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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

What Does $4,000 Buy You?

An insulin pump that lasts less than two years.

Two years ago this January, I went on an insulin pump to manage my Type I diabetes. I had three choices: Animas, Medtronic, and OmniPod. After doing considerable research on the Internet, and after talking with my diabetes counselor, I chose the Animas One-Touch Ping. It had been working pretty well since then with attentive parts management - changing the battery every month; changing the battery cover and cartridge cap every six months.

But, recently, the pump display had started to dim from bright yellow to dim orange. I jacked up the contrast, without effect. And, in the past couple of days, I'd had trouble keeping my blood sugar anywhere near my upper target. Monday, when I was in Coeur d'Alene for other purposes, I stopped by my endocrinology center and talked with my counselor. The pump, she said, had to be replaced as there was no way to replace the display light. Yesterday morning, I called Animas and they said they'd send out a replacement pump right away. They did.

This afternoon, UPS delivered the new pump (signature required) and, within a half hour, my counselor had walked me through the pump setup. I changed my infusion set, took my sugar (reasonably low after ingesting no carbohydrates today), and ate some of the roast leg of lamb, potatoes, carrots and onions I'd made today. I gave myself a compensatory dose of insulin via the new pump. Two hours later, my blood glucose level was right where it should be.

So, kudos to my counselor for her guidance and to Animas for their prompt response. But you'd think that for $4,000 (paid by insurance, fortunately) you'd get a bit closer to the end of the four-year warranty period.

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