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Insurance Companies, Did You Just Cringe?

Insurance companies.  How many of you just cringed and made a sour face as soon as you read those first two words?  I know I do.  I don’t know what it is about that set of words. Even when I was younger I didn’t like those words, and I didn’t even know anything about them.  As my uncle always called them, “in-case-stuff-happens companies” as in they are useless unless stuff happens.  Insurance companies brought a whole new level of hatred into my life when I became diabetic.

I didn’t really deal with them the first 2 years of my diabetes because my mom handled just about everything.  I just simply went to the pharmacy to pick up my prescriptions and went to the doctors office and handed them a card.  Once I moved to Florida to finish college, that’s when I had to deal with things myself.

I can remember the first bad experience that I had with them.  I had only 1 vial of insulin left and I pulled it out of the fridge to get it to room temperature about a day or 2 before I would actually use it.  As I was taking it out of the nice little box it comes in, it slipped out of my hands and smashed on the floor and insulin went everywhere.  Not only did I have an insulin smelling floor, (disgusting!) I was now going to be out of insulin within the next few days.

I went over to the student pharmacy the next day and pharmacist said ok it should be here tomorrow.  I get a phone call the next morning to come in and see him.  Guess what?  Insulin is there but the insurance company isn’t covering it so it is going to cost me approximately $500 with the student discount.  Reason for why they won’t cover it you may ask?  Because I have a 90 day supply and we are only on day number 78.  I still remember the day of my 90 day prescription I was on because it made me so pissed.  After I explained to the rep that I will be dead before day 90 comes around, she transferred me to multiple people.  Finally, on a one time basis, they will cover the insulin.

Now, fast forward 3 1/2 years to last week.  I received a new pump and CGM from my diabetes supplier earlier in the year. They are out of network with my insurance so no big deal, that will eat up my out of network deductible.  Well I keep receiving statements in the mail showing that none of my deductible has been met.  This doesn’t make sense to me.  Also, every month I receive a letter telling me that I haven’t sent in the additional information that was requested of me and I must send in something in writing or my claim will be denied.

Huh?  What?  I never received anything in the mail stating I had to send in anything!  Every single time I call they tell me that I just have to submit my appeal in writing.  Well, what the hell am I appealing?  I haven’t received anything telling me I need to appeal!  Long story short they are requesting months of blood sugar logs, CGM reports, A1C reports, etc.  If they just would have told me that months ago I could have had it to them right away.  Hopefully I can get this all straightened out and taken care of.  I don’t need the added stress.

Just another reason I can’t stand insurance companies!

And just another day in the life of a diabetic

Back to School, The Diabetes Version

It’s time for all the little kids, big kids and college kids to go back to school.  For some however, there is the diabetes version of going back to school.  Thinking back in my own life, this was the time of the year that football had just started so I was so excited to see all of my friends again and start playing sports also.  It was also time to go to the Reading Outlets in Reading, PA where it was school shopping central.  Going to the Jansport outlet store was the hottest place because I obviously needed a new backpack for the coming school year.  And not just any backpack, but one that nobody else had.  Then it was off to K-Mart to get notebooks, pencils, folders then eventually Wal-Mart, but Wal-Mart didn’t open in my area until I was in 5th or 6th grade.  Finally, it was the morning of the first day of school.  Time to get dressed in all your nice new clothes and new shoes and stand next to my brother because my mom had to take a picture.

Growing up as a child I didn’t have to worry about much other than making sure my homework was done and making sure that I was at football practice and learning all of my new plays.  As I grew up and went through high school the basics stayed the same, however some things became a little different.  Didn’t care about the backpack, stopped going to Reading Outlets because they decided to shut them down, sad sad story by itself.  Then it was off to freshman year of college.  Wow, was that totally different.  Now it just wasn’t about going to Wal-Mart for notebooks, but to Wal-Mart for a fridge, futon, and other neat college dorm supplies.  But everything changed that April night in 2004.  Diabetes had entered my life and now preparing for the next school year became a lot different.

As I entered my second year of college, it wasn’t just all about remembering my textbook and notebook for class.  It now required me to remember my meter, strips, insulin pen, a few pen needles, alcohol pads, some candy in case of a low and an emergency card.  Paying attention in class at times had become a lot more difficult as well, especially when my sugar would start to get lower.  So as most people are taking notes while the teacher is talking, I am pulling out this weird machine that beeps and makes people look at you because you’re making noise and then digging through my bag trying to find that bag of Skittles that I put in there this morning, or did I forget them today?

