Pump Ghoulies

My pump has ghoulies.  It was acting very weird yesterday.  Having my pump act weird is not something that makes me feel safe.  Here’s what happened.

I was making some changes to my basal rates and noticed that, every now and then, I had to press the buttons a little harder to make them work properly.  Whatever.  Not a big deal. 

But then I started to get no response at all from pressing certain buttons.  Bigger deal. 

And then my pump started doing things on its own.  Like scrolling through numbers really fast.



Fast.  Without me touching it.

I managed to get the basal rates set the way that I wanted them, but realized I wouldn’t be able to change anything or bolus for anything.  Having spare insulin pens in my fridge, I wasn’t too worried about that…however I was worried about the fact that my pump seemed to be doing things of its own accord.  Things I didn’t want it to do. 

Luckily, a friend of mine had access to a pump just like mine that I was able to borrow until Medtronic could get me a new one.  Whew!  I’m pretty sure I would have been facing a night of manual basals if not for her. 

So, I went over to my friend’s house to get the loaner pump.  I took off my pump and set it on the counter to start programming the new pump with my rates…which I couldn’t access because my pump buttons weren’t working.  Luckily I’m a nerd and had all of my rates in a spreadsheet from last week.  (I was logging again and looking for some trends that needed fixed.) 

Anyway, as the pump was sitting on the counter, it suddenly started vibrating.  We looked at it, and here it was, counting up a bolus for me!  With no human intervention whatsoever!  (Not exactly a reliable closed-loop system.)  Without actually giving the bolus, it then stopped counting, vibrated again, and suspended itself.  I suppose that’s a good thing.  Better than random, unrequested boluses!

Then, amidst more vibrations, it told me it was having a “Button Error”.  Clearly.

More vibrations, then incessant beeping, and finally I took the battery out to put an end to the madness.  Thankfully by this time I was connected to the loaner pump and feeling much more secure.

When I got home I phoned Medtronic and the cheery, helpful representative assured me that my pump (still under warranty) would be replaced as soon as possible.  She said that the Button Error warning comes up when a button is pressed/held for 3 seconds or more, so it’s an indication that one or more of my buttons was sticking. 

I still think it was ghoulies.

Anyway, I was told I could have a new pump today already if I was willing to go with blue, purple or pink….which I wasn’t.  So my “smoke” coloured pump will arrive tomorrow – hand-delivered to me at work.  That’s service!

This experience really made me realize how ridiculously dependent I am on my pump!  I mean, I guess I knew that, but it really hammered it home last night.  It’s fantastic technology….as long as it’s working!


5 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Nicole on June 28, 2010 at 8:39 pm

    I am on my third medtronic pump (in less than two years)….hopefully this one doesn’t have ghoulies!!!! It’s freaky isn’t it? I was pregnant when the first pump went “button error” – let me say that I nearly died from a panic attack…but medtronic had my new pump to me in three hours. Back in April (pretty much a year after the first error) I had my second ghoulie attack…this time they had my pump to me in 1 hour. I’ve stopped wearing my pump in my bra because supposedly women have more button errors than men for just that reason. I hope your new pump is ghoulie free 🙂


    • Thanks Nicole! I always wear mine on my waistband of my pants. This is the first time I’ve experienced the ghoulies and hopefully my last! You’re right, it is very freaky!!


  2. Posted by Tammy Elliott on July 3, 2010 at 11:27 pm

    It is good to read some of your experiences here. I am the Mother of a 9yr old boy who has had Type 1 since he was 6. He has been pumping 2-1/2 years and we are on our 3rd Paradigm 722. It is very scary. Logan went to Diabetes camp last week and I picked up some info on Medtronics new pump that is waterproof up to 12 ft. for 24 hrs. I would really like him to have that since we live in Florida near the beach. He is a “brittle” guy, and has been hospitalized 2x in the last year. I am finally able to sleep thru the night for the first time in 2 years since he has been out of school. Basal rates seem correct now. Until his next Testosterone influx. Keep posting.



    • Thanks for your comments Tammy! Glad to hear that the pump is working for Logan and you’re seeing some improvements! Wishing you and Logan all the best!


  3. Posted by Vicky W on August 12, 2014 at 2:35 pm

    My Godson has a Medtronic Paradigm Veo and has been accused by diabetes nurse of resetting the times on his pump to cover up data about eating the wrong foods. His parents don’t believe this for a minute and he denies it- I wondered if you have heard of any similar glitches that could explain this. He is nearly 14.


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