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Don't Let Doctors Push a Pump on You

Arden's Day Blog

Arden's Day is a type I diabetes care giver blog written by author Scott Benner. Scott has been a stay-at-home dad since 2000, he is the author of the award winning parenting memoir, 'Life Is Short, Laundry Is Eternal'. Arden's Day is an honest and transparent look at life with diabetes - since 2007.

type I diabetes, parent of type I child, diabetes Blog, OmniPod, DexCom, insulin pump, CGM, continuous glucose monitor, Arden, Arden's Day, Scott Benner, JDRF, diabetes, juvenile diabetes, daddy blog, blog, stay at home parent, DOC, twitter, Facebook, @ardensday, 504 plan, Life Is Short, Laundry Is Eternal, Dexcom SHARE, 生命是短暂的,洗衣是永恒的, Shēngmìng shì duǎnzàn de, xǐyī shì yǒnghéng de

Don't Let Doctors Push a Pump on You

Scott Benner

I've never told the story of the day that we chose Arden's insulin pump because it involves people that I love and who have done countless wonderful things for my family... f%&cing up.

But it's been a while and most of the people involved in the story have moved on to other places of employment... so what the hell.

Kelly, Arden and I stepped into the conference room at our children's hospital for a pump presentation. There was maybe a dozen families in attendance, each frightened, unsure and hoping for proper guidance. The people running the presentation spoke for a while, they taught us about pumping and then brought all of the different pumps out so that we could see them. Parents began to formulate questions, it was obvious to me by the trainers answers that they had their favorite pumps and were trying to lead people to certain devices.

Not wanting to be part of the folly, I went back to the demo pumps at the now abandoned display. This table was set up so specifically, like a display at a high-end retailer. Each pump was presented just so, documentation arranged off to their sides. It looked like the manufacturers sent a trainer, to train the pump trainers on how to make the pumps appealing. 

Beyond the table was in a misshapen corner of the room where the trainers had abandoned the packing materials. The mess caught my eye and when it did, I noticed a little white box with green and blue printing that didn't look like it belonged with the garbage. I walked over to investigate and found an Omnipod starter kit that contained a PDM and sample pods.

"What's this", I asked a trainer. 

"You don't want that", she replied.

Not being the kind of person that enjoys being told what I do or don't want, I responded with a bit of sarcasm, "Oh... why not?".

Then it happened, a person I was counting on to give me good advice, began just to say what ever they could think of to make me rejoin the group.

"Your daughter is small, you want a Ping" - "This one won't work on skinny kids" - "It doesn't have a small enough basal rate" - "You will be limited to sites" and my favorite, the scare tactic that they all love to pull out... "If you don't like it, you will be STUCK with it for four years because of (Cue scary music) your insurance... FOUR YEARS".

I didn't listen to her. I inspected the Omnipod and saw a lot that I liked. I saw different, innovative, the ability to change designs without having to repurchase and of course, I didn't see any tubing. We were sold and set off to show the pod to Arden so we could explain how it would work. In the time that we sat there talking to Arden, each trainer took a shot at scaring us into not choosing the Omnipod.

Fast-forward to two years later

Arden's Endo appointment ended and the NP asked if Arden could wait outside, she closed the door behind Arden and then said this.

"I wanted to take a moment to apologize to you..."

You see, two years prior at the pump training that I just told you about, the people in Arden's practice didn't have any experience with the Omnipod and they didn't want to be responsible for overseeing a device that they didn't understand. It wasn't the basal rate or a lack of sites that made each of them try to talk us out of what has become the foundation for how we keep our daughter happy and healthy. They weren't concerned medically and everything they said was one hundred percent horse shit. They were just covering their asses. Anyway, the NP goes on to tell me that because of the fantastic success that Arden is having with the Omnipod, the institution is going to start prescribing them to children. 

There are a few professions that we are conditioned from birth to revere. Police officers, teachers and doctors are the big three. You listen to police, you respect your teachers and you assume that your doctor knows much better than you - and I would tell you that I believe those things are true a lot of the time, but not all of the time. 

I tell you this story today because I recently heard about a family that was being forced away from a device that they wanted by their doctors. Medical professionals who defended their position with a lot "information" and "reasons". Doctors who took advantage of the patients desire to want to believe and listen to them – I deplore that. I've been around type I diabetes long enough to see this happen time and again and I wanted to offer you the moral support to trust yourself. I'm certainly not suggesting that all doctors are lying, or that every time you are prescribed something it's with deference to who the institution has business relationships with - but you know, it's worth considering.

You are the final word on what pump (or CGM) is right for your family. Do the research, ask the question and by all means take your medical teams advice seriously, but don't let anyone pressure you into a decision that you aren't comfortable with.

Stand firm the next time you feel pressured by your medical team to make a decision that you don't agree with but for all that is sacred, if a cop tells you to put your hands up.... please do it. ;)

If you're looking for a deeper conversation on this topic go to episode 124 of the Juicebox Podcast.