Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Lori gets a new pump

Yesterday I resurrected my blog to write about the frustration I experienced this weekend at the hands of Medtronic customer service.

Since my Medtronic pump is out of warranty, I was seriously considering switching to an Animas pump. I simply don't like being told one thing by one person, and something by another. Good customer service is high on my list of musts. However, being in Canada Medtronic is the only company here that offers a CGMS system and it's something I've been striving toward for the past year, especially with trying to get pregnant (no it hasn't happened yet, but that's a story for another day).

So... I've decided to stay with Medtronic. I ordered a new 522 this morning (in pink!), and will FINALLY be able to cash in on their minilink transmitter and 8 sensors deal for $299.

I have to say that never have I been more grateful than to live in Ontario. With the province now covering the cost of pump and supplies for adult Type 1 diabetics, it was as simple as having my diabetes team fill in the government form, forwarding it to Medtronic, and BAM - Lori gets a new pump. No worrying about whether or not the insurance company will approve or deny coverage. PHEW!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


I "turned off" my blog for a while because honestly, I just didn't feel like blogging about diabetes anymore. There are a lot of you out there with blogs, which is AWESOME to know that there is such a large diabetes community. But I kind of felt like my voice was getting lost in all the other blogs that are out there (and I see that someone now has a blog called Bittersweet) so, long story short, I gave up. No other way to put it.

But I've resurrected my blog today because I have had the most incredibly frustrating weekend involving diabetes, that I feel like this is the only place to vent about it where people actually get it (I posted my frustration on Facebook, but most of my friends - who do not have diabetes - do not really appreciate what I've been experiencing).

It was my mom's birthday on Saturday, so my sister and I brought her to Toronto for the weekend to see Jersey Boys (great show by the way). We had an incredible dinner before the show. We all overindulged, but since it was my mom's birthday, we still felt like we should have cake (especially since the restaurant included a free piece of sinfully-delicious chocolate cake to those with birthdays). We opted to order pieces of cake "to go" to enjoy later in our hotel room after the show.

When we got back to our hotel, I tested and was slightly high (8.2, or 148 in the US) so I took a correction bolus. We didn't sit down to enjoy our cake until about an hour later... I got ready to give myself a big bolus because it was a fair-sized piece of cake. That's when the trouble started.

I got as far as the screen to enter the number of carbs I was about to eat when all of a sudden the pump wouldn't recognize any of the buttons I pushed. About 5 minutes later it started vibrating and the green backlight came on with a "Button Error" message.

I promptly got on the phone to Medtronic's 24-hour technical support phone line. Note that by this time it was around 11:45 p.m. I waited about 30 minutes before someone finally answered my call. I understood since it was so late, I figured there was probably only like one person working in the call center. At least there was someone to answer my call.

The person was located in the U.S., so after taking all my information he said that he'd have to transfer me back to someone in Canada to arrange for delivery of a replacement pump. No big deal. He put me on hold (to terrible music by the way) and came back a minute later to say that he was having trouble transferring the call so he would get in touch with someone in Canada and they'd call me back in 5 to 10 minutes.

Well, I waited... and waited... and waited. By 2:00 a.m. it was apparent that no one was calling me back, so I decided to go to bed and try them again in the morning.

Side note: While I waited for Medtronic to call me back, I called around to various pharmacies in the area that we were staying, but none were open 24 hours. Although I had syringes with me, I didn't bring my back up Lantus insulin (note to self - ALWAYS carry Lantus when travelling, no matter how short the trip) so I woke up every 1.5 hours to give myself a unit of Novarapid. It actually worked really well, but I was sooooo tired in the morning.

Ok, so 8:30 a.m. Sunday morning I call Medtronic again. Same 30 minute wait before I speak with someone in the U.S. again. I explained what happened the night before and that I was supposed to get a call back from someone in Canada. She apologized and said that she'd stay on the line until she reached someone in Canada, which she did and she transferred me to that person. The guy I spoke with in Canada also apologized and said he didn't understand why I didn't get the call back because he saw the note on my file.

Anyway, he said that I would receive a replacement pump the following day on Monday (which was yesterday). Guess what? No pump. I called Medtronic again at 5:00 yesterday and they said, "Oh, the delivery date is scheduled for tomorrow (Tuesday)." WHAT?!?!?!

So I'm thoroughly frustrated with Medtronic right now. And I am due for a new pump (mine is actually now out of warranty, so they were sending a loaner pump for up to 90 days until I can arrange to purchase a new one). I am strongly considering switching to Animas, but unfortunately Medtronic is the only company in Canada with a CGMS and the discount for the CGMS is only offered with the purchase of a pump.

Any opinions on Animas vs. Medtronic? I've seen a select few of you out there with Animas pumps in the U.S., but I don't think I know of anyone in Canada that has one (seems that Medtronic almost has a monopoly here). If you really wanted a continuous glucose monitoring system, but the only company that carries it displayed poor customer service, would you forgo the CGMS and switch to another company, or stay with them because you REALLY (like REALLY REALLY!!) want a CGMS.

I really appreciate your opinions! Thanks. :)

p.s. If you're wondering, "What about the CAKE!? Did you ever get to eat the CAKE?!" The answer is that I put it in the hotel room's bar fridge that night and brought it home with me the next day... I finally got to enjoy it last night. And it was definitely worth the wait. ;)