I finished my last 4 years of college, yes I was on the 5 year plan, with diabetes and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  It forced me to accept my diabetes and share it.  I had about 8 different roommates in that span of 2 years of living on campus and it all started out the same way.  “Hi, I’m Chris, and I’m diabetic.  This is where my sugar supply is. This is what to do if I get low.”  It also gave me the opportunity to introduce diabetes into the lives of 8 people who otherwise had no clue what it was.  I was even lucky enough to sit next to 2 other diabetics in some classes that I had.  One on an insulin pump and one on MDI.  It was great to be able to talk to them and see them test their sugar, so that way there was 2 weird people in the class now.

As I watch my girlfriend, Amanda, get ready for school this morning (she is a teacher) I think about how different my life would have been growing up with diabetes.  Would I have been the same person that I am today?  I would like to think that it would have just made me a stronger person and mature at a lot faster age.  Since I wasn’t diagnosed until my freshman year of college, I never experienced diabetes in elementary school or middle school.  As I read some other blogs about parents taking their kids to school and making sure every teacher knows and nurse knows etc, I truly respect you for what you go through on a daily basis.  Obviously my future children run the risk of becoming diabetic, so I may one day have to deal with it, but until then, I will continue to learn from others how to deal with the school year coming around.

On the bright side of things, I would really like to hear some funny stories about diabetes and going back to school.  We always here the bad about diabetes, but let’s share some funny ones.  If you have any, please comment, I would love to hear them.

I wish you all a day better than yesterday, hope your blood sugars are under 150 all day.

Review From Doctor’s Visit Last Friday, To Symlin or To Not Symlin

Friday brought me another doctors visit. Let’s go through the checklist for the visit.

Insurance card, ID, meter, pump, clean socks, clean feet, food log, reasons for why I didn’t wear my cgm all month long.

Ok I have everything I need so now I can go to the visit, let’s check my sugar one more tome before we go. Ut-oh I ran out of strips. Once again I don’t have an extra box at work or in my laptop bag.  Going into the visit, I wanted to accomplish a few things.  They were to get my basal rates at right levels, get my morning sugars lower, figure out a better diet plan, learn more about temp basals and square wave boluses.

To start the visit off, I had weight a few pounds lighter than the last visit, even though that scale is way off.  Next came time for the blood pressure, not so good, it was 140-80.  I don’t know why it was so high.  I have been a little stressed lately with less sleep and some things going on at work.  Once the doctor came in the very first thing we discussed was why I didn’t have a lot of readings from the CGM.  So good thing I prepared for that one.  But I told her straight out that I just didn’t wear it as often as I should.  Then we started to look at the levels from the meter.  At previous visits, I had brought in 3 or 4 different meters and gave them the readings from those because I used different meters at different places.  That was one of the things from last visit I tried to stop and attempted to use the same meter almost every time, and I was pretty successful at doing so.

Now it was time to take a look at the bolus readings from the pump.  There were a lot of 25 unit (max) boluses without even having a blood sugar reading.  She did not like that very much.  The reason for those is when I know I am eating bad, and I don’t test before I eat, I just take 25 units, then will test later and correct from there.  Usually because I know I am eating enough carbs to cover that 25, which at my ratio, 5:1, that is at least 125 carbs in one meal, not too good.  There was even one in there just from last week that was two different 25 unit boluses within an hour of each other, (Olive Garden visit).

The last part of the visit was doc and I discussing the possibility of using Symlin.  The reason being is because she wants me to lose weight and she thinks just by my eating habits that I am not going to be able to do that.  This was brought to my attention with my previous doctor as well, and I had decided to throw the sample away and lose the weight myself.  Pretty much the same result this time.  I told my doctor that I want to attempt to lose the weight myself and by the next month if I don’t lose weight, then I will go on the Symlin.  I really don’t want to do that, but if I have to then I will.

Which leads to me to my question of the day.  How many people out there are currently or have previously used Symlin?  How did it make you feel?  Did it make you lose weight?  Was feeling like crap worth the weight loss?  Please let me know your experiences with Symlin.