Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Battery Life

As a diabetic pumper, I am living life with a AAA battery. I am giving my life to Energizer, and hoping that like the commercials promise, they are just will just keep going, and going and going.  Unfortunately, as much as the battery company wants its products to keep going, there is times when the battery must die, and therefore, whatever product is it keeping alive, dies with it.    When that product is something a little more extreme than a talking baby doll or a flashlight, that is when the battery life story begins...

Living the battery life isn't appealing, like your favourite toy you got when you were little sometimes you just don't have the extra battery to keep it going. The difference of course is that when your mother told you that the battery in your train set 'died' the task to get a new battery may have taken much longer than you expected, but you get over it and find a new toy, or steal from the television remote.  For an insulin pump, the moment you get the warning that you have a "LOW BATT"  you need to take some sort of action and while I admit, sometimes that comes with delay due to lack of preparation, the task of the new batteries in the pump happens quickly.

There is something about changing a battery in your pump. It doesn't happen to often, the batteries tend to last a long time, and by long time, I mean usually at least a month.   So, it is often out of the blue that you feel like you have to change your battery, when really it is usually the same span of time, every time.    When you unscrew the battery capsule, and the dead AAA battery falls out, and your pump screen is blank, I feel like all of a sudden my pump is nothing.  The thing that is saving my life is just OFF.  It is an odd feeling, and you would think that this concept would apply to when you leave your pump unhooked, but it just is a different feeling.

Like I said, it seems like your pump dies 'out of the blue'  and for me, I feel like it happens at the worst times possible.  Now, I sometimes get 'feelings' when I know I am going somewhere, or doing something obscure, and feel like the chances that my pump will die are high - usually this doesn't amount to anything, but hey, I was being precautions.  Thinking about this some more I thought of three good examples of 'The Battery Life - Living on The Edge' occasions.

1.  The Cottage  Battery  Life

I packed my bags and headed to Conestoga Lake to visit Michelle and her family for the weekend at the cottage they had rented last summer.   I always remember pump supplies, but for some odd reason, I thought, it's only one weekend, why do I need batteries?  Likely, I didn't actually think that, but something did or didn't cross my mind and the batteries were left behind.     Lying on the grass tanning with Michelle, I felt a vibration. My instant dreaded thought was low reservoir, and I wasn't looking forward to having to change my site and fill a vial, but to my shocking surprise, I had a 'LOW BATT' warning.

We were in the middle of no where and I felt like a huge convenience, but we visited the cottage next to us, to see JUST IN CASE and lone and behold, the nice cottager had a drawer full of batteries. She suited me up with 1 AAA and I was back to pumping and tanning again!

2. Testing, Testing, 1, 2, LOW BATT

I was just about to write a midterm at Fanshawe last year, I had my pencils ready and waited outside the classroom for the Professor to let us in.  But then, once again that awful noise that the pump makes when it wants more batteries!   I had no time to run back, and I am sure I could have made some excuse to run back home, but I knew that it wasn't THAT BIG OF A DEAL.   I quickly text my friend Mitch about it, and he responded with the fact that he had a low reservoir, I instantly didn't feel bad about my bad preparations and headed into the exam.

3. The Dying Beach Date

I had just started 'seeing' Vince and he invited me to come to the Beach with all of his friends and I brought Michelle with me as well.   First, Michelle and I got lost trying to get there and showed up pretty late, but once we got there, my pump realized I was having too much fun and decided to conk out on me mid beaching.    Michelle and I had to head to the general store to buy expensive AAA batteries to keep myself going for the rest of the day!

There are many stories about low batteries, and I am sure everyone has a good story to tell. It is funny, how mad we get when the batteries go out in the television remote, or our remote control car, yet here pumpers are all over telling humours tales of when their batteries went low in the insulin pumps!

Moral of the story:   Always keep a couple AAA batteries on hand!


  1. Hi Kayla,

    The LOW BATT warning represents 10% of the juice left. So, you can go a couple days after receiving the warning. I've done it.

    Try to think of "Pump Supplies" as you've mentioned as including batteries - it's true!

    Jay G

  2. I always keep a battery in the zipper compartment of my meter, along with my spent test strips. It's a bit unsanitary, I suppose, but in some philosophical sort of way, it's a slow, graceful introduction to my DNA before being put in charge of life support -- a position of much power (pun intended).