Wednesday, September 22, 2010

In Pump Failure, And In Health.

Some of the most common advice about wedding planning is that while you can try to plan out every detail, it is nearly inevitable that something will still go wrong.  A and I heard this from many people as we planned our wedding, which took place in June of 2009.  A lot of times, however, you don’t realize how good the advice you’re getting is until it becomes reality.

I’ve mentioned before that our wedding day had a couple of minor catastrophes. I’m not talking about flowers being the wrong color or reception food being cold. I’m not talking about hung-over groomsmen or rainy weather. No, when I have a catastrophe, I go big – I’m talking about our photographer not showing up, and my insulin pump dying.

(Let me preface this story by telling you that I’m not sure how I didn’t freak out in a ridiculous fashion about either of these issues. I think my Bubble of Wedding Day Happy must have prevented me from feeling the full force of either situation.)

Pictures were scheduled to start at 9:00 am, with the guys first, then the girls, then all of us as a group. At 9:05, with our photographer nowhere in sight, A got a little worried and got out his cell phone. “Hey, it’s A, just wondering where you are. Hope everything’s okay. Give me a call back.” After a few moments, the photographer called back.

Incompetent Jerk: “Hi, A. What do you need?”

A: “What do I need?  I need you here! Where are you?”

Total Loser: “Um, I’m at home. Why… what’s going on?”

A: “You’re supposed to be here! Right now! It’s 9:10!”

Guy I Wanted To Strangle: “Oh, sh!t. It’s today? I had it written down as next weekend! Oh sh!t! I’m on my way right now….” (Important Detail:  he lived an hour's drive away from where we got married.)

A: “Don’t even bother. We’re done.” *click*

And thus began the couldn’t-be-more-last-minute search for a new wedding photographer. On a Saturday morning. In June; the peak of Wedding Season. (HA!  AHAHAHAHA!  HAAAAA!  /crazed and delusional laughter)

Sheer luck and chance led us to finding someone. And not just someone – a super great guy who’s a well-established photographer in the area. As fate would have it, we caught him on the one Saturday in June he hadn’t booked himself out, because it was his daughter’s birthday. As fate would also have it, his wife was willing to wake him up so we could talk to him (he was still sleeping when we called), and he was willing to give us his whole morning and as much of the afternoon as we needed.  We’ll never be able to fully express our gratitude to him for that.

I also owe thanks to my brother, who was elected as the person who had to go tell me that the photographer wasn’t showing up. That takes courage.


My wedding day preceded my involvement (or even awareness of) the DOC. I didn’t know that other ladies had pockets built into their wedding dresses for their insulin pumps – so I did on my wedding day what I did every other day; which was to hide it under my clothing via undergarments. More specifically, my Deltec Cozmo pump was between my Spanx and I, and both of us were all wrapped up in layers of satin and tulle.

In retrospect, I can see the trouble brewing. At the time, I thought nothing of it. It’s a waterproof pump! I've had it for four years with no problems!  It’ll be fine!

And, fine it was, until A and I were in the vehicle that transported us from ceremony to reception. We were sitting in the back seat, being excited and nervous (and hungry), when all of a sudden my pump starts incessantly vibrating.

Spanx + wedding dress + sitting down in a car = a pump that’s REALLY HARD TO GET TO.

Upon retrieving it, I noticed that the screen had a bunch of gibberish on it, and that none of the buttons were responding. It kept vibrating, then beeping… and I couldn’t do anything to stop it. Nor did I know if it was delivering any – or way too much – insulin. I had to disconnect and take out the battery.
And that's when the tears came.  Why now, Mr. Pump?  Of all days in my life, why did you die today?  And not only today, but two days before I'm leaving the country on my honeymoon trip? 
In addition, Deltec/Smiths Medical (the manufacturer of my insulin pump) had announced a couple of months prior that they'd decided to discontinue the Cozmo and leave the diabetes supply market.  In my mind, I was imagining horrid scenarios where I'd try to call the customer service 800 number, and that pre-recorded robot lady would tell me "This number is no longer in service".
I was also imagining horrid scenarios where I wouldn't get to eat my own wedding cake.
Thankfully, for the first time in my insulin-pumping life, I had asked my internist at my last appointment for some back-up supplies.  It never occurred to me that a pump failure could happen on the actual wedding day - I was thinking about the overseas trip.  My brother once again stepped up to the plate by quickly driving to my house, getting the specified supplies out of my fridge, and bringing them to the reception for me. 
After the reception, I got on the phone with Smiths Medical.  Let me just say, they were wonderful.  I explained the whole story.  About how it was my wedding day, and my pump had up and died with no prior warning.  About how I was flying overseas within 48 hours.  And you know what?  They had a new (well, refurbished, but a working) insulin pump at my door within 12 hours of my phone call.  Awesome.
That very same wedding advice can (and always should have been) applied to my diabetes life, as well.  You can plan and plan, but things can still go wrong.  The best robot parts can still malfunction, and they can have spectacularly bad timing.  Having back-ups of everything helps to make those small bumps in the road seem a bit less like mountains.
And that cake?  It was delicious.

Possibly the most worthwhile use
of a back-up Humalog pen ever.


  1. haha. happy wedding :o) i guess the important part is that he still married you, robot parts and all. *thumbs up* you got a winner.

  2. Congratulations on your wedding nuptials!!! You sound like me - always having Plan Deux in motion - even tho' I may be a freaking screaming woman - but with your main squeeze next to you for the next XXX years - life will be good (my hubby can vouch for this - we celebrated 22 years recently of our ball 'n chain affair).

  3. You have my infinite admiration for not freaking out.

  4. Oh my word! I'm at a loss.

    Congrats on your wedding and for getting through all that in what sounds like an exceptionally composed manner.

  5. OMG, I got married 2 months ago and for the first time ever, I went DKA. Yes, 18yrs of well controlled D and I spent my first 2 nights of married life in the ICU.

    My story got picked up in a blog here:

    Congrats on your marriage!

  6. Thanks everyone! I (embarrassingly and inadvertently) left out the part of the story where my husband was the most awesome and calm person I could have asked for that day. He's sort of the mayor of Awesomeville.

  7. WOW...that is quite a story...That photographer - UGH. Diabetes I can forgive, he has always presented himself as an unreliable bastard...the photographer...not so much.

  8. OMG! I definitely would have freaked and bawled. My pump has malfunctioned once and it took 24 hours for a new one to arrive overnight. It was on a weekend I had nothing planned and I still cried my eyes out. It's weird how easily I can freak out when something with the D goes wrong. Normally I'm an extremely laid back person.

  9. Hey girl! I just found and started following your blog today! I love reading SUM posts and now you are on my must read list! I was afraid of something like that happening to me on my wedding day and after hours of dropping BS and chugging several cokes in my wedding dress we took a Lantis shot and used a Novlog pen the rest of the day! Diabetes sure can mess things up!


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