Hello all. Last Tuesday night, just before midnight, I had been dozing and woke up after hearing a faint siren-type alarm. I though it was a faraway clock. I got up and started to go through my usual pre-bed routine when I heard it again. At that point, I thought I was hearing things. I was pretty tired. Needing corroboration, I asked my husband if he heard it. Thankfully, he said yes. Sweet child o’mine merely looked at me like I was losing my mind, although I think the way I asked her might have been odd. “Have you been hearing a little siren?” Then I imitated the sound. She quietly answered that she had not heard it. I went back to getting ready for bed when I heard it again. But I could not find the source. Still later, hubby & I were standing in our bedroom talking and suddenly, there was the dang alarm sound! It was coming from ME! Well, from my Medtronic pump, to be exact. We both froze momentarily. You can imagine the panic that ensued. From me. I was freaking out. That’s when my husband stepped in and took over. He helped me dial the doctor’s office and Medtronic. This enabled me to calm the heck down – as much as I ever could – under the circumstances. We spoke to the necessary folks and I planned to to see my doctor and the Medtronic rep on Wednesday.
I arrived at my doctor’s office the next morning and they jump-started the device. I was sent home with reassurances of “minimal chance at best that it would happen again.” And “I mean, if it happened again tonight, THAT would be a problem.” And so, I floated home on a cloud of semi-confidence and mini-withdrawal. The day went on as well as could be expected since I’d been without morphine for ten hours overnight. At 9:45 p.m. – you guessed it! – that siren’s song began again. This time, I was able to get a grip on myself long enough to call the appropriate people. The rep explained that I’d likely have to get my pump shut off the next day. That meant surgery as soon as possible to replace it. We made a new plan to meet back in the office the next morning. Dejá pump.
Since my doctor has multiple offices, on Thursday I traveled to the upper west side – I’d never been there before – and waited. After a while, I was escorted to the examination room. The rep and my doctor talked about my options. Doc was asking me if I really wanted to have it shut off. To be honest, I don’t know how anyone else would have felt, but I didn’t trust the whole situation at all. I’d been without my medication for another 12 hours and my body really felt it. We were rapidly creeping toward the weekend. If I waited, I was potentially risking another fail and limited access to my doctors. As we debated, the alarm sounded again. The pump apparently decided to make the decision for both of us. After a “Mission Impossible”-type code was entered into the little computer that reads the pumps, and it was verified by the rep and the doc, they shut it off. They said it was final, which is why we had to be absolutely sure. I was. But it seemed so surreal. Five years of life-saving relief….. Gone, at the touch of a button. Something in me just……… I can’t explain it. I had to bring myself back around to the conversations at hand. I was given a prescription for an increased dose of a med I was already taking. Papers needed signing. Consents had to be given. And then I left.
To be continued.