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Category Archives: Dexcom CGM

Diasuck: Insurance

When my husband took a new job last year, I switched to his insurance plan. It seemed like good coverage and for a non PWD, it would be a good plan. Everything seemed to be going well with this insurance until I got a few calls from Animas telling me that my pump warranty was due to expire and that I should look into upgrading to a newer model. I’ve been through this a few times in the past with different medical plans and thought it would be a similar experience. Wrong. My current insurance only covers up to 2500 per year for Durable Medical Equipment. Bummer is, I require a good deal of coverage for Durable Medical Equipment since all my pump supplies and CGM supplies fall under DME. With the trade in for my current pump, I would still owe Animas just over $1000. I do not have $1000. Plus, I would be maxing out my DME coverage and wouldn’t be able to get any more CGM sensors until next year. This doesn’t seem like the end of the world but my A1c is the lowest it’s ever been and I credit a good deal of this to the use of my Dexcom CGM. It’s not a miracle worker but it’s an amazing tool when used to its full potential – and my blood work proves it.

When I was 14 (just 4 years after diagnosis) my A1c was over 14 and I don’t ever want to go back there again. I’m working my hardest to be as healthy as possible, all the while it seems like the insurance company, Animas (the pump company) and Dexcom (the CGM company) all seem to be working against me. It’s a shame that there is so much profit to be made by taking advantage of the chronically ill people who are simply trying to obtain a healthy existence.

Unfortunately, health seems to favor the lucky and the rich – and as far as health is concerned, I don’t seem to be either of those.

 

Diasuck: Airport Security

Last week, my husband and I traveled out to San Francisco for work (ie:1/2 hour of work in exchange for 8 blissful days, paid in full). Said travel required flying to our destination. Now, my husband and I have taken a number of trips over the 8 years we have been together but this was our first time flying together. I discussed with him before hand that I would need to go through a pat down since I was planning on taking my Dexcom CGM and Animas pump with my through the metal detector, as oppose to sending them through the x-ray. He doesn’t like to see me go through anything that might cause undue stress so I simply assured him that this was a normal process and he was okay with all of it.

We arrived at the airport with plenty of time, got our boarding passes and heading over to the security gate. When we got to the front of the line, I inform the TSA officers that I was carrying an insulin pump and CGM and that I didn’t want either of them to be put through the x-ray. Bare with me as I go off topic for a moment – I was certain that my pump could not be exposed to x-ray but I wasn’t sure about the CGM. Since I wasn’t certain, I thought it best to err on the side of caution and not ruin my CGM on the first day of an 8 day vacation on the other side of the country. With that said, the first few officers were very kind and asked me to walk through the metal detector. I obliged, set off the metal detector and was asked to walk through again after emptying my pockets. I declined, informed the officer (again) of my medical devices and was asked to step aside for a pat down.

This is where things go a little awry. I was standing in a sort-of gated spot, in the center of the security check point area but in full view of three gates filled with people waiting to board their flights. As I waited for a female officer, another officer was standing with me and asked what I was carrying. This is our conversation:

TSA Officer (TSAO): What are those items?

Me: Medical devices; an insulin pump and a continuous glucose monitor.

TSAO: I’ve seen plenty of pumps before and I know they can’t go through the x-ray but I know the [CGM] monitor can (note of condescension in his voice).

Me: I was told it couldn’t.

TSAO: Well, it can.

Me: Okay, I’m quite certain it can’t.

TSAO: It can. And its way more harmful to [the CGM] to go through the metal detector.

Me: Okay?

TSAO: So you should have just sent it through the x-ray. It’s better for it.

Me: It’s not.

TSAO: It is.

Then he walked away. A female officer approached and directed me to a side area. She talked me through the pat down procedure and asked if I want to proceed in a private area. I’ve had plenty of pat downs before (see:Plane Travel Initiation of a PWD) and they’ve never been too invasive or time-consuming so I declined. I shouldn’t have declined. Talk about invasion of personal space – “Please spread your legs a little further apart ma’am”. What did she think I was hiding up there?!?. Then after the pat down, she tested her gloves for explosive material. Remember when I said I was in full view of three gates full of people? Yeah, at this point I felt like more of a terrorist in their eyes than a person with a medical condition. Then and only then, did she (or anyone for that matter) look over my pump or CGM which took two seconds, was only a visual inspection and didn’t seem very thorough. I walked back over to my husband, he asked if I was okay, I smiled and said I was fine and we proceeded on our way.

It wasn’t until a few day into our trip that I became disappointed and angry. I was angry at the TSA officer that argued with me about MY medical equipment. I was disappointed and angry that I was subject to all that screening but that none of the officers ever really screened the devices that required the additional attention in the first place. And I was angry at this disease – for bringing attention that I didn’t want, for wasting my time and for making me feel like even less of a ‘normal person’ than this stupid disease already does on a daily basis.

The whole process seemed backwards and flawed. I can appreciate that greater security is needed now a days but an eight year old could plan better screening procedures. This won’t keep me from flying again but at least I can expect the best and plan for the worst the next time around.

 

Furious Determination

Last week Friday, I stopped into my Endo’s office to pick up my Dexcom CGM (well, not mine, rather mine for a few days). The two nurses kindly gave me the low down on the sensor, transmitter and CGM receiver. The sensor didn’t hurt a bit when it was inserted. I did find the sensor and transmitter to be a little bulky under my shirt but not much more offensive than my Animas Inset infusion set. The receiver is a bit of a pain to try and hide under clothing, especially when lugging around a pump and cell phone, but I managed (see Pinning Extra Cloth into Skirt Linings). I was a bit apprehensive nervous lazy at the thought of actually counting all carbs I put into my mouth but was excited to be able to see how my numbers were trending. If you knew me, you would probably know that I’m an intense Swag and Rage boluser. despite that, I kept things in line and did what any ‘good’ diabetic should – I managed to write down every carb I ate (yes, every carb) and write out all my meter readings and meds taken. It was hard but totally worth it for everything I learned. Like the fact that I was taking far too little insulin when guestimating my carb intake at meals and I learned that my numbers would then spike quite high about 30 minutes following a meal but drop again within a few hours. I learned that I have near perfect numbers at night which is really only the result of a previous CGM experience (last time I didn’t write down carb intake at all so that data was pretty much useless besides my fasting numbers). I learned that I need to take my BS a lot more since I really had no idea where my numbers were between breakfast and dinner, subsequently not catching any of those prior mentioned highs. But more than anything, I learned that my previous knowledge of caring for Dee pales in comparison to how much I now know and continue to learn. The reality that I’ve found someone I love and want to create a family with (including children someday) has caused me to want to be as health as I can, as fast as I can. Which is why it was so hard to return that CGM today. It was a means to a better future for me, a healthy and happy future. Not one without diabetes but one where Dee doesn’t affect every aspect of my life. One where I make the decisions based on what I want to do and what’s best for me and my family, not what this disease is requiring me to do.

Walking into my Endo’s office today, I felt empowered. I was back there with 5 days worth of knowledge under my belt that I didn’t have before. I was finally, after 15 years, holding my head high because I did the best I could and felt good about that. I realized that, when I allow myself to choose and to change, I’m filled with furious determination to achieve all the things I want in life. I won’t let anyone or anything get in my way of my own happiness.