Unfortunate Timing: Motor Error

I really do like the Medtronic System so far.  It’s just unfortunate that I haven’t taken the time to write about the positives before experiencing another negative.

For the past couple of years, I have been blessed to serve with Kerri on the faculty of the CWD Friends for Life conference.  To add another layer of blessing, I was able to bring my family down a little early for some fun at the Disney World parks.

Space Rangers

My son and I, professional Space Rangers

I spent most of Monday exploring Magic Kingdom with my family.  It was crazy hot, and we did a crazy amount of walking, and my blood sugars were all over the place.  Probably had everything to do with all of the walking, the heat, the food, and basically not having any real clue how to manage.

I was also thrown off a bit by the Medtronic sensor not tracking real well today.  Overall, I’ve been pleasantly surprised, but today just wasn’t a great day.  Dehydration probably played a role.

Back home, I’ve also been wearing my Dexcom 7+, just because I’m curious how they compare.  I’m not doing any scientific tracking or comparing, just going by general observations.  So far, they’ve been pretty spot on.  When one of them is off, they both are off, leading me to think there’s more to this whole CGM thing (in general) than I probably think.

Preparing to travel, I felt that wearing both devices was just too much work, so I left the other CGM system at home.

Near the end of the night, my family and I were having dinner and enjoying Sunny Eclipse at Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe when my pump alarmed.

I went through the steps of rewinding and reloading my reservoir, running a self-test, and delivering the rest of my bolus (this happened during a meal bolus).

We started the journey back to the hotel (take the train to the tram to the car to the hotel), and about two hours later I was on the phone with Medtronic’s support line.  I was pleased to connect with a live person right away (no answering service or on-call stuff), and the representative was very knowledgeable and helpful.

We went through a bunch of troubleshooting and everything seemed fine, but because I’ve received multiple motor errors on this pump, they are replacing it.  When the rep asked if the pump had been exposed to any strong magnetic fields or anything similar, I had visions of all of the rides I spent the day playing on.

I have no idea how many of those used magnetic magic to work, but I suppose it shouldn’t be discounted as a possibility.  Have any of you had issues with your pumps at theme parks?

I also want to mention that this is still the same pump that got caught in my ceiling fan a while back.

I should receive the replacement pump sometime on Thursday morning (with Wednesday being a holiday, everything is delayed by a day).  Officially I have been instructed to move my insulin therapy to a backup plan until the new pump arrives.

Don’t worry, I am a prepared PWD. Thanks to my pack-rat tendencies, I have more backup plans to pick from than choices of diet sodapop at a fountain drink machine.

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10 thoughts on “Unfortunate Timing: Motor Error

  1. when we went to our first amusement park after L went on the pump, i was certain to ask every ride operator if this ride had any LARGE MAGNETIC ELEMENTS (as instructed to by the person who did our pump training). i got many blank stares and shrugs from the pimply teenagers manning their stations. i think most rollercoasters don’t use magnets, and the only ones you have to worry about are the ones that are like free falls? anyway, L wears hers on all coasters except for the aerosmith ride. i have no idea why, it’s just her thing.

    love the pic from buzz lightyear. hope you and the fam had a great time!

  2. Hi Scott:

    As usual, anytime I drop by your site, I learn something new about the landmines PWD have to contend with. If there is an issue involving magnetic fields and the devices, it would behoove the manufacturer to create an insulating cover. Same idea goes for the folks who mentioned a possible association with moisture being a culprit.

    I hope you’re back on track.


  3. We had our first “motor error” a few days after returning from vacation. Only happened that one day….but don’t know what to think.

  4. I wear a MM pump, and DETEST roller coasters. Nonetheless, I was interested to see (after I ‘friended’ Medtronic on Facebook) that they say their pumps should be removed before getting on a roller coaster, because of the magnetic force involved in that sort of ride.

  5. Ooooh, what an interesting notion – theme park impacted pumps?!?! Never would have thought of that, not being an amusement park frequenter myself, but that’s a very intriguing thought. Anyhow, sorry for the motor error and holiday delay, Scott. Glad you’re prepared, though, and in the company of many PWDs who could probably help out in a pinch. Strange how there are so many of these Motor Error stories going around. I’ve not had one on this 723, but have had them in the past on other pumps and had them replaced pretty quickly. Wonder if it is something connected to the CGM connections? Thanks for sharing this.

  6. I am surprised they told you not to wear the pump. We had a motor error once, and know several others that have, and they said there were fine to still wear. After talking with them they did send us a new pump. I didn’t feel comfortable with it. She did wear it until the new one came.
    We were at Disney yesterday as well. You are right it was really hot. With all the walking and heat we had a little trouble keeping her BG up, but nothing a few ice cream cones couldn’t do.
    I have found that if you don’t drink lots of water and do get dehydrated the sensor does have a tendency to be off. I am thankful for my daughter’s yesterday as she was low most of the time there!

  7. Just to add about the sweat thing – if you’re going to wear your pump in a sweaty place, put it in a baby sock first.

  8. I’m with George. We may never know, but I’m betting it’s the fan, too.

    Also, here’s my obligatory “water kills” speech. Where’s my soapbox? Oh, there it is. Okay…

    Water kills pumps. These things are supposed to be waterproof, but they get cracks in them, and even the ones you can’t see let moisture in. The motor and button errors that I’ve gotten in the past, have all happened after my pump got wet… usually from my own sweat. (Although I’ve never gotten mine caught in a ceiling fan.)

    Not only is sweat gross; it kills. If you’ve got a Medtronic pump, and you’re going to do any kind of physical activity where your pump could touch sweat, put it in a zippy bag before you put it in your pocket, waistband, bra, etc. (Obviously, you can ignore the bra part, bro.) That seems to be enough for most activities where you’re not actually dunking it in water.

    That’s all!

    Enjoy your “new” pump.

  9. I have not had a motor error with mine. I have spent lots of time in a lot of rides in amusement parks and never had an issue so sounds like that fan ride may have done something.

  10. Ugh, these Motor Errors seem to be getting viral lately. I just had my first one just over a week ago, and without any further errors, figured it was a fluke and I’m in the clear.

    Now I’m scared. Starting to believe PWDs getting motor errors is like athletes getting concussions; after the first, the next is inevitable.

    I admire your calmness through this, and wish you luck. Like you, I don’t want to switch to another pump manufacturer.