Low On Insulin for the Weekend

A road trip almost ends in disaster for Andy Holder if not for the help of his pump manufacturer.

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Forward Motion

As I said in our a recent newsletter for Insulin Nation, people with Type 1 diabetes understand that we can’t go it alone when it comes to staying healthy. We all know that having family support is vital for keeping BG in check, and obviously we rely heavily on all our health care professionals, including our endocrinologists and CDE’s.

But we don’t always realize that keeping healthy takes the proverbial village. It includes the factory worker who makes sure our pumps are safe, the scientist searching for a diabetes cure, and the civil rights lawyer who forces schools to accommodate T1 kids. Each plays a part in our day-to-day diabetes care. Recently, my health was preserved with an unlikely addition to “my village”: a nurse/trainer from Asante, makers of my Snap insulin pump.

It happened the Sunday before Christmas. I had been on the Snap insulin pump for about 6 months when my wife and I were getting ready to drive to New York City with our sons to enjoy a holiday brunch with family. We were walking to our car when an alarm sounded on my pump, alerting me to the fact that I only had 15 units of insulin left. It wasn’t enough to get me through the day, let alone to last until the following day when we had planned to come home.

I went back into the house to get another pump body and infusion set, only to realize that I had no more pump bodies. YIKES!!! If you are not familiar with the Snap pump, one of the great features is a pre-filled cartridge of insulin that is housed in a disposable pump body. I had more vials of insulin and plenty of infusion sets, but for some reason I misjudged my supply of pump bodies, and without the pump body there is nowhere to put the insulin vial – it needs the pump body to work.

Panic set in. How would I make it through the day on 15 units of insulin? Also, the pump body isn’t something I can just pick up at a pharmacy. Worse, it was Sunday; even if Asante could overnight me some, they wouldn’t be able to do it until Monday for a Tuesday arrival.

I called Asante’s 800 number, and their after-hours service promptly connected me with Rocio, a local nurse/trainer for Asante. Rocio did a wonderful job of taking the edge off and ensuring me that she would find a way to get me what I needed. When I told her I was on my way to New York to see my family, she offered to meet me at an exit off the Pennsylvania Turnpike near her home and supply me with a box of pump bodies. There was no mention of it being a Sunday or what plans she might have had that day, only that she would get it done.

She saved our weekend, and possibly my health by literally going the extra mile. “Customer service” is an often overused term, and we almost always talk about its absence. Good customer service is not always recognized. So I wanted to make mention of this and give a big thank-you to Rocio. And I should add a hearty “Job Well Done!” to Asante. For a new company, you have certainly come out of the gate with your priorities in order.

A form of this column has appeared on a blog run by the Asante company. Andy Holder does not receive any compensation from Asante.

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Andy Holder was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of 36. Despite never having competed a triathlon before and not knowing how to swim, he took on the grueling 2.4 swim - 112 mile bike - 26.2 mile run that is the Ironman Triathlon. He is now a 8-time Ironman finisher, inspirational speaker, diabetes spokesperson, and founder of the Iron Andy Foundation. Andy is responsible for audience development and building collaborations with organizations who empower people to live beyond diabetes.