Tandem Occlusion Alarms: Crying Uncle

Last week I published a blogpost addressing my annoyance with false occlusion alarms on my Tandem X2 insulin pump. Periodically Tandem techs have advised me that using a case might eliminate the alarms and that has actually been my experience. But I hate the case which makes the pump heavy and bulky instead of slim and sleek. Thinking that maybe adding something to the pump to protect the vent holes might mimic the case, I experimented with attaching a black plastic ring to the back of the pump. 

A few hours after publishing the blogpost, I added an update:

7/26 Late Morning: Unfortunately my science experiment is already a FAILURE with an occlusion alarm during basal delivery this morning. I totally jinxed myself by publishing this blogpost. In defeat I have already taken off the black washer. I spent 45 minutes on the phone with Tandem and the pump passed all of the tests. Of course it would because the pump works fine most of the time. I even changed my cartridges every 3 days for the last week and a half and got 4 alarms within the last 8 days. The issue has been sent to the local rep and I guess I can try to work with him to get a replacement pump. But I am not convinced that a replacement pump will matter. Why do I get these alarms and so many people don’t???😩😩😩

In my typical stubborn fashion, I put the case-less and clip-less pump back in my pocket. Fast forward to Saturday where I had another occlusion alarm—the 5th alarm in 9 days. (Please note that these alarms stop insulin delivery so they are a serious problem.) Not only did the blogpost jinx me, one of my Facebook friends who never gets occlusions got an alarm on her X2. Then another friend got an occlusion on his Medtronic pump. Occlusions are spreading like wildfire through the diabetes pumping community!

Maybe the wildfire remark is an overreach, but I cried uncle and put my pump in a t:case vowing to wear it clipped to my waistband. Unfortunately I had previously broken my black case  and was stuck using the pink case which I don’t like. Boy, do I sound like someone with a severe case of #1stWorldPrivilege! In my defense, Amy Tenderich of Diabetes Mine figured out a long time ago that design is important for diabetes devices and her 2007 “Open Letter to Steve Jobs” went viral.

The 24 hours that I wore the pink case reinforced now much I hate it. Both the shade of pink and the amount of black showing through the cutouts bug me. I decided to purchase a new case and was disappointed that black is out of stock in the Tandem Online Store and at Amazon. So it was back to the drawing board. I devised a minor engineering solution to secure the Tandem clip to the broken case by using Velcro in place of the missing plastic anchor strip. So far it is working and my fingers are crossed that the fix will be durable. The Velcro does double duty by adding “grab” to help prevent the pump from sliding off my waistband, an unfortunate common t:case problem. 

So it has been another-day another-adjustment to diabetes tech. If I continue to get occlusion alarms on this pump, I will now be totally justified in battling for a replacement pump. If a case solves the alarm problem, I should be happy. But I will still be frustrated. Frustrated that Tandem promotes the small size of the X2 with photos of the case-less pump. Frustrated that many people use the t:slim successfully without a case and I can’t. And maybe most importantly, frustrated that I still don’t understand why.


7/30/18 Afternoon: I need to stop publishing blogposts because once again my fix that was successful for two days FAILED. The clip slipped out of place and the pump fell off my waist mid-morning. Ugh! My latest solution to prevent going back to the pink case is to attach a Nite Ize clip to the back of the case using strong outdoor adhesive tape. There are various pieces of Velcro on the inside of the clip to make sure the pump stays put. Although I do not miss my Animas pumps in many ways, I do miss the clip that easily attached to the pump and held it tightly on my waist.

7 thoughts on “Tandem Occlusion Alarms: Crying Uncle

  1. Ad we discussed earlier, I too have tried everything [including replacing the pump]. This is beyind frustrating & as you mentioned had serious effects to my health. Our reps should confer. Fingers crossed we find our solution.

    • Laddie, I am 70 yo male. I have only had t-slim 4 months but no occlusions ??? I use a Spibelt at night pump and Dexcom receiver nested together. Daytime I use an Amazon flip phone leather horizontal case with magnetic closure … and a thin foam buffer pad between pump and pouch front where magnet is. I do the same for the Receiver. The leather pouch has 2 belt loops and also has a clip for those who do not have a belt….. just an FYI ….. hope it can help ???
      Thanks, Al

  2. I’ve not used a t-slim, but when I used a Medtronic pump, I always wore it in a “tummie-totes” brand waist belt – stretchy with multiple pockets. I loved it, as it was never comfortable in my bra or in a pocket. Maybe that could work in your situation? Hope you find something that works!

    • Thanks, Lucia. My problem is that I hate things around my waist more than clipping the pump to my waistband, I own a Spibelt and a Flipbelt and rarely use them. A Tandem rep called me this afternoon and is sending me a new black case (although they are technically out of stock) and hopefully I’ll just get used to it. 😀

  3. All I can say is that Velcro is the best thing ever. I mean most of the time anyway.

  4. Pingback: Thank-you Tandem: A Replacement Pump | Test Guess and Go

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