Tag Archives: Health Insurance

DBlog Week 2013, Day One: Share And Don’t Share

Click for the Share And Don’t Share-Monday 5/13/13 List of DBlog Post Links

DBlog Week is an entire week in which diabetes bloggers will be posting daily using pre-determined writing prompts. I’ve never written every day for a week before, so this is going to stretch my brain in a new (and hopefully interesting) way. I can’t promise that the chaos of my life won’t interfere….some posts may happen in the wee hours of the night….but I’ll do my best to write on every topic!

So here goes….

“Often our health care team only sees us for about 15 minutes several times a year, and they might not have a sense of what our lives are really like. Today, let’s pretend our medical team is reading our blogs. What do you wish they could see about your and/or your loved one’s daily life with diabetes? On the other hand, what do you hope they don’t see?”

First off, our endo provider is also a parent of type-1 diabetic kids, so I know he already “gets it” in the visceral sort of way that providers without type 1 kids can’t. All of the anxiety, stress, worry, chaos, uncertainty, and fatigue that I feel is something I know he understands. That’s a blessing when it’s time to come in for those dreaded check-in appointments.

So for all the other providers out there who don’t have such a personal connection to Type 1, I wish they could see that I eat, sleep, and breathe diabetes. It’s ever-present in my mind; sometimes at the forefront, when I’m in the middle of carb counting or a set-change for instance, and sometimes just as a low-level anxiety, like a mosquito buzzing in my ear.

I download insulin pumps every two weeks to search for patterns and make pump adjustments. I memorize food labels and ingredient lists. I organize and keep inventory of our myriad diabetes supplies. I skip sleep to make sure I get middle of the night blood sugar checks and corrections done. I read about diabetes. I research available technology. I troubleshoot, and I problem-solve, and I teach, and I teach some more. I haggle with our insurance and mail-order pharmacy for hours. I worry about exerting too much control over their food choices. I worry about exerting too little control over their food choices. I worry about everything, and yet I know that I’m doing the best I can.

I take that on as a mom so that my kids don’t have to feel that, and so it doesn’t dictate our family life. I keep a straight face even as I’m stressing about their upcoming A1C results, so they don’t ever feel like they’re burdening me. I talk with them about their diabetes in an age-appropriate way, all the while thinking about the very real and life threatening implications of the disease.

It’s a lot, and sometimes it’s overwhelming. What I never want my providers to see (but which I have to cop to), is that we sometimes go 4-5 days on an infusion set because I don’t have a great system for remembering to change them. My kids eat more treats than I’d like and is good for them. A lot of the time we’re rushing around and I do things like forget their diabetes kit, or that they needed more strips. Lancet-changing….doesn’t happen.

An although I know I’m doing the best I can, there’s always room to do better. I’m going to be so happy when I’m doing enough to finally see some good Hemoglobin A1C numbers. More on that another time….

Conundrum: Available Technology vs. Insurance Coverage

A friend and I were talking the other day–brainstorming, really–about the gap in technology that exists for diabetes testing and pump therapy, verses, well, anything else electronic. Sure, there’s a touch-screen insulin pump that will be available at some point, but you still have to connect that fancy little box up to a computer with a good old-fashioned USB cable. Where’s the wireless capability?

Why can my phone sync wirelessly with every single other device I own, but I still have to manually download data from our meters and pumps? Data that would be a lot more useful in real-time rather than a month later, or however often I can squeak out enough time to dig out my USB transmitter, log in to Medtronic.com (what were those passwords again?) and lasso my kids so they can stand right next to the computer.

And forget collecting glucometer data…our meters don’t come with the cord connector, you have to order that separately. (To be fair, I am aware that Medtronic’s own One-Touch Ultra meter relays BG numbers to the Medtronic pump for future data collection, but we’ve chosen not to use that meter–just personal preference.)

We came up with some great ideas for practical and elegant technology we’d love to use. And then I ran across this video this morning and remembered some of the realities of Health Care, and more specifically, of Health Insurance.

Insurance companies don’t usually like to pay for New and Different. I’ve lost several hours of my life on the phone with the insurance company, trying to win even minimal coverage of the test strips for a micro-sample meter system whose technology is already over 4 years old. And I’ve had to go through it every time we’ve ordered new supplies.

It’s frustrating. Just as I’m sure it was frustrating for the young lady in this video to find a new technology that would SIMPLIFY (and don’t we T1D families deserve some simplification?)  her testing and data collection, only to find it financially out-of-the-stratosphere-impossible.

In the near future I hope to see a couple of new developments on the diabetes front:

  • A system that incorporates testing technology with Smartphone communication. Maybe even one that also communicates with a pump. And someday, a complete closed loop CGM-pump system ( iDiabetes? Apple, I would be a devoted customer for LIFE.)
  • Insurance coverage for diabetes that actually keeps up with the rapidly developing technology and tools of Type 1 management.

That’s it for now.