Thursday, March 27, 2008

Have You Heard?

Have you heard of the eleven year old diabetic girl that died because her parent's didn't seek medical attention for her because of religious reasons?

Now, I will not go into making judgments on religion......... whether you're an atheist, muslim, christian, your choice, but when you have a child, your first priority is to take care of that child, no matter what. Think of how many parent's lose their child to a disease that CANNOT be treated, or their child goes through some long chemo treatment, only to die? In the midst of the parent's grief, there has to be comfort in knowing that they took advantage of every medical option open to them to save their life. How can these parent's and siblings live with themselves? I try to be understanding and put myself in their shoes, but I would move hell to get my son any treatment he would need.

I find myself thinking of the past month when I've had TWO mishaps with my pump and my bloodsugar rose quickly and I developed ketones. I felt miserable................... headaches, nausea, and exhaustion. Maybe this girl's parent's need to feel the misery that ketones cause......... to walk a day in their daughter's shoes.................. to feel the misery that their prayers could never overcome. It's sad and disappointing and I will follow this to see what the police will do in this case. Is it their Constitutional right to make that choice? I'm not sure................ seems such a waste of a life.

Speaking of my Omnipod mishaps: I have found that these two instances are user errors.... my errors! On the one night, I definitely had the stomach flu that was moving it's way through our family, but it was made worse by the fact that my pump wasn't working correctly. Turns out that when I used the needle to insert my insulin into the pod, I pushed too hard and cracked the plastic front of the pod. The pod contained my insulin, but was leaking it too without my knowledge. So, I wasn't receiving all of my insulin, which is pretty awful when you're on short acting insulin only! The other time when I filled the pump, it made a weird clicking noise and I don't think that the insulin was properly in the case. The odd thing was that the alarm didn't go off, so it was only my not feeling well and blood sugar tests that indicated the problem.

Ok, enough for now!

Thursday, March 13, 2008


So, I have to say that the past couple of weeks have been, well......long. My son was diagnosed with a sinus infection and then last Friday, I strongly encouraged my husband to go to the doctor because he sounded awful, too. He also was diagnosed with a sinus infection and given a 3 day supply of an antibiotic that stays in the system for 10 days. That sounds good! Well, he took the meds and by Monday, he was completely confused/disoriented. We went back to the doc and he was dehydrated! Turns out he's having a reaction to the antibiotics and we'll have a few more "confused" days while the meds are making their way out of his system. Poor thing. This really has nailed him. I want spring and good health for all!!

OMNIPOD UPDATE: Ok, so I'm down to my last box of pods and knew I had to call. Remember, Omnipod was supposed to call me with an update on the GreatWest dilemma and they didn't. So, I called up and talked to a very nice service rep and updated my insurance to BCBS (since my last supply order was in December). So, she said she had to call and verify coverage (and I secretly shuttered thinking "Oh, great, another insurance debacle). So, for my own ANNOYED amusement, I asked if there was any payment showing for my pump in August or the supply order from December and the woman looked........... paused (probably stunned) and said "No, ma'am, nothing is paid for." Lovely. So, I was pissed at this point and called my assigned rep "Fernando". He sounded guarded when he heard me. He explained that the "process" was still happening with billing. I told him I wanted to talk to someone in billing, then. He was hesitant ( as I believe billing unloaded me on poor Fernando at some point). He tried to connect me and, ironically, no one was there. When he came back on the line, I asked what we were waiting for........GreatWest had told me in November and January that it was not "medically necessary" and why couldn't the default to my secondary UHC insurance at this point (since they had agreed to cover it 80/20). I explained that I don't want to indefinitely be racking up 20% charges on my orders and letting it go one indefinitely with a whopping bill waiting at the end. I also reminded Fernando that I've been through this now with him since December. He was frustrated and referred me back to billing------I actually got a voicemail, but now one that identified the woman on the other end, but I still left a terse message.

I then took matters into my own hands and called GreatWest asking them if they've made final appeal decisions. i've been blaming the insurance company all along, but I'll admit I was wrong. They were able to tell me that they did not receive the full medical notice and appeal from Omnipod until February 26th and it takes 30-45 days for the appeal process.


