Thursday, August 23, 2012

Battery Caps and Needle Nose Pliers at 2am.

Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love and adore my insulin pump. But a few weeks ago we had a teensy weensy incident that ended up being one of those comedy of errors things that made me realize how ridiculous technology is sometimes.

Let me set the scene for you:

It's about 2am, the house is dark, I'm sleeping, my husband is sleeping, all is right in the world. All of the sudden I'm jolted out of my deep slumber by my head buzzing.  It's my insulin pump needing attention. I keep it on the "vibrate" alert mode, and when I sleep I tuck it under my pillow. So, you can see how at 2am when it started vibrating it would've rattled my brain a little bit.

My pump was alerting me that I needed to change my battery. No big deal. I knew this was going to happen soon since I'd been keeping a close eye on the battery symbol on my pump for days and knew that I'd need to "power up" soon. I'm a cheapskate, and I like to get as much power out of one battery as I possibly can, so I usually wait to change the battery until my pump alerts me to do it. This time the alert happened in the middle of the night, but that's the price I pay for saving a buck or two at the store.

Any way, back to the story. The pump alert jolts me out of my sleep. I groggily fumble with the pump to see what it needs, realize that I need to change the battery, and proceed to stumble around in our dark house trying to find the extra batteries I keep.  I get the battery, find a penny with which to unscrew the battery cap and start unscrewing it. And keep unscrewing it. And keep unscrewing it. My sleepy brain thinks "huh, this is taking a lot longer than usual," but because I'm half asleep I continue to unscrew the cap for probably another 5 minutes until I finally realize that something is very, very wrong.

I know that I only have about 30 minutes of power left in my battery, so I end up on the phone with Animas' tech support at 2am. (Thank goodness for 24 hour support!).  I told them what was going on, that I couldn't get the cap off, and they had me try a few things. Then, they pulled out the big guns and told me to hunt down a pair of needle nose pliers. At 2 am. I said, "um, I don't think we even OWN a pair of needle nose pliers" and the tech person hemmed and hawed a little bit but just kept insisting over and over and over again that I NEEDED to get some needle nose pliers. At 2 am. Seriously, this was their fancy tech-y fix. They wanted me to pinch that cap and yank it off with a pair of needle nose pliers, and could offer me no other immediate solution. In fact, when it looked like I was never going to be able to get needle nose pliers right at that very second, the rep asked if I would be able to procure some the next day to see if I could yank the cap off to see what the problem actually was before they sent me out a replacement pump  Um, no.

Well, we were actually able to find a pair of needle nose pliers in my husbands multi-tool, and we yanked that dang cap off, and this is what we found:

One of the plastic threads on the screw-in cap (which was brand new!) had just split off! Luckily, I still had the old cap, so I was able to put the old one back on and make my pump usable again. To Animas' credit, they sent me a new one for free (don't even get me started on how annoying it is that I have to pay for a new battery cap every 6 months and that it is NOT covered by my insurance). I like Animas, I really do. But I think the materials they use for their pumps are CHEAP. (But that's for another post, which I will be writing in the not-so-distant future).

So yeah, if you have an Animas pump, you might want to invest in a pair of needle nose pliers. Just sayin'.


  1. Everyone in possession of the brute strength it takes to strip threads without realizing it needs to own a set of needle nose pliers. That's just one of the unwritten (well, no so much anymore as I just wrote it) rules of life. Come on, you should know this by now. You should also be in possession of a tap and die set, a pile of coal so you can crush individual lumps into conflict-free diamonds in your vice-like grip for inexpensive and interesting presents for your friends and family, and the ability to be gracious when perfect strangers compliment your rippling muscles.

  2. So, I had to look up what a tap and die set was. But I agree, it seems handy. And boy do I wish I could crush coal into conflict-free diamonds! Although, I'm not sure if I'd be able to be gracious if strangers were trying to talk to me about my muscles, I'd probably think they were creepy. But, it's all worth thinking about!

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