I am so angry right now I can hardly see straight. I have been screwed by a medical company once again. Despite constant reassurances that they would work with me and I wouldn’t get stuck with another pump that didn’t work for me, I am again stuck paying for a pump that does not work for me. I do have to say my insurance is much better this time around and the amount is much less but still. Here’s the whole story.
Some of you may know which pump I am talking about as it is the newest and hottest thing in insulin pumps now. It is almost totally automatic. You enter a blood sugar and it gives you the amount of insulin needed. As for the basal insulin, it has a sensor that reads your sugar level every 5 minutes and makes a calculation for how much to give you. More if you are high and less if you are low.
I had been on a pump years ago and was hosed by the return policy back then. I had 30 days to try it out and decide whether to return it or not. The first 3 weeks after I signed for the package (that’s when the clock started ticking I found out later) I was trained on how it worked both on the phone and online. The end of the third week I was called and given a day at the doctors office to be walked through how to put it on and enter the settings to deliver what was to be my personal insulin doses. They were way off the mark.
5 of the first 7 days I had it on the EMTs were called to the house to wake me up. One of those days it was so low their machine could not read it because it was below 18. 18!!!! The beginning basal dose was 1.8 units per hour. Before I asked to take it off for good it had been dialed back to 0.0250 units per hours in the afternoon. As I said the original settings were way off.
So at the end of that first week I asked to return it. I called the number for the customer service and was politely told I was too late to return it, after only one week of use. I was at that point in time past the 30 day trial period. The worst part? My insurance sucked back then, it was through my employer, and I got stuck with roughly $5,000 for this pump. The insurance company only paid $125 toward the pump.
It was not my choice to wait for 21 of the 30 days to pass me by before I was given the settings to start using the pump but they were still considered part of my trial period. I have always thought it was wrong but what can you do about it. You agreed to the terms so you are stuck with the consequences.
Fast forward a few years and I am now in the same basic boat. I made sure I kept in contact with the company, same company as before. At the end of 2 weeks, I called the doctors office to find out about training. Nothing. A the end of 3 weeks I called the company to tell them I wanted to return it already. I could see where this was headed already. I remembered the last time. “We will work with you. Please stick with it.” was the line I was given. I should have gotten this in writing.
I finally got in for training and was allowed to put it on. Before I get to that I want to list the demands I had made before agreeing to this. First, that we were not going to start with high doses and work lower like last time. Let’s start low and work back up. Second, I want 30 days of pump usage to decide whether to keep it or not. I did not think it unreasonable.
Well this nearly fully automatic pump had the same issue as the last one. It seemed to like to drop my sugar level low. This is were my doctor and I differ. I feel confused and start to sweat from lows at low 90s not 60. “You’re not low there yet.” was what I heard all the time. I did not care what the books said, I could feel what happens to my mind as well as feel the symptoms of my body when it gets too low.
Just to shorten this story up I had the setting changed several times and they wanted me to change my diet also. I was eating too many carbs. Funniest part of that was if you looked at my first week or 2 I was eating about 380 or 400 carbs a day and in the end I was down to 280. My down fall was at work. I work hard at work and it would drive my blood sugar low. I would eat to bring it back up. Then I was chided for not bolusing (taking insulin for the carbs I ate). I never understood that comment. If you are eating to raise your sugar why would you then take insulin to bring it right back down. No common sense. But as I said before, I was not low at 84 regardless of how I felt. I was not going to change the way I had been eating for better than 15 years to fix a problem I couldn’t see.
Now comes the fun part, the doctor and I finally agreed that I could get off the pump and go back to shots. We spent the next couple weeks arguing about where to go next. I was still on the pump at this point. She wanted me to try another insulin (which I had already tried with no better outcome) at a much higher dose than what I had been on before the pump. Why?
Asked about going backward instead of trying something new. NPH only lasts for 12 hours instead of 36 or 42 hours for the other long lasting insulins that I had been on before. The 12 hour time span would let me change doses from night at work to days when I sleep. I thought it much better fit than taking just one dose every 24 hours and being stuck with it all day long. The blood sugars were high in the day at home sleeping and low at work when pushing hard.
Again I’ll shorten this story, I took myself off the pump since we were stuck arguing about where to go next. I was getting worried that if I waited any longer I was going to get screwed again. I had some NPH left from years earlier so looked up the dosing online and started using it. Been working fairly good, no worse than pump for a few weeks now.
I called the pump rep on Friday to ask about returning it. “I’ll sign off on it. You need to call the 800 number and I’ll sign the paperwork.” I called Monday and was politely told that they could not accept the return as it was far past the 30 day period.
It was very hard to not go into an expletive laden tirade over the phone. It was not the operators fault. I’m sure she noticed the sudden change in my voice and manner over the phone. “OK.” “Fine.” “Great.” One word answers were given to avoid adding more colorful language and less than complimentary descriptions of family tree members. My entire world seemed to have moved to Mars. Everything was now red.
All I can say now is that I will never deal with that company again. I don’t care if they make a pump that gives me a happy ending and a sweet kiss in the end. Twice I have tried them an twice I have been left unsatisfied. Twice I have gotten stuck with paying for a pump that does not work for me. I’m not going to say the pump is bad. It may work for others. It does not work for me. I do not care how others feel about them, unless they want to pay for mine also. This is my life and I get to decide what is or is not working for me. Watch for these tricks from any company you get products from. You get a 30 day trial but you can’t actually use it until that last week. Not sure it is new but it is effective.