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2014 #DBlog Week: What Brings Me Down

May 14, 2014

I’m a little late to the game with this, but May 12-18 is 2014 Diabetes Blog Week. Bitter Sweet (a great blog from knitter and Type 1 blogger Karen Graffeo) posted suggested topics for the week, and today, Wednesday, the topic is “What Brings Me Down.”

What brings me down is every time I see some consistency with my sugars, my faulty pancreas grabs me by the neck and says “You’re not in charge.” It seems my body, instinctively, will mess things up every time I feel like I have some control over what’s happening. It’s like clockwork; my sugars are good and steady. My basal rates are alright. The world is good. I have patterns to my day.

Then, all of a sudden, I’m awakened by my pump vibrating, telling me my sugar’s over 265.

And it works in reverse, too. Some mornings when I’m at work, things are going smoothly and then, all of a sudden, the bottom drops out. Alarms start going off on my pump and my CGM is registering 59 with arrows pointing down.

That is a drag. It’d be good to know that the changes I make to my basal rate will give me a couple weeks of respite on sugars either spiking or bottoming out. This, however, isn’t the way the cards were dealt, so I know I have to keep aware of my readings and make sure my sugars are staying fairly steady.

It’s not really something that brings me down as much as it’s something that wears me out. It’s exhausting to have these changes happen, meaning I can’t get too used to any kind of schedule. I just wish I could tell my body to give me a break sometimes. Again, that’s just not the way life goes. C’est la vie.

Another thing that brings me down is when my pharmacy unilaterally changes the amount of test strips (or any other supplies) I receive. I called in a prescription refill to my local megapharmacy (whose name rhymes with “Shmee Vee Shmess) for my test strips last week and got a call over the weekend to say they were out of stock, but would have more in for me Monday.

No problem, I thought, and I used another meter while I waited for my strips to come in. When Monday rolled around, off I went to the pharmacy to get my order. Confusion reigned.

The young lady behind the counter (not the pharmacist) told me they only had a half order for me, as they were waiting for the rest to come in. Then she looked at my prescription. Then at a computer. Then at my test strips. Then at the computer.

Then she walked over to the pharmacist and talked with him. She then told me “Oh, it’s OK. We have your whole order.”

Great, I thought, and I paid for my prescription.

When I got home I saw that I only received one box of 50 test strips. (I typically get 100 per refill.) I then read the prescription, which said “Test once twice a day.” (I had never noticed this before. I also have no idea what these instructions mean. Maybe my doctor has difficulty communicating in the English language.)

“This won’t work,” I thought, as I test, on average, four times a day.

I quickly got back on the phone with megapharmacy and got to speak to the pharmacist himself.

Here’s the upshot: as my script says to test twice a day, 50 strips will get me through a month, and I’m not entitled to any more.

“Yes,” I said, “but I test four times a day, so 50 strips won’t get me through two weeks. Also, this wasn’t a problem when you filled my prescription for 100 strips last month. Or the month before. Or the month before that. Or the month before that.”

“We don’t want you to get in trouble with the insurance company over this,” he said, “so we thought we should just give you the amount that you’re entitled to with this prescription, which is 50 test strips.”

“But I wasn’t getting in trouble with the insurance company before,” I replied, “so I don’t see why I should have to change now and not have enough strips to get through the month.” (I called bulls#&t on his “We just want to protect you from the insurance company” argument. He’s trying to protect himself and his monsterpharmacy’s bottom line. All of this, of course, is not covered in the American Pharmacists Association’s Code of Ethics. I think the “We’re trying to save you” argument was his attempt to say he was promoting the good for this patient. I still call bullsh#@.)

I was met with confused silence. Finally, I broke the ice. “Would you prefer I call my doctor and have him call in a new prescription? I’d rather not have to do that, as I’d been getting my prescription before without any problems.”

“That would be a good idea,” he said, looking out for my best interests. “I think it would be better, and it would help prevent any problems you might have with your insurance company.”

“OK,” I said, and hung up.

I have to find a new pharmacy.

Liberty Medical Supply has called me 10 times in the past week. Each time, it’s an automated call, asking me to authorize the shipment of a new set of pump and CGM supplies. The only options are to process a reorder of the supplies I got the last order; choose from a list of products that are available; or change some of my delivery information, such as name, mailing address, or insurance info. I chose this last option each time, and was told someone from Liberty would call me back within the next three days. The following day, I’d get the automated call again. (Sometimes twice a day.)

I started getting this most recent round of calls just a week after filling my last order. I finally called Liberty last night, after spending the better part of a week trying to get a live person to call me.

“I want to stop receiving calls from you,” I told the person I finally got on the phone.

“But we won’t be able to remind you of when it’s time to reorder supplies,” she said, incredulously.

“Well, you try to remind me to reorder supplies just a week after I’ve gotten a new order, so it’s a pretty useless service,” I told her.

After another five minutes of her trying to convince me that I should keep their service activated, and me threatening to order supplies in the future from someone — anyone other than Liberty, I was taken off their call list.

For now.

One Comment leave one →
  1. May 14, 2014 10:53 pm

    You may have joined in late, but late is better than never. It is nice to have another voice take part I this event.

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