Late afternoon yesterday I received two phone calls from Omnipod. The first one was from the order department stating that BCBS was going to cover my supplies at 100%, WOW. That's cool. The other phone call was the rep from Omnipod saying the paperwork wasn't processed immediately, but they did file it 2/26. At least she was honest. So, I'll have to wait until the appeal process is over.

Moral of the story: stay on top of medical companies and read everything you can about insurance coverage!!!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

The feared stomach bug

Greetings! So, we had heard about the horrible flu/stomach bugs lately and we were thankful that we hadn't been hit with it. Famous last words, right??!! Well, my son seemed to have it, but it was bizarre....he was 100% healthy and then he'd vomit and then go back to whatever he was doing. Yuck, I know. He did this every other day for a week..... no rhyme or reason! My husband was feeling off for about a day, but didn't actually get sick (he has a stomach of steel).

I am not 100% sure I had a stomach bug, actually. About a week ago, I noticed that the front of my PDA for my Omnipod was cracked.....everything still worked, but I was nervous about the crack. I called Omnipod and they were fantastic. They sent out a replacement PDA immediately. So, last Tuesday, I went to change my pod and programmed my new PDA at the same time. To be honest, sometimes I am stronger than I think I am and when I put the needle with insulin into the pump, I did it a little forcefully, but everything seemed fine. On Wednesday, my blood sugars we a little high, but I was attributing that more to monthly cycles than anything. By the time I got home, I felt miserable and ended up getting sick to my stomach. When I tested my blood sugar, I was over 450!! YIKES. I then went to replace my pump and when filling up the reservoir in the pod, I noticed that there was insulin in the plastic case--- I actually think that I put the needle into the pod, but pressed so hard that I believe I cracked the pod with the needle tip. There was no other way that insulin could have gotten into the container. OMG. So, I am thinking maybe there was some insulin being delivered on Wednesday, but maybe I had done the same thing?! It didn't make any sense-- my blood sugars. So, after filling ANOTHER pod, and putting in sick day basal rates, I started to recoup after about 6 hours of illness. I stayed home today and rested.........

So, I guess I"m stronger than I think I am and I"m glad to at least be aware that I have a tendency to do this. So, a little less force when filling those cute pods!!!!

Still haven't heard from Omnipod and insurance.....................
Haven't had time/strength to take on my insurance for the eye doctor.......

Stay tuned! And, stay well!!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


So, I got a voicemail message from Omnipod last Tuesday saying they should have a response from GreatWest last Friday and they would let me know what the outcome was. Well, lucky for the company, my son was sick and I wasn't at work even though they have my cell number.

I saw my retinopathist a few weeks ago and got a "clear" from him for the next three months, but he also wanted to take some photos of my eye, This was fine and easy--- something I had had done before. What I didn't anticipate as that insurance would, once again, set me over the edge. To be honest, I got the mail yesterday from the office and I opeend the bill and it was just for $780. It didn't explain if EITHER of my insurance companies were contacted, etc., but it just frustrated me. If I pay TWO premiums, why do I continue to have to do their jobs for them?! I don't blame the doctor's office because I didn't have my insurance card for my primary insurance with me at the time of the appointment, but I did call that afternoon with all the information. My secondary insurance hasn't changed in the past two years, so I'm baffled. I"m assuming that it wasn't submitted correctly since I haven't received the annoying "statement of benefits" from either insurance, so I guess it's just another day dealing with insurance.

My version of the commercial:

Handling a full-time career.....
Handling being a mom, wife, daughter, sister, friend.......

Having to continuously address hellish insurance questions.......

Saturday, February 9, 2008

OMNIPOD and insurance... the saga drags on......

