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Tales of a Diabetic Loner, a Customer Service Nightmare, Football Friday, and Other Bits and Bobs

November 22, 2013

I recently read a story from Accu-Check Diabetes about relationships and how they impact diabetes care. I came across the story because it had been tweeted by the awesome nonprofit organization, the Diabetes Hands Foundation (@diabeteshf). Their tweet said “Scientific proof that relationships can have a positive effect on #bloodsugar control.”

I assumed the article was following my theory that diabetics need a close circle of support in order to successfully manage and control their condition. However, the article says that diabetics are more successful at controlling their blood sugars when they have a support group of other diabetics to rely upon and use as support and sounding boards. I thought that was interesting, and it made a lot of sense.

Then I realized that, in most social groups I circulated in, I was/am the only diabetic. I don’t think it’s a conscious thing. (I remember family friends who were older who had been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, and talking with them shortly after I was diagnosed. I wouldn’t call it successful networking, though, because I was a teenager and they were teenagers and none of us really wanted to talk about diabetes.)

However, as I mentioned in my last post, I’ve recently become a lot more proactive in my networking with other people with diabetes. (I still hate that term.) This blog has a lot to do with it. The fantastic blogs I follow on Twitter also help a lot.

Maybe I’m not alone in the wilderness anymore.

As I told you two weeks ago, I decided to go with a Medtronic insulin pump and CGM combo, the 530G with Enlite. (Still doesn’t quite roll off the tongue.) Someday I’d like to be able to start using them.

My good friends at Medtronic took their sweet time setting up training for me. The situation came to a head this week when I noticed the battery in my pump has drained from four bars down to three, and I haven’t even had a chance to use the thing yet.

I emailed my contacts at Medtronic, voicing my displeasure, and one of them (the glorious Abby, who’s been proactive in her help and has been truly, truly wonderful) emailed me quickly with the name and phone number of the person who was supposed to contact me and arrange my training.

After trying and failing to contact that person all day, I sent another terse email, which was quickly followed up. Medtronic is working on it, I was being assured. My training would be arranged soon, they told me. “I will call you first thing tomorrow to follow-up,” my personal product specialist (not Abby) assured me Wednesday night. “I’m putting a big post-it note on my computer right now.”

I felt a little better as I went to bed Wednesday night. (Little did I know, the “big post-it note” must have fallen into the waste basket.)

Thursday morning came. Thursday morning went. Thursday afternoon approached. No word. From anyone.

Disappointment turned to anger, and I typed a fairly ferocious email to every contact I have at Medtronic. I voiced my displeasure about the huge gaps in customer service. I pointed out that, at every turn, I didn’t feel like anything was being accomplished unless I was the one who instigated it. On top of everything else and the general lack of communication, I also pointed out that no one had, at that point, told me what the training entailed, how long it would last, or anything else for that matter.

I was unflinching. I was infuriated. Maybe I was a little cruel. However, I think everything I said had to be said, because there are big problems in the way customers are treated, and this has to change. I certainly hope no one else has to go through what I’ve experienced. I told them I’m considering boxing everything up, sending it all back to them, and sticking with my multiple daily injections therapy. (Actually, I’d probably go with one or two of their competitors.) My contact (again, not Abby, who’s wonderful) said she was forwarding my complaints to her supervisor. (I have yet to hear from that supervisor, and I doubt I ever will.)

After finding out the trainer they had originally partnered me with wouldn’t be available to train me until mid-December, I was put in touch with a wonderful diabetes educator, and got to speak with her last night. Training is scheduled to begin next week. I told her I feel like I’m ready to go, and if there was a way I could just start using without training, I’d do it. (I’m not going to lie; I’m still toying with the idea. It’s just a matter of figuring out the basal and bolus rates. I really think I can train myself.)

So I won’t be using my pump for a few days yet. Probably not before Thanksgiving, which is a big, big disappointment. I hope Medtronic makes this up to me. (I’m not really sure they will, though. I think it might be an ignorance-is-bliss-type situation, where my email was read by someone, it wasn’t forwarded to anyone of consequence, and that’s where everything ends. I’m curious if anyone who would be in a position of influence is aware of problems like this.) Personally, I think I’m going to engage in a personal act of corporate disobedience. I was asked when I bought my pump if Medtronic could have access to my health records to study my CGM readings and insulin consumption. Initially I gave my consent for this.

Now, I’m not so sure I want to share my information with this company, since they appear to care so little about me. We’ll see.

United play Cardiff City Sunday on NBCSportsNetwork (alloneword), and I hope to watch the whole match. (I covered why it’s sometimes difficult to watch soccer in a previous post.)

As the world knows, United got off to a less-than-great start to the season. That doesn’t matter. I’m in it for the long haul.

Now, though, the worm may have turned a little, and United’s fortunes appear to be a little better. Rooney’s playing his best soccer of recent memory. (I still think he’s a dirt bag, and it’s just a matter of time before he complains about some perceived slight.) De Gea’s becoming one of the best keepers in the Premiership. And Januzaj is being allowed to run the left with merry abandon. Also, Moyes (whom many thought was in over his head) was just getting the early season hiccups out of his system. (I did point out that his Everton teams were notorious for their slow starts.)

All those who were burying United might have jumped the gun a little bit.

Meg and I love the show Parks and Recreation. Great actors, great stories, and every week we get to watch the shenanigans of Ron F-ing Swanson. Last night, NBC showed two episodes. One of them was titled “Fluoride,” and it focused on how Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) was trying to get fluoride in Pawnee, Ind.’s drinking water.

Immediately I was brought back to my work with a certain idiot conspiracy theorist. (You might remember I wrote about him here. And here. I’ll refer to him henceforth as “Idiot.”)

A little background: I was working for a company years back and had Idiot as my direct supervisor. (Kind of. It’s a long story.) Anyway, I had a dentist appointment scheduled and told Idiot that I was going to take a long lunch to get my teeth checked out. Immediately, Idiot said, “You know, fluoride makes you dumber, right?” (I thought, “Well, you must have downed gallons of it this morning, then.”)

I was then presented with the conspiracy theory that dentistry is a fake science, that cavities will naturally heal themselves and no treatment is necessary, and that fluoride is a poison that pollutes our brains. After listening to this for about 35 seconds, I interrupted and said “I wasn’t asking for your opinion. I am telling you, I am going to the dentist and will be late getting back from lunch.”

Idiot shut up.

I heard about but never experienced phone conversations Idiot had with his ex-wife. (To think, she married him in the first place!) They have two children and, it appears, Idiot’s Ex (how I’ll refer to her henceforth) didn’t agree with him about the manner in which dentists and other oral surgeons were trying to take over the world, one filling at a time. I don’t know if Idiot’s Ex got the kids toothpaste with fluoride or what, but he engaged in some screaming matches that everyone in the office could enjoy. (I worked on a different floor and didn’t get to enjoy them.)

I’m better off being far, far away from that job and that supervisor.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. Stacy Daltry permalink
    November 22, 2013 10:05 pm

    Must be nice for the Medtronic peeps to not care that their job deeply impacts someones life. Let them know you’d love to put your Diabetes on hold until they get their act together…. oh wait, you don’t have that choice! Or, I know, you’ll only let the concern of your well being bother you between the hours of 9-5est and definitely not over a lunch hour, but even that wouldn’t matter if they don’t have the decency to get back in touch with you. Poor Abbey, sinking amongst a ship of fools. Best wishes Brian!

  2. November 25, 2013 4:39 pm

    Nice story.


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