Today I placed my trusty Medtronic Minimed 722 in a small plastic box, put that box in a larger cardboard box, put that box in a tear-proof paper envelope, and sent it off to the place where good pumps go when they get old.
The back story: During the flurry of July’s Friends for Life 2011, I spent some time at the Minimed booth. They had examples of fancy infusion sets, some free decorative pump skins, and a man in a giant lion costume, so how could I resist? I had just started talking to one of the friendly representatives at the booth when she got a look at my pump.
“How long has your pump been cracked?” She asked. I honestly had no idea. In fact, I was surprised she’d noticed. It was just a teeny-weeny crack up near the corner of the display screen — the kind of wear and tear, I figured, that comes from being attached to my person 23 1/2 hours a day for more than three years.
She explained to me that if the pump was still under warranty (it was), that I could easily get a replacement. So I did.
I called Minimed and explained the situation to them, fully expecting the person on the other end of the phone to scoff at my cosmetic complaints. Scratches on the screen? A tiny crack? For Pete’s sake, there are children in Sudan who can’t even get their hands on a clean syringe. And here I am, asking for a whole new pump? Delivered overnight?
But Minimed was more than accommodating. The woman on the line explained that, since there was a crack in the casing, my pump was susceptible to liquids, which could render it useless. She advised me to discontinue use immediately and revert to my backup insulin delivery plan (I guess I’d better get one of those!) while I waited for the new pump to arrive. She even let me pick a different color.
I kept my old pump on through the night anyway, careful to keep it away from spilled beer, diet coke, or other rogue liquids, and the next morning a very urgent-looking box arrived at my workplace. I pulled out my new, sophisticated “smoke” colored model. It took the sight of a brand-new pump to make me realize just how busted my other one looked. This one had no scratches! No cracks! No unexplained dents or foreign substances clinging to the little battery screw. It even smelled good!
Which leads me back to today, the day I entrusted poor pumpy to the hands of my friendly neighborhood UPS Store employee, and left with nothing more than memories and a tracking number. I know I’m talking about a hunk of plastic and metal and things that beep, but I can’t help feeling a little guilty about sending my old pump back. After all, that thing kept me alive for over three years! It bolused me through meals of fish heads and pig legs in Greece and Spain. It woke me up night after night with its incessant beeps and buzzes. It patiently waited ocean side through three summers of beach outings. It attended the weddings of several of my favorite friends and family members, tucked in my bra or strapped to my Spanx. That pump was part of my life for three years, and now it’s on a truck somewhere, headed for pump heaven.
That’s not to say I’m not happy with my new pump, or Minimed’s quick response to my complaint. New pump is darker and sleeker, so it should blend in a little better with my jeans-and-cardigans uniform. New pump’s virgin buttons make a satisfying little snap when I press them, and transferring all my bolus wizard ratios, basal rates and sensor settings into new pump gave me a fresh appreciation for all the math equations I’ve been spared along the way.
And so begins a new journey with Pumpy II. I’ll be trying a little harder not to bash this model into counter tops and car doors, but I can’t make any promises. I only hope my new pump serves me loyally through years and untold adventures to come.
Or, you know, at least until I can get an upgrade.