Blog Entries With Tag: George Michael

Posted: Jul 18, 2013

When I first started to wear an insulin pump back in 2008, I didn’t realise that wearing one would restrict some of my clothing options.  Living in Montreal, the fashionista capital of Canada (okay – there’s Toronto – aka mini-me USA – but they just don’t have that French flair like we do ).

It was sort of nice since January, when I took a pump break, not to have to spend the extra time to pick out clothing that would not reveal a bulge of George Michael aka GM (pun intended there – remember – I grew up with Benny Hill) my insulin pump.  Now that I’ve been back on the pump for over a month now, I realise that I have to take extra time to figure out what to wear that will allow me easy access to George Michael.   Hmmm, should have I had added that time factor into my application for DTC?

I did the stint for almost a month of wearing the infusion set in my arms.  That was kind of neat – almost like I wasn’t wearing an infusion set except when I’d hit a muscle or nerve ending in my arm with the stainless steel infusion needle (found Contact Detach/Sure-T does this more than the Inset 2 sets). One thing I am going to try out if I can get some samples of shorter needle/cannula length for the infusion sets - just like I have done with the shorter 4mm pen needles I started to use back in April.  My absortion with the shorter pen needle created no change in my BG's - which I thought it would due to my not being a slim gal (as I had told the RN when she gave me some samples of the BD 4mm pen needles said skin depths for absortipon of insulin doesn't change in the human body).  Anyway, back to old GM, here  I was tucking him into a sports bra – where I couldn’t believe that despite how hot it gets inbetween the girls – the insulin would keep on performing 100%.  My fear, like other diabetics is that heat will deteriote our insulin – but after 3 days of using the same insulin in the cartridge – my blood sugars (BG) stayed stable.

Actually, stable isn’t the word I should be using here.  I’ve been experiencing hypos (low BG) more often - that almost reminded me of my days when I was MDI prior to going onto the pump (one of the reasons I went onto the pump in the first place was due to having frequent hypos.  I sort of didn't understand how to use my combinations of insulin properly pre-2008, I was trying to learn how to do the poor man's pump method - but not quite doing it correctly.  As I keep on telling pumpers who’ve never gone back to MDI since starting on the pump - being on the pump has taught me how to fine tune with ONE insulin and that with that knowledge - you can easily transferred over to using TWO insulins when doing MDI.  It really isn't that difficult - honest - you've just got to know how to use your insulin(s) - and their little quirks.

So, with the hypos I’ve been having – sometimes a few a day – the things I have planned to do – that usually involve some activity (even simple grocery shopping believe it or not) – have to be shelved.  I do NOT like to have my diabetes rule what I can or cannot do.  My poor DH has to put up with my having to tell him that I can’t do this / that – and he’s so far not really sad much – as I go “I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry” or “Get me some quick acting sugar NOW!!!”.  What a range of emotional outburst I put him through – that is so not me – that it makes me cringe if a fly is on a wall witnessing this (thank goodness they don’t have the ability to hold a video camera).

My basal rate has now been reduced by almost 20% - but I’m still needing to tweak it abit with some more basal testing since now I am going low in the afternoon (very rare for me).  If that doesn’t work and I’m still experiencing low blood sugars (hypos), then it’s looking at my carb ratio (I:C) – which I have slightly changed since I’m now understanding I’m insulin sensitive.  The other thing to look at is my Insulin Sensitivity Factor (ISF) - which to me is a trial and error type of test - since there are a few different formula's out there to deterimne what is best for "you".  

Ahh isn't diabetes control a fun puzzle or what?
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Tags: set (1) infusion (1) DTC (1) Disability Tax Credit (1) basal (1) pump (1) insulin (1) George Michael (1) GM (1) Ratio (1) Carb (1) ISF (1) Insulin Sensitivity Factor (1)
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Posted: Feb 23, 2013
Moi (in my mind) saying

Well, as I type this out, I have Careless Whisper from George Michael playing in the background.  It's been almost 2 months now that I disconnected from him - my Animas 2020 pump - in preparation for my holidays I took - where I didn't want him compromised by more s/w issues that my past 2020 pumps have experienced when going thru' the security systems at the airports.

Before I'd left on my holidays, I had finally heard back from Animas Corporation in the USA on my issues that I've been calling them about / blogging about / talking to them since mid-December.   I was told by Francis Crane who is Supervisor of Animas Customer Support (lovely lady from Georgia - but your sweet accent doesn't fool me ) I'd have an answer answer on January 28, 2013.  I told her I'd be away at that time so  she said she would call me when I got back.  Of course, as soon as I got back home, I called Ms. Crane, left 2 voice messages over almost a week.  When I heard back from her, she could not give me an answer <disappointment>, and that it had been given to someone by the name of Alecia now, in the technical department area, and I would have my answer no later then Friday (Feb 22/13).  

