Falling Onto My Backup Plan

On a rather gloomy Saturday afternoon, I was sitting at the dining table at home and making good progress in revising for my Financial Reporting exam this week. My pump began to vibrate and I pulled it out, thinking it might be a high alarm.

After 18 months of using a t:slim (and another two and a half years using a reliable Animas Vibe before that), a pump malfunction was the very last thing that I was expecting.

Admittedly, the first thing I did was type bits of my error message into the Tandem Australia Facebook group to see if anyone else had the same problem – and it seemed there had been a few.

After a chat and a bit of troubleshooting with AMSL Diabetes over the phone, we eventually concluded that the Bluetooth on my pump had carked it and a replacement would be sent my way this week.

So, no big deal. The pump was still useable for insulin delivery, it just wouldn’t be able to connect to my Dexcom. All good.

Before bed, I noticed that my pump battery was hovering around the 50% mark. Thinking nothing of it after the earlier troubleshooting, I played it safe and charged it back up before going to bed.

Then at around 4am the next morning, I was woken by my pump, alarming me that my battery was down to 20%. It soon became clear that this malfunction was now causing my battery to drain quite rapidly and the pump was no longer usable.

Which brings me to the backup plan I’ve unexpectedly had to fall back onto.

One of the reasons I wanted to upgrade my pump last month was for the sake of having a spare. After four years of insulin pumping, I’ve reached a point where I have very little desire to manage my diabetes in any other way. For now, at least. With my old t:slim now sitting in my wardrobe, I was able to simply pull it out and seamlessly continue using the pump I know and love.

Obviously, the other part of the backup plan is having an in-warranty pump. One of the best things about distributor AMSL Diabetes is that I can call them any time of the day or night and speak to someone local – and within the space of a few days I’ve already got a replacement pump in my hands.

Of course, if that failed, I did have some long acting insulin in the fridge, as well as friends who I know would be able to help me out with a spare pump if I needed it.

I often find myself thinking about how I would manage my diabetes should the unexpected happen, but I never really think that I’ll need to.

I guess that’s what’s backup plans are for.


  1. Patricia Keating

    Hi Frank, I’m pretty useless with Technology. My generation never had Computers, mobile’s etc, so I get pretty lost getting my head around it all. I manage some how. I have a daughter who’s really switched on and Gran kids that help me. If my Pump dies I’m on the needle until a new pump turns up. Glad to hear you sorted out. A young girl I work with, her Father has heaps of problems with his TSlim.

  2. Merinda

    Geez Frank, you are so lucky that AMSL answered your call. I’m still awaiting a return call for a major cartridge change issue I had way back on 23rd May 2020, caused by a faulty syringe. To quote an old Commonwealth Bank advertP: Not happy Ralph!

  3. Jane Windels

    Great backup Frank. I like how you said you had friends who could lend you a pump. Always good to have diabetic friends, haha! I have an old Medtronic pump I could use or if all else fails the good old needle injection! Have had Type1 for 61 years so I’ve seen A LOT of improvements with diabetes care.

  4. Rick Phillips

    Darn yes, stay in warranty. I have to admit that i am a warranty snob. I am already thinking about my next pump and i have until February 2021.

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