If You Give a Girl a Test Strip
written by: Amy Berger, artificial pancreas
unfortunately a non-fictional tale
If you give a girl a test strip,
she'll want a poker to go with it.
So you will give her a poker and her PDM and she will test her blood sugar.
When she tests her blood sugar,
she will be low and want some juice to make her better.
When the girl is feeling better,
you will give her another test strip to check her blood sugar once more.
When you give her the test strip,
you will realize it is the last one from the container.
Since it is the last one from the container,
you will send your girl to the supply cabinet to get some more strips.
When she looks for more strips,
she will notice there are only 4 containers remaining.
4 containers remaining means it is time to place a reorder.
When you log on to the computer to place a reorder,
the screen will flash a warning: "Cannot fulfill request".
Not being able to fulfill the request,
the computer will prompt you to call a number.
Calling that number will result in a grumpy lady telling you they no longer contract that brand of test strip.
You will tell the grumpy lady your girl NEEDS that particular test strip because it is the only one that works in with her insulin pump.
Hearing about the insulin pump will cause the grumpy lady to stutter and place you on hold . . .
. . . indefinitely.
While you are on hold, your girl will ask for another test strip,
and she'll want her poker to go with it.
You'll give her a poker and her PDM and she will test her blood sugar.
When she tests her blood sugar,
she will be high and want a correction to make her feel better.
Making a correction will remind you she needs to test again in a bit,
and testing again will make you realize you are still on hold for a reorder.
A reorder is not going to happen with this phone call (according to the grumpy lady, you need to call your insurance company),
So you hang up the phone and search for your insurance card.
Searching for your insurance card will cause you to dig deep into your purse,
and deep in your purse is where you will find more test strips.
but those test strips are already used and therefor of no use.
Being of no use will remind you how scary it would be to be without them,
so you find the number on your insurance card and start dialing.
Dialing the number will result in getting lost in a maze of automated menu options.
The menu options are never exactly what you need,
so you press '0' for an operator,
And wait, wait, wait some more for a real, live person.
A real, live person gets on the line and states you need to file an appeal for the test strips.
Filing an appeal means you have to call the Endocrinologist.
Calling the Endocrinologist will mean you have to leave a message,
and leaving a message means you can get of the darn phone!
Getting off the darn phone will make your girl happy.
Making your girl happy will remind her she is hungry.
When she is hungry she tells you what she wants and you count up the carbs.
Counting up the carbs means she needs to enter that number into her insulin pump.
Entering carbs counts into her insulin pump will remind her she needs to test her blood sugar,
and if she tests her blood sugar she will need to use another test strip.
Using up another test strip will remind you to place a reorder,
And placing a reorder is getting complicated.
Complicated tasks make you frustrated,
and getting frustrated makes you want a cookie (or ten).
If you get a cookie, your girl will want one, too.
If she gets a cookie, she will have measure the carbs, test her blood sugar, and enter the data into her PDM.
Testing her blood sugar will use another strip,
and using another strip reminds you the stash is dwindling.
The dwindling stash will cause you to check your phone messages.
Your messages reveal the Endocrinologist called back.
The Endocrinologist says they will be happy to fax an appeal,
and faxing an appeal should result in a reorder.
A reorder will remind you it is time to test your girl's blood sugar.
Testing your girl's blood sugar is necessary because she has been jumping on the trampoline.
Jumping on the trampoline causes her blood sugar to drop,
and a drop in blood sugar could be dangerous, so you go get another test strip.
While getting another test strip,
you stop by the computer to check the status of the appeal.
The status of the appeal reads "DENIED",
and being denied makes you cRaZy.
Being cRaZy does not allow you to be a good artificial pancreas.
Being a good artificial pancreas means you get back on the phone,
and getting back on the phone results in talking to more stupid people.
Talking to more people reveals your policy has an "exclusion",
and this "exclusion" protects the insurance company,
Protecting the insurance company means setting limits on policy holders,
setting limits on policy holders means my girl can't get what she needs.
If my girl doesn't get what she needs, she will get very sick.
Getting very sick will cause her to go to the hospital,
and going to the hospital will cost the insurance company lots of money.
(WAIT. I'm confused. The insurance company doesn't want to pay for a 3 cent test strip, which costs us a dollar a piece over the counter, for preventative care? Won't they save more money by keeping my girl healthy?)
So, if you rant and rave and pull out the can of whoopa*#,
The can of whoopa*# will cause someone to listen.
Causing someone to listen will produce understanding,
and understanding will yield some common sense.
Some common sense will result in your husband's corporate HR manager to make a phone call.
Making a phone call will change your policy,
and changing your policy means the appeal is 'APPROVED'
Being approved means your reorder has been placed.
Placing the reorder will remind you your girl needs to test her blood sugar,
and testing her blood sugar will require a test strip . . .
End Never Ending Story
*The only way to end this destined-to-be-a-series of wretchedly written stories is to discover a CURE for my girl's T1D. Do what you can so I don't have to pen another tale. It is for the best, really, that I don't have to write another.
I LOVE this! But oh, how I hate dealing with insurance! So glad to hear you got this resolved in your favor.
If you give a brilliant mama a blog, she will write. When she writes, she will tell the truth. When she tells the truth, other mama's will be nodding along. While they are nodding they will leave a comment...and while commenting they will remember...it is time to order test strips for their family too.
I love you both so much! Ellie, you are a brave young lady and I hope things get easier as time goes on. I'm sorry you have to deal with those yucky insurance companies to get such a simple thing to help make sure Ellie is safe and healthy. Amy, I super love this story and you need to get it out there for more to see!
what a rendition of one of Isaac's favorite books...not sure if he'd enjoy this one as much, but I sure did. Sorry for the hassle, but glad you worked it out. You're so creative :)
Oh my gosh! Love this! But hate the trouble you had to go though. But love that you went though with it all! You go mama!
This. Is. Perfect. You have a way with words!
This is so awesome! Not the story, of course, but the storytelling.
Some of my favorite books!
What a fricking pain in the behind. I hate insurance companies.
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