My ears are still ringing

A couple of weeks ago, two pods in a row failed in priming. Halfway through the automatic priming process, they emitted their ear-splitting sound and the PDM said that insulin delivery was stopped and for me to change the pod. Umm? I was kind of trying to do that already.

I set the pods aside to call OmniPod when I had the time and patience. Then my PDM kept getting communication errors, even when it was two inches away from the pod. every time I retried it, it worked so I moved on with my life. It’s amazing how willing I am to just live with some inconveniences instead of pick up the phone.

Last night the other shoe dropped. My 21-hour-old pod, placed on my arm and being incredibly effective, decided to throw a tantrum. I was changing after work, pulling my sweater over my head when it went off (and getting ready to yank the painful Dexcom sensor out of my leg). I went back downstairs to find my PDM with the pod screaming all the way and driving the cats crazy. I ripped the pod off and put on a new one and decided that I could stick out the painful sensor awhile longer (it was being dead accurate, so why not?).

I called Insulet customer service and spoke to the nicest lady. She asked how she could help me and I explained that I had three different issues to talk with her about and we walked through each of my problems, resulting in replacement pods being sent to me next week and swapping out my PDM.

Why did I put off calling customer service?

 

Spend Time Listening

It’s been awhile since I posted anything significant about diabetes. I still have diabetes. It still creeps into every aspect of my life, it especially horns in on my sleeping as of late.

I started writing this post then the DSMA Blog Carnival topic for October was posted as: What can diabetes educators/HCP learn from the DOC? and I thought this kind of relates, continue reading for some reflections on my last endocrinologist appointment.

Most of the time I don’t have a problem with the fact that my endo sees only adults making me one of her few Type 1 patients or that I’m treated at a teaching hospital and spend most of my appointments with doctors in training*. But at my last appointment I did.

The doctor in training that I saw seriously lacked patient communication skills. She did all of the things that people with diabetes hate. She picked out a particularly high number on my log and asked what happened. I explained to her that I had an infusion site failure, I took the proper steps to fix it and pointed out where my number stabilized (in reasonably short order). She practically disregarded my explanation and fixated on that number and how to fix it for that time of day until I stopped her and said that I did everything right to fix it and that one number didn’t represent my general diabetes status during the afternoons. Then she said, three different times, “Your A1c went up.”

“Your A1c went up.” “Your A1c is up by .2.” Yes, yes I realize that my A1c increased by .2. It’s 6.1 from a 5.9, please move on. That’s only an average glucose increase from 123 to 128. And the goal on my chart is under 7% and my personal goal is under 6.5% so I think I’m doing ok. Clearly, my doctor in training had no idea what it’s like to live with diabetes. She asked about complications (I have none), she asked about any other issues that I was having and I explained my frustration with massive after lunch spikes, which she couldn’t find on my log to be a problem and said, “We’re okay with the 160s after you eat.” That’s when I said, “but I’m not.”

I see these doctors in training for chart updates and basic reviews of my logs since my last appointment, then I see my endo and they go quiet. Hopefully she learned something when Dr. O was unfazed by my A1c jump and was attentive to my after lunch frustration (that was when she switched me to Apidra).

The two positive things that this doctor in training did were to ask me about my pump since she wasn’t familiar with OmniPod and to talk about my kidney function improvement. She answered my questions about what I could do to continue reducing my nephrology risk (continue keeping my blood sugar in range and keep doing what I’m doing with my blood pressure).

This appointment was awhile ago, and I’ve been thinking about it off and on and been bothered by the communication/customer patient service aspect of it. I know that I’m not alone in feeling frustrated when healthcare professionals don’t acknowledge the day-to-day life that affects diabetes and that things happen beyond our control. The logs that they chose to look at were all of my test results from painting and moving into our new house, a situation that is not my regular and will throw my numbers into strange patterns. Situations that need prepared for and addressed, but not treated the same way as my typical routine.

How the DOC fits in Continue reading

You’re Doing It Wrong

I shoo’d a very pleasant salesman (let’s call him Steve since I can’t remember his name) out of our office yesterday. He was selling pampering packages at a “newly opened” spa down the street at a very low price and only had three left.

I barely gave the man the time of day and actually felt a little bit guilty, but here’s why I sent him packing:

  • Last year a pushy salesman had to be kicked out of my office by my boss because he kept trying to convince me I needed a pampering package from a newly opened spa down the street… coincidentally the same package Steve was offering at the same location, but the spa had a different name.
  • Steve asked questions that no woman would say no to (except for me) like: Would you like to be pampered for 90% off? Who doesn’t need a relaxing massage? Those cornering questions annoy me, since they are asked to get me to crack open my wallet while exclaiming “I want that!”
  • Our building has a “No Soliciting” sign posted at the entrance, so I assumed Steve couldn’t read anyway.
  • Really? Only 3 left? I know it’s supposed to make it seem popular or urgent but I saw more than 3 package vouchers in the portfolio he fumbled with.

{Available on Etsy}

Seriously Steve, you’re doing it wrong.

Since Steve was so nice, I rushed him through his pitch and got him out the door in 2 minutes. He’s doing his job and probably lives on door-to-door sales so I wanted him to get on his way for me to get back to my job.

Sales people often get a bad rap and are viewed often as pests. That’s not an excuse for rudeness though. I try to be a nice person but found that simply being nice, wastes my time with salespeople. So I’m trying to cultivate a balanced nice, but firm, manner in which to send them on their way (quickly!).

Any tips or stories you’d like to share?

 

Press Pause

I complain about doctors, hospitals, blood tests, insurance companies and the general lack of communication that seems to take place anytime medicine is involved.

My insurance and hospital forgot how to talk to each other which resulted in erroneous charges to us. I got upset, frustrated and generally bitter. My wonderful husband went through the bills and the insurance codes then called the hospital billing department. He spoke with a man named Bill (please, someone else find that as amusing as I did). In 10 minutes, Bill had straightened out the billing codes and life was good again.

As annoying as billing codes, paperwork and all the other stuff is… who am I to think that I have room to complain?

I get stressed out about finding a space in the parking garage and navigating the massive medical facilities where my health is cared for. I long for it to be easier and more direct. But seriously, what good reason do I have to be stressed out?

The bottom line is this: I have medical care. I have insurance.

Not only that, I have access to world-class medical care and don’t have to drive a great distance for it. I have good insurance that allows me to get the devices that I need want to use to manage my health.

Not everyone can say that.

I’m grateful for where I am in life and for what I have. I’m also grateful for when I got hit diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. I know that if my immune system had kicked into pancreas-killing mode when I was a child,  it would have been a huge stress on our family in times that were already hugely stressful.

Every once in awhile, we need to press pause. Stop complaining. Take a moment to be thankful for what we have.

——

After reading Johanna’s comment about Dr. Bonebrake, I feel compelled to ask anyone to share ironic/interesting/entertaining names as they correlate to jobs…. like a lawyer named “Sue.”

What’s in a name?

We’ve got a lot of letters in our name. We know this and try to make it as easy as possible.

I got incredibly used to saying, “With an E” right after giving my last name. So the transition to a just as distinctive name as Kerstetter wasn’t too difficult. For me.

The other day at the pharmacy I told the tech that I needed to pick up a prescription for “Kerstetter with a K.”

Technician: “Can you spell that?”

I slowly spelled it out. She goes digging through the bins.

Technician: “I’m sorry, you said K-U-…?” Continue reading