The pod was applied and my PDM’s “start” button was pressed. My body tensed in anticipation of the cannula inserting itself into my skin. It doesn’t cause excruciating pain, but the sensation isn’t exactly pleasant. I waited, listening to the pod tick as the mechanism inside it started to work. I closed my eyes, knowing the pinch would come soon, and waited a bit longer. My grip on the chair tightened. Why was it taking so long? I waited some more. Beep! My PDM chirped at me. I looked down at the screen, which bore the following message:
“Pod is active. ‘basal 1’ has been programmed. Check infusion site and cannula. Is cannula properly inserted?”
I should have hit the “no” option, but my bemusement with the situation prompted me to hit “yes”. I still hadn’t felt the cannula insert itself.
“Ugh! Mom, it happened again…” My mom, who was in the kitchen with me, came over. I explained to her that the cannula failed to insert itself for the second time in a one-month span.
Neither of us had a clue what was going on the first time it happened. I followed the typical pod-change routine like usual and braced myself for the cannula insertion. It didn’t happen, but the “active pod” message appeared. We exchanged confused looks and I began to second guess myself. Did the cannula go in, and I just couldn’t feel it? Did this mean I was becoming invulnerable in the face of the cannula’s prick?
Just as these thoughts were coursing through my mind, my mom and I both heard a loud *click* that made me yelp in surprise. The cannula pierced my skin at last, after an inexplicable lapse of time. Normally, you feel the cannula go in once it has been successfully primed with insulin. This is followed by the “active pod” message on the PDM. This time, though, the PDM message deployed while the cannula failed to until a solid three minutes later.
We didn’t know if it was okay for me to continue using the pod, so we got on the phone with OmniPod to get confirmation. Sure enough, the delay in cannula insertion is a known “needle mechanism failure” that apparently affects pods once in a blue moon. We were told that I would receive a pod to replace the faulty one, and that was pretty much the extent of the conversation.
I hoped the incident would be a one-time thing; obviously, a second occurrence within a month proved me wrong and also sets me on edge. So far, things have been awesome with my OmniPod. When it works, and it usually does, it’s incredibly convenient. But when the unpredictable strikes and a pod fails or the needle mechanism itself fails, pricy pods and insulin are wasted and I become very frustrated.
On the bright side, I removed the second pod blighted by needle mechanism failure before I had to experience the shock of it pricking me unawares. And I can say with certainty that after these two nettlesome (needle-some?) episodes, I’ll be very happy about every successful pod change going forward.