4/26/2006

Maybe it was me

Medical Mutual is my insurance provider and they have this nifty program called Diabetes Advantage that if you play right will cover many of your diabetes care needs at no cost to you. When I heard about the MMDA program of course, I said "sign me up!" The catch is that you must talk to a nurse once every 2 months, answer some questions, see your endo, give them lab results and in turn they send you educational info, cover all pump and testing supplies and even call to get your supply order before you run out. Overall, very cool.

The first 2 times I had to talk to the friendly nurse on the phone it was virtually painless, that is aside from having to give my height and weight to a woman who sounded perky and thin. The usual drill has been that they call and leave me a couple messages and I call back when I get around to it. Well, this last time they left more than a couple messages so on Friday after work I called them back. From the first hello, this nurse sounded a bit more serious, but no worries, I just had to answer some questions. Yeah, right. Maybe it was me, maybe it was her tone but the phone call left me upset and feeling inadequete.

Her: "Have you had any blood sugars lower than 70 or higher than 200 in that past 2 months?"
Me: "Yes"
What I was really thinking: "Well, Duh, I have Diabetes, don't I????"

Her: "What is the lowest reading you have had?"
Me: "About 43"
Her: "That's very low and by letting yoru blood sugar go that low you do know that you are putting yourself at risk?"
Me: "Yes."
What I was reallly thinking: "Let my blood sugar go that low????? It's got a mind of its own at times!!!! Putting myself at risk???? I have diabetes, lady, that's where the risk comes from!"

On to the other end of the spectrum...

Her: "What would you say was your highest blood sugar reading in the last 2 months"
Me: "Maybe 300" I say sheepishly, padding the number given her previous lecture on a low of 43 in the past 2 months for a Type 1 diabetic on the pump.
Her: "That's pretty high"
Me: In my head, "Oh if you only knew"

Her: "You really have to wacth thos sugars and not let them get above 200. Sugars above 200 put you at a much greater risk for complications. Why are your blood sugars above 200?"

Me: "Yes, I know"

And on it went with her telling me things I already knew but in a way that rattled me and pissed me off. I swear, she must have said "you are putting yourself at risk" at least 20 times! Just when I thought it was over and dinner was dangerously close to burning, she asked about my weight then my height and after I answered she paused and said "thats another thing you really need to work on. "

Really? I had no idea that my wieght is high for height. Thanks for the tip. There's just something about a complete stranger, who has never set eyes on you, commenting on your weight.

She was only doing her job, I get that. It was just the way the conversation left me feeling as if I had failed the test. She must have said "putting yourself at risk" at least 20 times. As if diabetes is a choice. The previous MMDA calls had not left me feeling that way at all. One of the other callers even said "you have plenty of other things to worry about," when I admitted that I didn't exercise nearly as much as I should. The other calls made me feel like they were only checking up on me to make sure I was making an effort not failing as this last call made me feel

9 comments:

Elizabeth said...

Melissa-
That lady was so rude to you! First off, you don't have any problems with weight. I've seen you and I think that you look great. :)

Secondly, having diabetes means that sometimes your numbers are not perfect. It's not an exact science. Sometimes it's out of your control. Anyone who has diabetes understands that. Yes, we should keep our numbers in the "perfect" range. And a lot of the times we do. But it's not easy, nor is it exact.

I was looking into the Diabetes Advantage program since we went to that meeting. I don't know if I can get it, but getting lectured by someone who doesn't even know me makes it seem a little less desirable. Maybe I could put up with it for the free supplies...

Looking back, this whole thing reminds me of the time I called in to get my a1c... the nurse at my doctors office told me that it was 8.8. Then she proceeded to say in a nasal voice "That's a little high, don't you think?" Yep. It is. But it's not her job to lecture me.

Don't let this woman get to you. She obviously has no idea what it's like to have diabetes.

Kerri. said...

Due to the fact that I am not in the mood to mince words tonight, I offer the following:

What a bitch. Who exactly does that Phone Woman think she is?

You continue to do the best you can. And be as honest as you can. You may not have the compassion of Phone Woman, but you have the support and collective strength of this online diabetes community.

melissa said...

Thank you both!! Can I just say that I LOVE THE DIABETES OC!!!!!

Johnboy said...

How irritating...truly. I guess it is worth the irritation to get the deal on supplies. Hopefully, you won't get her again too soon.

It might be a good idea to tape some pat responses to those stupid questions and just play into the phone while you whisper "you bitch" to yourself. Just a suggestion... ;)

Melanie said...

Hi Melissa!
I have been reading your blog since your sister told me about it. I couldn't help but respond to this entry!
I too have DA and it drives me crazy. One time I ended up counseling a nurse that was having a bad day and then when she asked the beloved how high question...she said...well at least I'm not you.
Now I just give them my lowest high and my highest low. I also call at 8:20 because they stop taking calls at 8:30.
Your blog is great..every day I read it I feel less alone!

julia said...

Next time, ask her if she has diabetes. If she says no, then say "Well, you really have no idea how difficult it is to manage this disease then, do you?"

Maybe a sharply worded letter to the insurance company asking them to have people run this program who are intimately familiar with diabetes. CDEs would be a good start.

Is she there to lecture you or there to collect information? Because if it's the latter, then she needs to shut her pie hole.

God. I really hate people some days.

art-sweet said...

No. It's not you.

She's a female dog of the highest order.

Erica said...

That's horrible... she obviously needs to buy a clue about diabetes and should NOT be calling clients!

Keith said...

Melissa:
I can't help but think incidents like this are brought on by the hordes of 'out of control' PWDs that these people must constantly deal. When they do stumble upon PWDs that are honestly trying to keep their condition in check, they don't seem to know the difference.

Sorry that you had to contend with this. Even though I know it's difficult, I'd try to blow it off. After all, you and your Doc are the only ones who truly know your level of control (and sometimes only you).