Thursday, 20 April 2017


Don't panic! Don't panic, pumper! Oh, weren't panicking, were you?

What a daft and daffy crazy world we live in.

Received an email from my insulin pump manufacturer today. About the insulin pump I've had connected to my Type 1 body for the last ten months, replacing the pump I wore for several years before that. Humph, he's called. Humph the pump, and the blood glucose meter/handset Humph's paired with is Rita. Rita the Meter. I know, I know. I'm a fine one to talk about it being a crazy world.

It's just that this email, with all that red lettering, alarmist klaxons blaring, sirens shrilling, kind of got my heart hammering. Before I had chance to read it, that is.

Was I in mortal danger of imminent pump-tastrophe? Was Humph starting to interfere with the gravitational pull of the Moon? Was Rita's Bluetooth deflecting the flight-paths of aircraft passing overhead and threatening national security? Was some emergency menacing my health or the state of the nation? Not quite.

The email's just telling me, in over-the-top watch-my-lips detail, that I can - *drum roll*- extend my battery life. How? By using only lithium AAA batteries of a certain brand. The very batteries that are the only ones available from the pump company. The only ones they issue with the rest of the pump supplies like cartridges and cannulas.

So I climbed back down off the ceiling, took off my tin hat and got back to what I was doing before my inbox exploded with scarlet scaremongery.

Of course, as an insulin pumper I need to understand the risk of dodgy batteries. Their sudden failure might well put my life at risk. But it's a bit late to tell me after such a long time. Plus, this is the same advice given by the company when the pump was first "fitted" at the hospital. Nothing to see here.

A single battery lasts me anywhere between 32-37 days before I notice any deterioration in performance. I usually change it when Humph and/or Rita start nagging me that battery charge has fallen to 85 or 90%. Any longer and I'm likely to realise my blood sugars are inching up towards double figures (in UK mmol/L) until the penny drops that I've forgotten I need to change the battery. Not recommended, but common sense wins the day. Rita's battery's rechargeable, flattering her self-image as a kind of tardy budget smartphone with added buffering while she calculates bolus amounts. Maybe one day Humph can go a bit more green as well!

In the body of the email, I discover that in spite of purporting to want to help me maximise battery life, they insist in bold that:

It is vital to change the lithium battery every 2 weeks, regardless of the battery indicator.

So I'm supposed to discard the battery, then, when it's only half exhausted.

I'm supposed to waste, not maximise, these non-rechargeable resources.

What's the point of the sophisticated battery indicator in the first place?

The battery indicator was the one thing I was most delighted about with this pump. The previous one, my first, didn't have that. It was all guess work, and no terror-alert emails back then, either!

What was I saying about it being a crazy world? Humph and Rita wholeheartedly agree!

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