smiles and waves and blew kisses.  The second time around he realized he wasn’t getting a ride and after that it wasn’t so fun.  Slade thought fast, though.  He took Benny over when the players started coming onto the ice.  Benny got high fives as they walked by and one of the players even gave him a game puck. 

The kids both got to come with me as I made some announcements.  Lea and Benny realized they were on the enormous arena television screen and everyone was happy.  Whew!

We’re likely going to another Checkers game in about two weeks, for a family night with JDRF.  I may have a problem – Lea may think she gets another spin around the ice!


On the Ice & on TV

Couple of fun things coming up..

Last year I taped a health video with our local health department.  It was available on line for a while and now it’s airing on public television.  Saturday morning at 9am is the next airing – you can check WTVI for more listings or watch the podcast on demand.  If that link doesn’t get you there, just look for the Healthwise show that focuses on Women’s Heart Health.  A warning, though – it’s an hour long show and my bit is a few minutes right in the middle.Chubby_card

Sunday afternoon I’m taking the family to The Charlotte Checkers game.  It’s a great event, they call it Pink in the Rink.  Money raised benefits womens health charities.  Good cause, but here’s the best part for me – they’re letting me ride the Zamboni!  I’m holding out for driving it, but somehow I don’t think that’s going to happen.

Hopefully Monday I’ll have some pictures.  Hopefully they won’t involve me falling off or crashing into anything!