Moments of Wonderful

…rather than a lifetime of nothing special. A diabetes blog.

Moments of Wonderful - …rather than a lifetime of nothing special. A diabetes blog.

No charge

no chargeIt’s not enough power to charge my Dexcom, but the hidden USB port in my glove compartment definitely came in handy a few days ago when I forgot to charge my Verio IQ meter before I left my apartment. With a twenty minute drive across town to get to work, it was plenty of time to charge the meter for another week’s worth of BG checks.

I guess if the power ever goes out around here for an extended amount of time, I will have to make sure I still have batteries for my pump and a different way of charging my Dexcom. In the world of charging diabetes devices, I like to diversify my options.


* This is probably the end of the (new-ish) car related posts, at least until my license plate comes in.

“I will fix it”

I needed to take some time off work yesterday to go to the DMV to register my new (to me) car so I decided to take a personal day and resolve a new-very old insurance billing issue.

flashback to 2011 for some insurance billingAbout two weeks ago I received an emailed invoice from a third party medical supplier/billing company (aka CC). I have had two other insurance companies since then so I was shocked by the bill. It was from a date of service in 2011 and I became even more shocked when I saw the amount they were requesting.

Funny side note: It was from this supply order.

I save every EOB and every bill, so I pulled the binders from that benefit year to figure out what was going on.

The more I looked at the amounts paid, the less sense that it made. I had the EOBs, the statements from CC, and the receipts from my payments spread out on my coffee table. I had a spreadsheet where I tried to organize it all pulled up on my computer and I started dialing.

My first call was to Dexcom because they had the greatest number of claims processed that year. I was curious to find out if anyone had actually paid them. That only lasted 10 minutes – mostly because they could only confirm that they got paid, but not what amount they were paid, or how or when it was processed.

My next call was to my insurance company (from 2011 – aka Blue). That phone call was also very short. The first question from the representative was, “why are you calling us instead of CC?” I explained that it was due to the fact that I didn’t want to pay any bills until I had matching EOBs. She said she understood and began clicking through claims. After looking through a few dates of service she put me on hold. The Blue representative came back on the line five minutes later and assured me that all claims had been processed correctly. She instructed me to take up any further questions with CC.

That was the next step. I put together a small snack to boost my stamina and called CC. I definitely needed the extra calories because of all the phone calls, they had the worst automated menu and the absolute worst hold music.

I had researched that insurance companies have a statute of limitations of a year to bill patients for claims so I started with that question. It turns out that third party providers have a year AFTER the insurance company pays in which to bill the customer. The insurance company and the third party supplier had been batting the claim back and forth since 2011. The insurance company only paid the claim in May – there was plenty of time left to bill me.

The rest of the phone call took about an hour but I took some notes on the highlights in case this became another ongoing battle:

  • The representative can see payment plan that was set up for my insulin pump but she can’t see the initial invoice because it was so long ago (umm??).
  • We “discover” that in the cases where I had a revised EOB, the invoices were not corrected and I was not billed the correct amounts from CC.
  • She asked if I had received a refund for the multiple overpayments on my account. I confirmed that I did not but that I suspected the amounts had been reassigned to other invoices because those balances jumped around.
  • When I explained to the representative that I was not comfortable paying anything else until the amounts matched she agreed and put me on hold to go over my account “with a fine toothed comb.”
  • Did I mention that CC has the absolute worst hold music?
  • The CC representative took me off hold twice to say that she ALMOST had the account sorted out and to promise me she was still working on it.

The third time that the CC representative took me off hold she did something that I have never heard before and I am not expecting to ever happen again.

She said to me, “I am so sorry that happened to you. That should not have happened and I will fix it.”

She assured me that I had done everything that CC had ever asked. She reaffirmed that I received bills, disputed the amounts, was assured they were correct, paid the bills, and later was later proven correct, and had the money repeatedly moved around to new (incorrect) invoices.

The 2011 bill arriving three years later will disappear. I have been assured that I do not owe this company another penny. I have a recorded phone conversation, a representative’s name, and a direct extension to support this claim.

I guess I won’t feel confident the bill is actually gone until probably some time in 2017.

And again I am left with the concern about what happens to people who don’t know how, where, or when to fight problems like these. Must read comment from Kelly Rawlings here.

Poolside chat

waterproof insulin pump“Are those waterproof?”

“Yup, they sure are.”

“Oh, cool. What are they?”

“Insulin pumps.”

And that was the beginning of a conversation that Barb and I had with a complete stranger at a local hotel pool last weekend.

The second thing I thought about the conversation is that I probably would have asked WHAT the device was that a stranger was wearing before I asked if it was waterproof.

But the first thing I actually thought about was how much I was hoping my pump was truly waterproof considering it has been quite some time since I replaced the battery and reservoir caps.

