Why I’m not in California today
I am such a fucking idiot.
Today is the second Medtronic Diabetes Advocate Forum, where assorted high-profile members of the DOC are meeting with the biggest player in insulin pumps: Med-T.
It’s not that I wasn’t invited. I was. But I was worried about my pants.
I guess I’d better elaborate….
The very best way to keep out of trouble, I’m told, is to keep your pants on. But that’s not enough. Keeping your pants on is only half the formula. To really keep out of trouble, you must also look like you are keeping your pants on. Perception is everything. And therein lies my trouble right now.
You see, I was invited to the Forum. In fact, I went last year. I thought it was a great event. It helped us better understand them; and helped them better understand us. I’m pretty sure that’s the recipe for world peace, or at least something like it. I think great things will come out of these uneasy meetings between patient advocates and our counter-parts in industry. So, I if believe in it, why didn’t I go this year?
Because, not only are my pants firmly zipped up, it was also important that it looked that way, too.
You know what would happen: if I took a trip on Med-T’s dime, in the middle of reviewing their gear, at least 25% of the people out there would accuse me of having been “bought off.” And another 25% would accuse Med-T of trying to buy me off. The last 50% couldn’t help but wonder…
So I decided, after long and agonizing internal mental back-and-forth, to avoid even the appearance of impropriety by not going to the forum this year.
And to be honest, I also worried about my own famously infallible moral compass. If I’m a guest of Med-T will I be able to be completely honest in my review of Sentry? I think so. But I’m not sure. Actually, I think the risk is opposite of what you might think. I don’t think I’d give praise to a device that didn’t deserve it, just because the maker flew me to the coast to spend a day with a bunch of people I dearly love and rarely see. That’s not really in my make-up. But I do think if I found flaws in the system that I might be unduly harsh on Med-T. I might over-react to “prove” to everyone that I’m not in their pocket.
Sounds shallow, I know. But there it is. Best to be honest with yourself first and foremost. But actually, I swear, I’m liking the Sentry a great deal. I’m also liking his little sister, the Revel pump—although she almost killed me today. More on that next week.
Deciding to “pass” on the forum seemed like the right decision at the time. I’ve known for months when the forum would be. I’ve known for about six weeks that I’d be test-driving the Sentry. But when I realized how the two would overlap…by the time the Sentry system would arrive in my clinic office, the forum would only be two weeks away.
It was too close for comfort.
Too close for perception.
There was no way out. If I’d received Sentry when she was first approved, the timing might have been OK. But that didn’t happen. I debated starting my review late, after the forum. But that could have been perceived badly, too.
In the end, it seemed clear to me and my rusty and battered moral compass that “passing” on the forum was the only, dare I say it…? The only ethical thing to do.
Anyway. Like I said. It seemed like the right decision. The proper and ethical thing to do.
Today, I’m missing my friends.