That call has never occurred.  

My question to Animas Canada - is why did they wipe their hands clean of me - and send me over to Animas Corporation in the USA?  I purchased my pump here in Canada, not the USA.  It also scares the heck out of me due to T1D's in the USA who have had their pumps "gone bad" replaced with a "reconditioned pump(s)".  One such American said that within 3 months - they were given each time a reconditioned PING pump - in the end - they gave up on the pump all together due to continual technical problems and went back to MDI (multiple dosage injections)..  Here in Canada, when I had called up about this a few years ago, apparently our laws differ from the USA.  Canadians are given a new pump when they receive a replacement - phew.   Though, I'm not sure if that is a good "phew" or a bad "phew".

I still to this day - as I posted in my other blogs/discussons on this situation with the Animas 2020 pump - firmly believe that Johnson and Johnson knew full well of the problem well before the issue was made public (when many of us were still under warranty).  That with both registered letters that many of us received - that they are admitting culpability in the fact that they DID NOT post anything in their literature or training manuals even after discovering s/w originally developed had the built in "Self-Destruct" sequence of the date  versus delivery of insulin.

I still scratch my head as to why, when the issue was known back in "March 2012", and I myself was still under warranty - why my replacement 2020 pump was not a PING - which supposably has no issues - would I be any further ahead with having had that pump I wonder?

The other question that is running around some of our heads these days is also .... how long is an insulin pump supposed to last?  Many other pumps made by other pump manufacturers last 10+ years with no issues to the user with dispensing of their insulin coverage.

All I can say is .... SHAME on you big corporations that hold us in your grip - for us to use products that we trust our livelihood on ....   Animas Canada / Corporation you know full well that you are in the WRONG.  

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Tags: PING (1) 2020 (1) software (1) technology (1) date (1) delivery (1) warranty (1) George Michael (1) Johnson & Johnson (1) pump (1) insulin (1) Animas Canada (1) Animas Corporation (1)
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Posted: Dec 19, 2012


Okay – I maybe wording the title incorrectly – but this is my take on a copy of a letter from Animas Corporation.  In a nutshell, as of January 1, 2016 my current pump aka George Michael (GM) will no longer function.

GM – who I acquired back in February 2012 – is no longer under warranty – that finished up in April 2012 – so he’s screwed for being replaced with one that will function past that date according to the letter.   That’s despite him being a spanking brand new pump (manufactured in September 2011) – he has no protection – except I was told if I had technical issues I’m still permitted to call up for help.  I am though forever an optimist thinking/hoping that he will last longer than the 2 years I seem to get out of the previous Animas pumps (Antonio Banderas and Salvador Dali) that I’ve had over the 4 years since I switched over from MDI (multiple dosage injections aka poor mans pump).   Forking out $8K+ every 4 years (or get a loan at who knows what interest rate) – is not something I am looking forward.  That’s a lot of cash to spend on a medical device that you hope lasts for awhile – but in the letter today – the software as of the Jan 1st date will no longer allow the pump to work.  So, my dreams of writing a blog about how long my pump has served me with similar  stories of pump users having their pump still working for close to 10 years – is in my eyes – a pipe dream.

In the letter, dated December 17, 2012 – it states – “ We want to inform you that the software included in the Animas 2020 insulin pump only operates until midnight on Dec 31, 2015.  After this date, the pump will no longer deliver insulin and will generate a Call Service Alarm”.  They go on to state that “this end of use date is not currently included in our product labelling.”

Hmm, wonder why they left that out for users like myself when we are  looking at purchasing a life saving device that some of us have had to pay out of pocket for?  Would I (we) have questioned owning a pump whose software stops functioning on such and such a date?  I know I would, and now am pondering if I should just forgo pumping after George Michael bites the dust, or consider going with a pump manufacturer that will guarantee that my pump software will remain working beyond the warranty time frame.  I have been shopping around to find another pump manufacturer that is available here in Canada – and have found one – but for now – I am holding my breath until I really have to consider replacing GM.

One thing my DH who works for an aircraft manufacturer, was saying that software on avionic boxes (e.g. transponder, air data computers, cabin software) gets updated regularly.  If these weren’t updated, technically you cannot fly the aircraft without some of those updates – aka “unserviceable”.  Why cannot the 2020 pump software be updated so that it works past this date of “expiry” stated in the letter?  This is a question I am going to be putting to Animas Canada – to see if they can give me a legit question.

Come on GM - please live to at least December 31, 2015 - don't be like your former brothers in arms !!!