Ok, so I will admit I am a fan of ABC soap operas (guilty pleasure), but I do feel like I'm trapped in a bad soap opera episode that won't end! So, on Thursday, I got yet another DENIAL letter from GreatWest insurance for my 9/07 Omnipod pump (just for a cross-reference, this is for the supplies + the PDA-- no one has said anything about the 12/07 supplies that I ordered!). I was annoyed, but I tried to keep an open mind when I called my Omnipod rep "Fernando". He was nice and said he had talked to GreatWest and gave them all the information they requested (proof I've lowered my A1c, proof from my doctor, etc...) and they seemed satisfied, so he was "very suprised" to hear of the denial.
Now, really, I have to admit that I am kind of over this situation so I told the rep that I had been through this with him on 12/11/07 and he had instructed me to not worry and be patient. I think I've been beyond patient and I know it's not his fault, but since he hadn't touched base with my in the past two months, I wanted to be more involved in this process. He asked me to fax the letter again and he'd take care of it. I thanked him and decided to do as he asked, but, I also wrote a note on the fax cover letting him know that I expected to hear from him early next week with an update on my case.

And you may wonder why I want universal health care? I am REALLY OVER someone at an insurance company (not qualified as a doctor) handling my paperwork and making decisions for my long term health. Are there cheaper pumps out there??-- yes, BUT most pump companies now have the pump and CGM, which is just as expensive as my cordless pump. What's the point? What's the sense in this?


Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Insurance incentive programs?

So, I am covered through my own insurance at work as my primary care insurance, but I am also covered through my husband's insurance for secondary insurance. On the secondary insurance, there is an "incentive" program which saves the family money by offering a rebate if you participate in some health programs. While I am all for saving money on healthcare, I'm not so sure that I want to jump on board with these incentive programs.
The program wants you to fill out a survey about your health issues and will give you feedback on how to better your overall health. It also provides a nurse that will 'coach' you through dealing with any chronic health issues that may come to light. My first reaction was F**K OFF! because I already see my endo every three months (sooner if needed) and my retinopathist every 6weeks-3 months, so why do I need a nurse. And, a bigger concern was what information that I will provide a third party vendor that will crunch a plan to increase my health will be given to my husband's employer. There was no clear "WE DO NOT SHARE INFO WIHT EMPLOYER" on their forms initially. My husband emailed HR and they assured him that no personal information is provided to the employer, but statistics (like the number of people who have high cholesterol) will be provided so that the employer can offer programming for the population as a whole to address health concerns in a group setting. Doesn't sound entirely bad, but that is based on a person trusting that people are honest and discrimination doesn't happen............ I am NOT one of those people!

Anyone participate in one of these programs and have feedback to provide? Any insight or thoughts?

Let me know!

Monday, January 28, 2008

State of the Union

Ah, as I write this, the President is on TV for the last time................... thank goodness! I can't criticize because I don't plan on tuning in and listening to him mispronounce "nuclear" for the zillionth time. HA. If he was going to talk about the issues really facing America truthfully (hey, someone want to clue the guy in that we ARE in a recession??)--- economy with the worst level of selling homes that surpassed the housing crisis of the early '80s (you know, the recession that people actually admitted we were having). Honestly, I can't say that those times truly affected my life because I was like 5-6 years old at the time, but I know my family lived in a 2 bedroom apartment (5 of us) in a city because we had moved for my dad's job and we couldn't sell our house in our old city. We eventually had to move back to the area to our house because it wouldn't sell and my dad commuted for at least an hour each way......... but, I digress.

So, anyone doing the JDRF walk this year? My family is participating again and I have to start hitting people up for money soon. I was holding off because I thought we might be starting a different family process that would cost significant funds and would lead us to ask our family for some financial assistance, but I don't think we'll be doing that plan so now I'm trying to think of creative ways to hit up my new company to sponsor my team, but I'm not real familiar with "corporate culture" on this. I'll probably just bite the bullet and ask our CEO outright. Hey, why not? He's met me once or twice!!!! HA. I'm even looking into being a family volunteer for the organization to give advice/support to newly diagnosed families.

For some reason I'm ready to burrow in for a long winter's night even though it's not nearly as cold as it was last week.

BTW: GO OBAMA!!! hahahahahahahahahhaaha.