(Follow up on the last post. A1C in Sep was 6.4. Done by the lab in Boston. I now like the lab in Boston better than the lab here).
So. I've been pumping for about 4 years now. Apparently, in diabetes-land, this means your pump will now spontaneously explode and you will die quickly. Because...THE WARRANTY IS UP!!! DANGER! DANGER!!!!
|You have to be very careful that your pump doesn't turn into Walter White overnight.|
Ugh. This has not been fun for me. This is because I have United Health Care. (UHC).
Some back story:
I have been using a t:slim pump, made by Tandem. Last May, UHC and Medtronic got in bed together and decided the sweet baby they would make would take the form of forcing everybody to use Medtronic pumps from here on out. Tandem stock takes an immediate nose dive.
The Type 1 community went a little bananas went this got announced, and did lotsa tweeting and calling, (#mypumpmychoice) but as is often the case, tweeting and calling only results in a huge middle finger from the people who just don't give a flying turd what you think. (In this case, that would be Medtronic and UHC).
|Takes on a whole new meaning when applied to companies. Get it? GET IT?|
UHC's response was basically: Most people use Medtronic anyway, so really, suck it up, snowflakes.
And we snowflakes wept a little. Because these companies are run by Weasel-bags.
End of backstory.
My warranty was up (AAAAGGHH!! EVERYBODY FREAK OUT!!!!) and the phone calls started.
"Hi, this is so-and-so from Tandem, and we would like to upgrade your pump."
"Fantastic. Let's do it. But it's going to be a fight, because UHC."
"Ok, we called UHC. You're approved for out of network, which is not really approval at all, it basically means you will have to pay cash, and so to upgrade will cost you mucho denaro. Shall we proceed?"
"But I don't have mucho denaro. Last time it only cost me little denaro. And I love your company. What can I do?"
"Unfortunately, not a whole lot. Let me know if you decide to give us all your money."
So then I get a prescription for a Medtronic pump. And they call me and let me know they are going to send me the 670g, aka the latest and greatest, aka the only closed loop on the market, aka an artificial pancreas of sorts.
I should be happy. but I am not. And do you know why I am not? Because I didn't choose this, it was chosen for me. I would not have chosen this pump. I don't care that it's the first closed loop, I actually would prefer the second or third closed loop, let somebody else work out the kinks. I don't buy the first time anything. And you will pry the Dexcom out of my cold, dead hands. Plus why would I support Medtronic? They're the devil. They are everything that's wrong with drug companies and medical equipment companies. They are Weasel-bags.
After the initial phone call saying they got the scrip, and to let me know the sensors are probably going to be backordered, there was radio silence for weeks.
Finally, I called - "Hello? Is this happening?"
"Um let me call you back."
"Hi. Yes, it's happening, I'm taking over for the person who was supposed to do this, and we're waiting for approval from your insurance."
"Um, well Tandem got "approval"in a day so this just feels like you didn't submit it yet. No way approval takes this long."
"Yes, well, we're just waiting."
THE NEXT DAY
"So we got approval, looks like you've met your in-network deductible, so this will cost you medium denaro, and you'll get notified when it ships." (Feeding my theory that nobody did anything)
Crickets. For a month. But I understand, backorders, etc etc. Really Medtronic is completely overwhelmed at this point, because they submitted this thing for FDA approval, but didn't expect to actually get FDA approval, and there you go..panic mode, backorders, crickets, the whole shebang. (Does anybody say "the whole shebang" anymore?)
Finally, SHIPMENT! And here it is. This pic compares the two pumps.
|T slim on the right. Medtronic on the left.|
|There is not something on my screen, I don't know what that is. Probably a ghost.|
ISN'T IT MASSIVE?
My husband - "This is really the latest and greatest in diabetes tech?"
"Is that a double A battery in there?"
"Yes. And it looks like I will be replacing that every few days."
"It's not a charging battery like your phone and your current pump?"
"So bulk double a batteries are now on the list?"
"I guess. We need to get the lithium ones, I hear those might last a full week."
I haven't told him yet that the software only works with Internet Explorer. He might just pass out, and we don't want that.
Plus, I need a new glucometer. That UHC won't cover. Why UHC will cover the pump but not the meter that goes with it is one of those great mysteries that go unsolved and will cost me more money.
(OK it's not a mystery. UHC doesn't have the same contract with Bayer that they do with OneTouch. The least they could have done in this deal is cover the meter, or make Medtronic be compatible with the one they like, but no, that would be asking too much. TOO MUCH. BE GRATEFUL)
And today I get an email asking me to sign up for a training class. Here's some options for times, it'll take 3 hours of your day in the middle of the week, not to mention an hour travel because you live in boony-land, (not their fault) oh, and please read this material before you come. Which is ok, but the material is for the older version of this pump, because oh, they actually haven't finished the manual for the 670g yet. But it's totally cool, they're pretty similar.
I don't want to go to this training. I don't want to switch pumps. Also, I can't even get the whole "closed loop" thing going, because the sensors for the CGM are on backorder until May, and oh, did I mention that Medtronic has 3 plants in Puerto Rico and I don't know if you know this, but Puerto Rico is pretty much underwater now, and has no power, because of all the death hurricanes and stuff, so...this is basically just another pump but heavier.
(Click here for ways to help Puerto Rico. Seriously.)
So yes, I'm mad.
Because we live in a time where we should be getting MORE options for diabetes, not less. I should be able to look at all the available pumps, decide which one would be right for me, and go with it, even if it isn't the latest and greatest. I can see if my numbers were crappy how they might step in, but they're not. This disease takes so much away from me already, it can at least give me options for treatment. My options at this point are:
1. Pay about 5 times as much for the pump/sensor I want.
2. Go back to shots.
3. Use this pump, and support a company I hate and abandon two companies (Dexcom and Tandem) I love.
4. Try again to build my own loop, with OpenAPS. It was too hard before but I just might be ready now. Screw all of you, because #wearenotwaiting. Hmmm.
5. Something else I haven't thought of. What is it? Tell me.
This is not ideal.
And I know a lot of people LOVE this pump. Heck, maybe I'll get over myself and love it too. I will never love how I was forced to go on this pump or suffer financially. How my options were limited by a bunch of Weasel-bags. (I'm still ticked I'm using Humalog instead of Novolog. I was willing to pay the difference but they stopped sending it to me.)
I know the Medtronic employees I deal with are not at fault, and I try to keep that in mind as I deal with them, even though I am angry. But my anger means nothing. Because you know what? NOBODY CARES.
(Here I would insert a video of Lily Tomlin telling you "We don't care, We're the Phone Company, We Don't Have To", but I can't because it's copyrighted. So just watch it in your head).
The end. Thanks for listening.