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Tags: Antonio Banderas (1) Salvador Dali (1) software (1) warranty (1) George Michael (1) 2020 (1) pump (1) Animas (1)
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Posted: Jun 3, 2012

I've been undergoing physio for a tennis elbow problem (see earlier blog at this link).  Well, that all ended this past Friday - since the anti-inflammatory medication I was prescribed by a walk in clinic doctor seem to be doing the job (if not - I have to wait for an appointment in August for a cortizone shot - which I'd like to avoid if I can).  I'll still have to keep up with the exercises that my physio therapist had given to me - to strengthen up the muscles in the elbow area - but for now - I can type away much longer (and I'm not wearing the tension elbow band - since I left it at the sailboat last week - oops).  The main thing - I have my work station set up - so that is one step in the right direction.

I had asked the prescribing doctor at the time if the medication she prescribed would affect my blood sugars - and she said it wouldn't.  I must have been doubting this doctor in my mind since I asked the same question to the pharmacist when I picked up the prescription.  They said the same thing.

Well, THEY ARE WRONG!!!  My blood sugars since starting on them have been more wild then the craziest roller coaster ride I've been on.  I am unable to get my blood sugars to my happy zone - so riding in the 180 - 250 range - even with corrections via syringe - increasing basal rate.  I was not a happy camper - if you follow me in Twitter or Facebook - you would have seen my meows of frustration.

Today, I was in a discussion on one of the diabetic groups I follow on Facebook for insulin pumpers - and a gal was having problems with her own BG's (maybe due to an infection we think - but not certain).  I told the group of my problems lately - and found out that anti-inflammatory I'm taking is a steriod  and these WILL alter your blood sugars ((though the website for what I'm taking doesn't seem to mention this).  Also, a pharmacist friend (also a T1D and having probs with her own blood sugars) had mentioned that even if what I'm taking is NSAID, or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory, we all differ in how we react to medications we take.  Another point she made, which makes sense, it could be from the cortisol release from the pain or inflammation I'm taking and not directly related to the medication. All good points to consider, and great to have a medically trained member on some of the groups I belong to!

One fellow mentioned that I should up my basal rate on my insulin pump by 30% while I was taking these meds.  So, off I went since 10% isn't working for me, changed my settings on Michael George and he started alarming. WTF?  He was only set for no more then 1 unit of insulin per hour for my Maximum basal rate - so he was alarming that he  would not deliver due to my settings.  I've never had this type of warning before - so learned something new today. I also had to change the Total Daily Dose (TDD) setting so George is permitted - otherwise he'll alarm again.  Now you can see, that we humans still rule what our pumps do for us, without our permission to override the program we've set up for them - they will alarm, and alarm, until you follow the simple procedures to change your settings.  There are alot of safety factors in operating and using an insulin pump - to protect the user.

I have to admit.  Since I had DKA as a teenager in the 80's - I don't think I've ever used this much insulin before.  I'm not sure if it's also to do with the weight gain from menopause - but feel probably the hormonal issue is what is adding to my blood sugars going wacky.

All I know is, hopefully I will be able to eat my meals abit better now.  I mean, why shove food into my body, when my blood sugars are so high?  Food only contributes to make my blood sugars wacky!!  I know, I know, we need some sort of energy food, so I'm doing my best, but very difficult especially when I have to eat in order to take the anti-inflammatory medication since you can't take these pills without food - or nasty tummy problems occur.

Ahhh - the life as a diabetic on a roller coaster ride - sometimes it's not all fun and games - but we survive - especially when we've got mates out their in the D-OC (diabetic online community) that come to your rescue with advise when you need it!
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Tags: tennis elbow (1) anti-inflammatory (1) non-steroidal (1) blood sugars (1) NSAID (1) Naproxen (1) cortizone (1) insulin (1) basal (1) high (1) injection (1) pump (1) George Michael (1)
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Posted: Mar 6, 2012

Well, hopefully I haven’t left this second post too long to end the story.  I’ve since discovered that my Dad is still on Facebook (long story) – so even if you posted any comments – he knows the story (though he’s not said anything – he’s a quiet man).  So, on with my little tale of two pumps – who are only trying to do what they do – make me stay alive and healthy with the control of my diabetes.

Last week I told you about the woes of Salvador Dali, my Animas 2020 insulin pump.  George Michael went back to Animas Canada a few days later as he had served his purpose of saving me during my holidays, then all hell broke loose again.  It was time for his never ending insulin cartridge refill that he goes through every 2-3 days (depending on how much insulin we go through – I average 75 units every 3 days of NovoRapid). 

