LifeAfterDx--Diabetes Uncensored

A internet journal from one of the first T1 Diabetics to use continuous glucose monitoring. Copyright 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016

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Location: New Mexico, United States

Hi! I’m William “Lee” Dubois (called either Wil or Lee, depending what part of the internet you’re on). I’m a diabetes columnist and the author of four books about diabetes that have collectively won 16 national and international book awards. (Hey, if you can’t brag about yourself on your own blog, where can you??) I have the great good fortune to pen the edgy Dear Abby-style advice column every Saturday at Diabetes Mine; write the Diabetes Simplified column for dLife; and am one of the ShareCare diabetes experts. My work also appears in Diabetic Living and Diabetes Self-Management magazines. In addition to writing, I’ve spent the last half-dozen years running the diabetes education program for a rural non-profit clinic in the mountains of New Mexico. Don’t worry, I’ll get some rest after the cure. LifeAfterDx is my personal home base, where I get to say what and how I feel about diabetes and… you know… life, free from the red pens of editors (all of whom I adore, of course!).

Monday, April 23, 2012

Medtronic calling



The antique phone on my desk rang the way only old-fashioned brass-belled phones can.

BaaaRingg!...ning…ning…


BaaaRingg!...ning…ning…


BaaaRingg!...ning…ning…

Deep and throaty, rising in pitch at the end of reach ring, followed by a musical echo that hangs in the air after each ring is gone. Phone calls are a real surprise around here. Well, ones on the honest-to-God phone, anyway. Most calls I get are on my dumb-phone. In fact, the only reason we still have a landline at all is for the internet that piggyback’s itself on all that fiber optic cable and copper.

Remember in the old movies where the long-distance operator, her voice lost in a sea of static says, “This is London calling, are we reaching?”

It was just like that.

Only without the static. My circa 1930 antique phone, rebuilt with a modern plug by a guy in Canada, has remarkable acoustics.

Oh. And it wasn’t London.

Oh. And it wasn’t a long-distance operator, either.

So I guess it really wasn’t anything like that at all.

It was Medtronic on the line. I never got around to calling Medtronic. So instead, they were calling me.

The woman calling was from the Medtronic Helpline’s new Green Berets… Or was it the Special Operations Command? Ummm… The Medtronic Customer Service SWAT team? No… that’s not quite right. Give me a second, I’ll remember it in a moment. Not the Rapid Response Unit. Not the Disaster Response Contingent, or the Oh-Shit Squad.

Oh! I remember now! They’re called the Solutions Team. And their job, as I understand it, is to monitor the pulse of diabetes social media and be proactive about offering assistance.

And they’ve been reading my blog.

Well, of course they fucking have, they loaned me the gear for review, they’re gonna want to know what I’m saying about it. That said, in times past, and during the current debacle, Med-T has been most circumspect about not reaching out to me. Not talking to me when I’m talking about them. I think they worry about the appearance of impropriety. Remember what I told you a month ago? About how just keeping your pants on isn’t enough? How you need to be sure it appears your pants are on, too? Med-T has been very hands off with me, and probably with everyone else who actively writes about them, too.

But the times they are a changing.’ According to the Long Distance Operator, based at the San Antonio Medtronic facility, Med-T has come to realize that some people are less likely to call than others, so Med-T is taking the lead and reaching out to people who are having issues with Med-T gear.

Some of you are going to go ballistic when you read that.

Some of you are gonna accuse Med-T of trying to stamp out the weeds of bad publicity wherever they sprout.

I’m a little more open minded about it. It’s not like Med-T shut down the Twitter feed or anything. The world is changing. It’s a networked, social media world. Just yesterday, the talking gas pump at the Giant Station was asking me to “friend” it on Facebook (fuck-off talking gas pump, I hate you… I give you my money… you keep my Jeep running… and that’s all the further our relationship is gonna go).

Anyway, the ways all of us interact with each other are changing. So I’m glad Med-T is listening to what their customers are saying, no matter who they are saying it to. I’m glad they’re not just sitting back and waiting for people to call the Helpline—whose toll free number is printed on the back of your pump where you can’t get to it if you can’t find a dime to unlock the damn belt clip on your pump.

I think it’s pretty awesome approach, and I think that they might be able to help a lot of people this way, too. For us overly-stubborn type 1s, we sometimes find it much easier to vent than to just ask for help. It’s something in the diabetes DNA, I suspect.

So I’m glad Med-T is being all modern and pro-active and trying to engage in two way conversations with us (even if Med-T had to use an antique telephone to reach me ‘cause I’m such a Twitter boob).

Oh, and I gotta say, the woman’s previous job was clearly either as a UN Peace Envoy or a NYPD Hostage Negotiator. She was almost overly polite, careful in her word choice, and quick to ask permission to continue the call.

And the first thing she wanted to talk to me about was… What? Oh my, look at the time! We’ll have to finish this tomorrow…



Next time: Thirty days hath September after all; fixing an epic customer-service screw up.

1 Comments:

Blogger Michael Hoskins said...

Oh, the suspense!!! Can't wait to read more, Wil. Great post here. Love the humor. And yes, I'm also a fan of Med-T reaching out the way they did. And even their monitoring of the DOC word (written or otherwise), as much as some may see it having a "Big Brother" vibe.

10:26 PM  

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