I’m about as frustrated as a person with diabetes can be. Last night, after a very long day that started at 3:57 a.m. when I woke up to run 17 miles in Atlanta and ended after a family meal in Philadelphia, my insulin pump started to flash “BUTTON ERROR” and beep every few minutes. It took a few minutes for me to realize the problem wasn’t going away.
A few hours earlier, while on a flight from Atlanta to Philly I had noticed the pump was being a little weird, but I didn’t pay much attention. I now imagine I have TSA to thank for this situation (although it could be anything, really), since when I showed them my pump and requested a pat down (oh fun) instead of the detector, I was told to go through the detector. Not wanting to get into trouble, I did as I was told.
So last night I called the Medtronic 1-800 number and spoke to some very helpful people who assured me that all I needed to get a temporary loaner pump was a prescription from a U.S. licensed doctor, and then they would ship me a new pump overnight (a Revel, not a Veo).
Extremely impressed with the great service, I tried to figure out how I could get a prescription at 10 p.m. on a Friday night. Jessica took charge as my frustration and blood sugar levels increased and found two doctors who offered to fax Medtronic the prescription. After it was sent I called Medtronic again thinking I was done and just needed to wait for a UPS or FedEx truck to pull up at my brother-in-law’s house in Philly. But when I talked to the very nice rep she told me the Global Team had gone home for the day and that I would need to wait until they returned (I assumed that meant Saturday morning).
Understanding there was nothing more to do, I got my “emergency” supplies out of the refrigerator – Lantus and Apidra pens. As I put the needles on I realized I didn’t really know my correct dosing so I guessed, and took 10 units of Lantus and 3 units of Apidra. I was too alert and worried about my blood sugar to go to sleep, so I got up and went downstairs to be social. After a while I decided to check my blood sugar. It was 68. Jessica brought me a peach, which seemed to do the trick. Jess was worried about me so she stayed up and woke me to check my blood sugar at 2:00 a.m. It was 84. We then had a little argument in which she told me to eat something and I refused.
This morning my BG was 133. I was relieved it wasn’t very high and took a small correction bolus. At 10 a.m. I called Medtronic back to see if my new pump was on its way to me. I spoke to the rep who was, once again, very nice and helpful and politely explained to me that they need to verify some info with the local distributor in Israel before they could ship a pump to me.
“But that may take a few days,” I said, half to myself.
“Yes, it may take a few days” the very nice rep said.
To speed things up I tried to call the Israeli distributor. I went to their website and looked for a phone number for the 24/7 emergency hotline they claim to have. I couldn’t find a number so I tried the regular phone number. Being Saturday, no one answered.
I sent a text message to the sales rep who sold me the pump and she sent me the number of a different person. I sent another text explaining my situation. I did receive a quick response. “Send me the pump serial number and I’ll do my best to take care of it on Sunday morning.”
As you can imagine, I’m pissed off. Why can’t the mighty Medtronic verify its global customers itself? Why does Medtronic allow its distributors to give such crappy service? What kind of a 24/7 hotline has no number listed and no person actually working?
If Medtronic is willing to fly a pump out to me overnight, understanding the urgency of the matter, how can they permit such bad service?
I don’t know if other companies are better, but at this point I’m definitely open to finding out.