So,  I do the steps we all do with our insulin pumps, DISCONNECT from infusion set that is in our body, REWIND the motor, put new  insulin into cartridge, RELOAD cartridge back into pump,  TIGHTEN the cartridge cap, then PRIME the infusion set tubing.   What happened next though had never occurred, I’d placed the new insulin cartridge into the pump, and was waiting for it to reload up (on the screen after it’s done this – it shows you how much is in the insulin cartridge and then you start PRIMING).  Instead, somehow Salvador tripped up on a few steps, he never told me he was ready to PRIME the tubing, but he just kept on going, e.g. he unloaded the WHOLE  75 units of insulin (into the kitchen sink – I went running over to it – as usually he only squirts out 2 units – this was a stream!!!)  It all happened so fast (wonder if the real Salvador was fast like this – you know – in the boudoir), that I thought perhaps I had missed a step – heck – you never know.  So being the ADD  gal that I am, I decided to do the WHOLE process over, and once again, the same thing occurred – SCREAM!!!   Pressing on any buttons on my pump didn’t stop the action – he just kept pushing out yet another load of insulin.  In the meantime, my DH has made a video of the process, just incase Animas doesn’t believe me (trust me – videos have saved me in the past with large corporations who care about their products when it comes to making a legitimate claim).

 I was right pissed off now (in a polite British way of course), even more if I was an American consumer (and I mentioned this to Animas later on). For Americans, depending on their insurance company they are only allowed so much insulin / blood test strips – if they go over – it’s either out of pocket – or they go without!!!  I mean, how often do you waste 190 units of insulin within a 10 minute period – unless your ratio for insulin is like 1:1 !!!  Now, after skirting out all the insulin a second time, Salvador started doing the same scenario he was doing that caused me to abandon him during my holidays a week before – he was saying:  WARNING – PUMP IS NOT PRIMED. NO DELIVERY. CONFIRM.

I immediately am typing down everything that has just occurred as I wait on hold for Animas Customer Support to answer – and this is all around dinner time – when I’ve just prepared a lovely meal – and I’m hungry (good thing my blood sugars were in the happy zone at the time).  After a 5 minute wait (was amazed at how short it was) I explain the situation with Salvador – advising them to read over the notes in  my file– and within about 15 minutes of answering questions, etc. – they are all set to call up Animas Canada – and get a new pump to me that evening.  That response REALLY amazed me – as I thought that they would be humming and hawing – especially with my warranty ending on my pump – and the fact that this is the 2nd  replacement pump I’ve be receiving from them in 4 years.  I was gob smacked to say the least.  So I hang up the phone, and go off to prepare myself for injecting for dinner, and wondering if Animas USA is not pulling my leg about getting a new pump to me via Animas Canada, as we are having a heavy snow fall outside.  Within 15 minutes, I get a call from a service representative here in Montreal, she’s shopping at the time (crazy woman it’s snowing like cats and dogs) – and she’s asking me what are my 1st and 2nd choice for colour for a new pump – and the pump will be there in under 3 hours.   I thank her profusely – tell her I have to take her out for a coffee one day (she speaks English AND lives about a 10 minute drive from my house – small world).   All of these calls started at 18h00 on a Friday evening – and by 21h00 hours – my new pump – PINK – and named George Michael like my vacation loaner pump are all nicely nestled in my home.  Now, is that service or what?  My only hope is that this latest pump will last longer than the 2 years that each 2020 pump I’ve had over the years has lasted, and that the government of Quebec gets a pump program for adults – similar to Ontario.   If not, I’ll be doing pole dancing as a part time job in order to help pay the loan off (hey – it’s good exercise – don’t put your nose up at it!!).

NB:   I have had a few vacation loaner pumps over the years, along with replacement pumps.  I have LOTS of spare manuals.  I decided to tidy up all the spares I have, and ensure I have only one copy (in French and English) with all the correct settings written in the column provided in the manual (on my holidays – I took the wrong manual – with old pump settings – SCREAM).  In one of the manuals, I came across a letter dated March 19, 2010 – URGENT: MEDICAL DEVICE NOTIFICATION.  This was for One Touch Ping Glucose Management System and Animas 2020 Insulin Pump users.  The letter basically describes exactly what occurred during my holidays with Salvador Dali – and what he had done for his final bow to the curtain.   So, obviously, this is a problem with some of their devices, and as usual, I seem to have this knack for having a sign on my back that says “KICK ME”.  I’ve heard from other pumps users – mostly non-Animas users – who’ve never had any problems with their pumps – and their original pumps keep on ticking way past their warranty stage.  Let’s hope my luck has changed with this 3rd pump – and that I have a long and happy life with George Michael – because sadly – Animas doesn’t make a purple pump … yet … and if I’m ever to change again … I want a purple razzle dazzle pump!!!

If you click on Salvador's picture above - you will find a beautiful tribute to him - RIP Salvador - xoxo

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