Thankfully my pump and I made it through the day of water and sun. The caps have now been ordered since the triple digit weather doesn’t seem like it’s ending around here any time soon.

barb and sara - waterproof pump people

Eight is great

blogaversaryI started writing on my blog eight years ago to connect with my family after I moved 3000 miles away from them. I had no idea that I would find an entirely new extended family in the world of the diabetes community. I thought I was just writing about my life, but when I mentioned diabetes somehow people like Amy, George, Scott, and Kerri found my blog and left comments. I discovered that there were other people out there like me and searched through the comments on their sites to find more and more people writing about life with diabetes.

Some days everything seems to go right, and diabetes only occupies my mind in the moments I check my blood sugar and bolus for my food. Other days, a site needs changed, a CGM doesn’t track correctly, a dinner bolus is missed, a rage bolus results in a low blood sugar, and prescription refills need to be called in at the pharmacy and it seems like every moment is occupied by diabetes.

I am thankful for the support of the global diabetes community in each and every moment.

blog candles

P.S. If anyone reading this is considering starting a blog for the first time, my advice would be to focus on simply being a storyteller and also don’t include the name of your city in your blog URL – you WILL have to change that pretty quickly! Lesson learned!

On the road again

The last time I got a new (to me) car my life looked a little different than it does now. First of all, I was in high school (it’s been a while!). And among other numerous changes that fifteen years brings, I had not yet been diagnosed with diabetes.

driving with diabetes 2Now I’ve been driving the car for a little over a week and this past weekend I took it to a BBQ that included some of the local T1D families. A mom of a small child with diabetes (with an awesome personalized license plate – CURET1D) and I chatted about the idea of keeping diabetes supplies in the car.

I have personally never kept any supplies in my car. My purse always has my meter and glucose tablets. Most of the time I am close enough to home that I don’t need to carry spare insulin or pump supplies, but I obviously add that stuff when needed. Since I carry on me what I typically need, I never thought to add anything to my car.

I stopped by Target this past weekend to add some organization to the trunk space. Now I’m trying to figure out if there’s anything I should add (that can survive triple digit temperatures) to be more responsible while driving with diabetes.

driving with diabetes 1

Check out the list of May’s Best of the ‘Betes Blogs posted on Diabetic Recreational Athletes – a site “attempting to build a new community to urge all diabetics to be more physically active.” Be sure to check out the rest of the site after viewing the list.

Diabetes Misdiagnosed

For quite a while I wondered if the pieces of my diabetes diagnosis story that I remembered were actually accurate. My brain was clouded with sugar at the time so I wasn’t sure how much of my memory was to be trusted.

Around my tenth diaversary, I contacted the hospital where I had been admitted to obtain my medical records. I filed them away and only started thinking about them again recently after visiting the newly diagnosed son of one of Wendy’s friends.

My records from that hospital are a struggle for me to read. I think back to how sick I felt for so long. I was just so tired all the time. My clothes were falling off me and I could only wear tie-on shoes because anything else was too heavy for my legs to carry. Even then, I was exhausted to the point of tears just getting from class to class. By the time I was admitted to the hospital I felt like I couldn’t catch my breath. No matter what I did, I could not breathe deeply enough. The symptom that finally convinced me to go to the emergency room was when my heart started to hurt. It wasn’t a sharp pain or heartburn, but an actual ache in the area of my heart.

diabetes misdiagnosed

I suppose phrases like “out of control” are accurate for insurance purposes, but don’t quite seem fair since I had no say (or insulin) in the situation. The diagnosis mentioned from almost a year prior refers to the diagnosis of type 2 diabetes when my blood sugar was 208 mg/dL with a kidney infection. The report seems to imply that I chose to stop taking oral medications or that I did it against doctor’s orders. In fact, it was specifically a doctor’s orders to stop taking the medication and to control my diabetes with diet and exercise.

diabetes misdiagnosed 1

When my blood was finally drawn for lab work, in addition to an A1c indicating sustained blood sugars at least over 350 mg/dL for months and high levels of ketones, the reports show that just about everything they measured was out of range – high hemoglobin, irregular red blood cells, high white blood cells, very low sodium, very low potassium, high chloride, low CO2, low BUN values, low creatinine levels, low calcium, and on and on.

However, if there is one thing that convinces me of the continued need for diabetes education and advocacy in every community it is the final diagnostic notes from the endocrinologist as I was discharged from the hospital.

diabetes misdiagnosed 2

My diabetes diagnosis was in 2003. That just a little more than a decade ago – not the dark ages of medicine. How is it possible that a medical professional, one that specializes in diabetes management, could not only believe that statement to be medically possible but also record it in a patient’s chart?

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