|When Life Depends on "Half-Assed" Medical Technology|
When I pushed through the crowds to get onto the Assisted Device Program the moment I heard it came into effect I was totally new to the insulin pump therapy crowd. I wasn't really aware of other pump companies out there. My endo's office had a pump seminar that I attended. Thing is, it was put on by Medtronic reps so naturally all I saw was Medtronic. I was so eager to skip on through and get myself attached to a pump that I never really asked questions. Needless to say, it seemed to me that we only had a choice of Medtronic and nothing else. I remember some of the nurses saying that they are affiliated with Medtronic and so is the government and it would be practical and best to just follow suit. They never once showed me other pumps and companies even though they had entire bookshelves with sample pumps of every kind.
I think if I knew that I had a choice, I would have maybe selected another pump company. The only thing I did research myself was that the Omnipod wasn't available in Canada. I had found that out 2 years before this though when I first decided I wanted a pump.
I am not going to go into great detail cursing Medtronic. Insulin pump therapy is cutting edge and incredibly technologically advanced. I am grateful every single day that I even HAVE a funded pump. Furthermore, Metronic customer care has always been fantastic. However, I still have 3 things I really want to get off my chest.
ONE: The online Carelink system where you upload your pump data is seriously behind with the times. As far as I know you still can't use the Carelink with Windows 7. I upgraded my operating system on my laptop awhile ago now and complained to Medtronic and they still haven't fixed the problem. Like I said, I haven't tried in awhile but the last time I uploaded I still had to drive out to my parents house just to upload since they are still running XP on one of their computers.
TWO: My Transmitter Issue: still not rectified. I wrote a post about my bad transmitter at the beginning of October. Medtronic product support told me my transmitter needed to be replaced (with a price tag of $700 out-of-pocket) because the one I had stopped working. The warranty on those things is ONLY 6 months and naturally I was outside of the warranty. Though I've only had my transmitter for 9 months. Are they supposed to break that often? That's an expensive piece of equipment to last only 9 months. I've been dealing with a local rep here almost weekly to come and meet me to troubleshoot whether the transmitter truly is busted but we have yet to meet up for a month. Meanwhile I have 6 sensors that expired at the end of October and the last time I talked to her she said there wasn't anything they could do about that. $300 (of my own dollars) down the drain. Don't even get me started on my rants about the poor design of the CGM system as far as lack of adhesiveness is concerned. You can read some of my rants here and here.
THREE: Right now I am awaiting the delivery of my 3rd pump so far. I've been pumping less than 2 years. Last night I got the low battery alarm. As I was putting a new battery in I noticed some major plastic cracks around the battery cap. Two pieces of plastic look like they could fall of if they got snagged by a thread. Then I looked closer and it is also cracked where the reservoir screws in. Grrreeeaaat!! Just wonderful. My first pump was giving me grief with the "Motor Error" in which it would suddenly rewind itself once a week or so at random. Luckily I'm still under warranty. I am not brutal with my pump care. Sure I've dropped it from time to time but nothing that stands out as particularly damaging. It's attached to me - ALL THE TIME, if I drop it, the tube catches it and it dangles. Never hitting the ground. So how does this happen? Am I throwing myself against brick walls cleavage first in my sleep?! Furthermore, I'm curious, is this normal that I'm waiting for my 3rd pump in under 2 years? Has anyone else had to replace pumps this often?
What I'm getting at is that pumping is expensive. These little buggers are worth THOUSANDS of dollars each and I'm surely not exaggerating. They are medical devices. Where is the quality I wonder? Like I said, I LOVE my pump. I LOVE that it is mostly paid for by the government. It has allowed me a higher quality of life I couldn't get on MDI's. The question still lingers deep inside, are they worth the money? Are we getting what we deserve at the cost of pumps & supplies? They are so bloody expensive but don't really stand up to long term use and abuse.