Tuesday 4 June 2013

"Failed Batt Test"

That pesky warning that pops up when we change batteries in Dylan's insulin pump, and perhaps one of my most hated diabetes phrases. Why, you ask? Shouldn't changing a pump battery be a simple, straightforward task? One would think so, but in our case it seems to always be anything BUT simple.

I honestly have no idea how often the pump batteries should be changed, or how long they're "supposed" to last. I guess it depends on what kind of batteries are used, and maybe how frequently the pump is accessed. Alarms, night lights, bolus reminders, do they use extra battery life? Probably. Regardless, it doesn't matter in our house, where batteries, especially AAAs and AAs, have always been more sought after than toilet paper.

With the amount of battery-requiring electronics, one would think that we had a surplus of spare batteries lying around, but that is far from the case. One would also think that as a parent of a child with an insulin pump, I'd have extra batteries reserved exclusively for pump use. That would certainly make sense, but, again, would be incorrect. Well, kind of. I buy batteries for pump use, but no matter how explicit I am about their purpose, they get snagged up by kids and used in other devices - toys, remote controls, video game controllers, etc.

Case in point: about 6 weeks ago, Dylan's pump was nearly out of batteries, so we took out the old one and went to pop in a new one, but couldn't find one. The next step was to take a partially used AAA our of an electronic device in the house, yet every one we tried failed the pump's battery test. We literally lined up batteries on the kitchen counter, testing one after the other. We'd put it in, tighten the cap, and wait. "Failed Batt Test" would appear on the screen, over and over. Finally, after over a dozen attempts, we found one with enough life to pass the battery test and power the pump.

It was mayhem; an absurd and unnecessary amount of panic and stress, after which we swore we would NOT got through again. So we hid a battery where only my hubby or I could find, so that we would have a spare no matter what.

Last night, while we were changing Dyl's infusion set, I noticed that the battery bars were empty, so I took out the old one and went to my "hiding spot" to grab the spare. Only it wasn't there. WTF??? I asked my husband, "do you know what happened to that spare battery we set aside for Dyl's pump?" "Oh, yeah, I think it's in the clicker for the Blu-Ray player," he responded. Hmmm. After a few muttered expletives, I grabbed the clicker and took out the two batteries, placing one after the other in the pump. "Failed Batt Test" on both. Are you friggin' kidding me?? I didn't even bother testing any others, as I know from last month that a AAA can have enough power to operate a remote control, but not enough to power an insulin pump.

At 10:00pm I drove to the store, bought an 8-pack of AAAs, took one out for the pump, and locked the rest in the glove compartment of my car. No, not really, but lets hope the next time we do a pump battery change there are some left!

1 comment:

  1. Are you using a Medtronic pump? They are made to reject batteries that aren't fully charged. Also, their recommendation to use only Energizer batteries is more than just a marketing ploy... I believe that the way a drop in voltage represents a depleted battery is different in Energizers than, say, Duracell, and the battery "power meter" is calibrated to match the Energizer. Another battery might appear "bad" because the pump thinks it has less remaining power than it really does.

    Personally, I buy a giant pack of AAA Energizers once a year at Home Depot and store it with my other diabetes supplies, not with other batteries. It seems to work for me...