Of camels and straw
ParaPump: are you sure?
Me: yes, I’m sure.
ParaPump: are you really, sure?
Me: yes, I’m really sure.
ParaPump: are you, really, really sure?
Me: yes, I’m really, really sure.
ParaPump: are you really, really, really sure?
And that, dear readers, was the end of my MedT pumping days. The Cozmo is back on my belt to take care of all the direct life support duties and the ParaPump remains next to it with only the life insurance duties. I never thought I’d miss my old garage-door opener Guardian as much as I do. The ParaPump makes a sad CGM-only device, but it is better than nothing at all. It basically is just the same as the original Guardian except for the fact it is not loud enough to let you know when you are in trouble. Oh, yeah. And the mini-link transmitter, being smaller and taking up less skin landscape, is waaaaaay better.
A drug rep passing through the clinic this week asked me, “why are you wearing two insulin pumps?” To which I replied: ‘because I’m twice the diabetic!’
But the truth of the matter was, even after more than two months, I could never get use to jumping through sooooooo many hoops to do the simplest of things. My life is busy. Time is short. I don’t have the patience to deal with a clunky pump interface. I decided my life would be more worth living with two boxes on my belt again, and a pump that is easy to use. I also came to realize how much I relied on the IOB screen for making treatment decisions. I always do a fingerstick at bed time. A BGL of 120 with no insulin on board is a very different situation than 120 with 4.8 units on board.
You can get that info out of the ParaPump, if you have three hours to surf menus, and you have to enter fake bolus and carb data to get there, which you must then cancel. By then, of course, you’re in insulin shock and unconscious. But assuming you do get the Active Insulin data from the B-wiz it will be wrong anyway. MedT only tracks correction insulin. ParaPump assumes any insulin applied to food is cancelled out. Well….maybe. Maybe not. What if the pumper counted the carbs wrong? What it I ate 65 carbs of spaghetti but bloused for 125? I’ve got a dangerous boat-load of insulin on board that the ParaPump is ignoring.
Now, there is a new-and-improved Cozmo pump with an on-board carb data base, hypo manager software, and the ability to set basal patterns by day of the week, and more, but I’m still using the “old” Cozmo because I’m on Smith’s Medical shit-list. Here is how that happened:
Around the first of the year I got a huge bill from Smith’s for pump supplies. They had re-stocked me just after the end of the year, so Blue Cross didn’t pay a dime. My 1K deductible had reset to zero. Had Smith’s sent the supplies a week or two earlier I would not have paid a cent.
So the first quarter is always my brokest time of year. No weddings. Little lab work. It was lean times, and we were scraping by on my clinic income (non-profit, remember?). So I paid late. But I did pay. The next month I got another bill, for the same amount. Which I threw away, assuming the checks passed in the mail. The same thing happened the next month.
Then I called to see where I was on the upgrade list, at which point I was told I would not be allowed to upgrade ‘cause I was a deadbeat. I was told I had owed Smith’s a significant chunk of money since January of 2006. Six? You gotta be fucking kidding me.
After some digging it turns out this is what happened: for unknown reasons Blue Cross sat on a Smith’s claim from the year before for over 16 months before rejecting it and it became my problem. The folks in accounting admitted that even they were unaware of it for over a year, but that it was still a year over due so I was C-U-T O-F-F.
Well, I had a hell of a time just paying the current bill, much less a year old one I was unaware of. Can I make payments?
No. We do not accept partial payments.
So I did the only thing I could do. Nothing. Each month a new bill came. And I threw it away. I had a stash of extra sets, ‘cause I had been wearing them for four days rather than three. Then I used the ParaPump for a couple of months.
Now when I decided to give up on the ParaPump and return to the Cozmo, I could no longer use the CozMonitor. Why? Because of new insurance. Here is how that happened:
Our Blue Cross went up soooooooooo much we could no longer afford it. It was around $650 per month with a $1,000 deductible and $2,000 out-of-pocket. Pretty much like being uninsured, actually. So with great fear, I took the insurance at the clinic. This met I was forever committing to working for someone else rather than for myself, which I’ve done for over two decades. I knew that once my individual insurance was cancelled I could never get it back. T-1 is “automatic denial” for insurance. After all, insurance companies don’t want to insure people who might actually use their insurance.
This was a terrifying moment. What if the clinic fired me? Or closed? Or if gas hit $5 a gallon and I couldn’t afford to drive over any more? This was a big step. I would forever be giving up my complete freedom. But I did it. Now my new health master is Presbyterian.
Pres won’t pay for FreeStyle test strips. They’ve negotiated a special rate with AccuChek (read AccuChek gives them a kickback for forcing all of us to use their products). Actually I’ve gotten fond of the Aviva meter. I just wish the damn thing had a back-light for night time ops. Memo to AccuChek: Diabetics do need to check their sugar at night.
So now, instead of having a meter attached to my pump, I have Aviva meters scattered across the landscape of my life. One at the lab. One at the clinic. One in my Go-bag. One in each car. One on my night stand. I’ve actually gotten use to it.
One thing I really liked about the ParaPump was the plastic holster. The Cozmo has various leather cases that I don’t think too much of. Now that I wasn’t using the attached monitor it occurred to me that I could use the plastic holster that Smith’s used for the Cozmo in pre-CozMonitor times, if it was still made. A quick search of the Smith’s on-line store located the holster. Clear so the color of your pump will show. Mine is black, so no real benefit for me, but still, a nice idea.
I called to order where upon I was reminded that I was on the shit-list. Can we use this card number to clear up your debt? No, it is a debit card and there is about $42 in my account. If you run it for the supplies it will be declined.
But now enough time had passed that all of the sudden they would take payments. I’m told that once I’m paid up I’m part of the family again. Hopefully by fall I can report on the new Cozmo features.
But meantime, I can’t tell you how much happier I am, and how much less stressed my life is using the Cozmo pump. It is amazing how big a difference it makes having an easy to use pump.
Now if some one asked me to recommend a pump I’d have to say….. I’d have to say…. “sit down, this is going to take a while.”