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Another Day, Another Issue

December 9, 2013

Pump usage continues, and it’s been going really, really well. Except for the fact that, as of right now, I’m still unable to use the continuous glucose monitoring aspect of my device. Why, you ask? How could it be that, after a full four weeks of ownership, I still haven’t been able to use the biggest component that convinced me this is the device for me?

It seems I’ve been felled by a 5 cent piece of plastic.

My device trainer, Judy, came by Saturday to train me on CGM. We sat and talked about how stable my numbers have been, how well I’m adjusting to pump use, how great CGM is going to be for me. She walked me through the concept of CGM and how it differs from actual blood glucose readings. She described how it’s helped her. (The fact that she’s a pump user and uses CGM in her daily life is great. It helped me take her more seriously. Plus, she’s really, really great. A very sweet woman who was incredibly accommodating and was always available whenever I had any questions.)

We were ready to insert the sensor. This means I’d take the plastic insertion device, load the sensor, and insert said sensor into my stomach. Then we’d attach the transmitter, and in a couple hours I’d be able to start viewing my sensor glucose readings every five minutes, on my pump. It would make plotting my treatment a much more accurate endeavor, and I wouldn’t have to guess as much about what my sugars were, particularly overnight, when I was planning my basal rates. (Learn more about basal rates here.)

I loaded the sensor. I lined it up where I wanted it on my stomach. I pressed the button to insert it. And then … nothing. Judy was flummoxed. “This has never happened before,” she said. I tried again. Nothing. Judy tried. Nothing.

We figured the sensor had jammed the inserter. We tried to get the sensor out for about 10 minutes, and then, finally, it dislodged. All except for the syringe component, which was now stuck in the sensor, and wouldn’t allow anything else to be loaded (or inserted, for that matter). The f*#&ing thing was broken, and I hadn’t had a chance to use it yet.

Judy apologized. (Why, I’m not sure. She didn’t build/market/sell the piece of crap.) We arranged another time to talk. She suggested I call Medtronic and give them a piece of my mind.

I did just that.

I called their customer support number and told them about the numerous problems I’d been having since I received my equipment. The customer service failures. The black hole of training. And now, the simplest of products not even working.

“I’m sorry,” I was told.

“I understand your frustration,” I was assured.

“We’ll do everything we can to fix that,” I was informed.

Basically, they are overnighting a replacement inserter. Since it was Saturday when this happened, and UPS doesn’t have Sunday delivery, it’s not being delivered until today.

I emailed my two contacts at Medtronic to tell them about my continuing nightmare, and how they’ve failed me this time.

The person I’d been dealing with most recently (who is really nice and been very good at promising my problems would be fixed) emailed me immediately. However, the response I got was a little perplexing.

After acknowledging that my product was being replaced, I was asked “What else can we do to help and make this right for you?”

Really? I have to tell you what to do to fix this? You’re not going to try to win my trust back?

First off, I want my equipment to work. That’s the basics (which, I think, they view as something exceptional). Next, I think some reparations are in order.

I think the plan is for me to say “Give me ‘X,’” and they’ll determine whether “X” meets their point of diminished returns. If it’s in their best interests, they’ll do “X.” If not, then I’m shit out of luck.

Personally, I think they’re a big company and they should have some kind of plan in place for when they screw up so much, so often, and with so much consistency. They should have some kind of idea of how they’ll make it up to me, and not leave it to me to show them how to be good to their customers.

What, dear readers, do you think I should require from Medtronic? On the economic side, I don’t think I should have to pay for replacement supplies for a while. On a more personal front, I think my case and problems should be sent to a higher level. Everyone’s manager should be contacting me to offer their most heartfelt apologies. Maybe I want a call from Katie Szyman, the senior vice president of the Diabetes group for Medtronic. If she’s not aware of the problems I’m having, she should be.

Seriously, though. If this had happened to you, what would you do? What would you want? How would you be placated?

UPDATE: I got home from work to find UPS hadn’t delivered because I wasn’t home to sign for the package. When I spoke to the customer service rep Saturday, she assured me I didn’t have to be home to sign for the delivery. I’m starting to seriously dislike you, Medtronic. 

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