Most of you know, I started insulin pumping back in 2008 with an Animas 2020 after 40+ years with multiple dosage injections (MDI). Sadly, with the problems over the years when I go on holidays with a pump – it often fails on me - and I have to use the loaner pump that all Animas owners with a warranty can take advantage of. I also had always brought MDI back up incase the loaner pump also crapped out on me (See NOTE1).
On a recent trip to Martinique, with my assortment of insulin products I use for my MDI adventures - I experienced a little scare when it came to doing my basal injection with Levemir (I decided to give this a go again - doing 3X shots a day every 8 hours rather than the usual Lantus 2X a day regime).
When I went to give my 14H00 Levemir injection with the NovoPen Echo (my American readers - it's now available in the USA as of January 2014) - like always - I went to prime the needle for injection.
Nothing came out.
I primed it again with 2 units instead of the normal 1.
Nothing came out.
I then started to panic. Yes, I did have another 1/2 unit pen needle - the Novolin-Pen Junior - which has my NovoRapid in it for my bolus injections - but my mind wasn't thinking logically of taking out the vial of Levemir and inserting it into that pen. In cramped quarters on a plane – I just really was wanting to be a Princess!
Along comes my night in shining armor - my DH - saying something he'd said before when I used to fly with my insulin pump.
"Air pressure in the aircraft may make the plunger mechanism go wonky"
Hmmm, I then looked down in the window where you can view the insulin cartridge in the pen - and yuppers - the piston rod had gone back up to the top - even though earlier in the AM shot (in the airport before we left at the ungodly hour of 0600) - it had been in the correct position. The plunger had actually retreated back to it’s base!
So, I pull pen needle apart, and get the piston rod to behave the way it should. The one thing with the "improved" NovoPen Echo - is the rod seems more flimsy than the Junior pen I've been using for about 3 years (the piston rod seems more strong). We're thinking maybe it's due to the Echo pen having "dose memory" of how much was injected and abit of an ability to tell you how long ago it was done (it's not the most precise for time of dose).
After that - all was fine - and on return trip 3 weeks later (sigh - good bye warm ocean breeze and dolphins) - it never occurred. Still - it makes me wonder - does this happen that often with an insulin pump - that the plunger mechanism can rewind itself back?
In the meantime, I’ve posted to @NovoNordiskCanada on Twitter about this glitch that happened – and I’ll keep you posted with their reply. Hopefully if all goes well - compared to how it went with obtaining a 1/2 dose pen delivery system will be easier than it was last year!
NOTE1: Hmmm, this doesn't make an insulin pump sound very reliable does it - well - in my case - I sometimes think I've been jinxed - so don't worry - if you are new to pumping - just ensure you have every possible back up with you - incase something goes wrong – since without insulin – we are plain and simple - DEAD. It's always better to be safe than sorry - and I can do it all in a carry on for a month (I really should make a YouTube video on how I do this – it’s so easy - and trust me - I still bring more then I need even in a small space). All the “legal drugs” we have to tote along can take up space (what leave my sexy sandals behind?? NEVER). Though some airlines now will allow an extra carry (e.g. tote bag that fits under seat in front of you) as long as it contains ONLY medical equipment (always check with your airline carrier first).