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Last Thursday's Drama

My sugar was over 300. I total failed on my lunch carb count guess and needed to correct a couple of hours after eating.

After the bolus my pump was down to just under 2 units of insulin left. I knew I was going to run out at work so I had already brought my insulin with me and a new reservoir to fill and replace.

I do this a lot. Not because I want to hoard infusion sets or anything but sometimes, it sucks to have to change a site especially at work so I just refill the reservoir, prime, and off I go.

Not last Thrusday.

So there I was at my desk, I filled the new reservoir, set my pump to rewind, pulled the empty reservoir out and attached the new one. As soon as the pump was ready to go, I slid the reservoir in and twisted it to lock it.

I pressed the ACT button and listened for that familiar sound of the pump motor humming along and the plunger finding it’s way into the back of the reservoir. Instead of the usual beeps I hear I heard crazy beeping coming from my pump. I looked at the screen hoping to see the normal 0.0 but instead saw ERROR A33.

I tried again and the same thing came up. Third time is a charm right? Wrong! Same error.

I dialed up Minimed to let them know what happened and at the same time, I pulled out the reservoir. It turned out the pump primed 60 units into me during those attempts.


I checked my BG and was still high but I knew that I was going to crash and crash hard. I am talking about 75 units on board at once I think. That includes lunch, the correction, and the malfunction.

I was scared and started eating glucose tabs. I ate over 30 of them (which I never want to eat again) and drank 3 regular sodas and when it was all said and done, I was 113. That was 5 hours later without any insulin pump or shot in the meantime.

Scary as hell.

I received a replacement pump the next day (yay for my warranty that ran out on May 24th) and set it all up but that night was rough. Waking, testing, and bolusing all night forced me to stay home and wait for Pump 2.0 to show up. When it did I entered all my settings and started getting my “pump on” asap.

What did I learn from all this? A few things. Number 1, I will never do that again. If I decide to just change the reservoir I will always disconnect my site. Number 2, diabetes sucks and I hate it more than clowns and Michael Bolton or even Michael Bolton dressed as a clown. And Number 3, paramedics need better training about diabetes and type 1 especially.

But that is for another post this week. I am just glad I got through all that crap. Thanks to all who helped me through that day. Your tweets and support helped tremendously! 

Reader Comments (7)

WOW George! Scary shit. Happy to hear you were able to keep from totally crashing. The thought of eating 30 tabs has me nauseous.

{{hugs}}. I had a nasty habit of refilling w/o changing sites or disconnecting. Never again (well ok, right now I'm on MDI, but in the future!)

May 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFloreksa

George: Indeed, scariness... Was late to the Twitter updates that night and darn near fell out of my chair when I saw your messages about it. I'd never encountered or really much explored the whole A33 Error issue before, and it opened my eyes and served as a reminder about why disconnecting is so important - I do this from time to time, but luckily haven't faced that A33 code before. Those paramedics... I mentioned this when talking at a D-Camp recently this past Sunday and two of the D-Parents in the audience were a sheriff's deputy and EMT - both were astonished by those idiots' reactions, as you described them. Sounds like a place where more training is needed, indeed! Anyhow, glad it all worked out in the end and all is OK on your end, everything considered.

May 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMichael Hoskins

Jeez G! That sounds like it was terrifying. I hope you're ok now. Massive virtual hugs coming your way!

And 30 glucotabs? I really don't envy you :/ the thought of four at a time is enough to send me into a nauseous mess.

May 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSam

Wowie. I still can't believe you were able to handle those 60 units. Great job. I know it wasn't as easy as you make it seem above bc I was following along. And holy cow, I am so lmbo re: Bolton dressed as a clown. :)

May 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLorraine

I'm so glad you made it through that in one piece. It was a scary thing to sit and watch from the sidelines. Scary stuff indeed.


Lesson learned, the hard way. At least it will stick, right?

May 26, 2010 | Registered CommenterScott K. Johnson

I'm glad that everything worked out. All of us (your tweeps) were worried about you.

I had something very similar to this happen to me some years ago. The earlier Paradigms (which Minimed said were waterproof) had a problem after several months of getting wet: the motor wouldn't recognize the pressure of the reservoir during priming.

I disconnected before rewinding and priming, but when I saw insulin coming out of the set, I thought "okay ready to hook up and give the fixed prime." I ended up giving myself 25-30 extra units instead of 0.3 by just barely pressing the "ACT" button. Scared me shitless.

May 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJeff

George! I am so sorry for the troubles. Bad enough when we go thru roller coaster periods, then turn around and this happens. But, at least you handled it well and and can testify what NOT to do next time. Lessons learned...again.

Take care!

May 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMark

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