First of all, I’d like to thank the staff at the Costco pharmacy in Pointe Claire for managing to obtain the ½ unit dosing BD syringes which sometimes can be VERY difficult to obtain according to some of my D-mates who use them. Secondly, my endocrinologist, Dr. Skamene, who I sometimes don’t always paint in a great picture, but as a specialist, and the amount of patients he has and ill secretary (please Linda – beat that cancer!!!) – he came through for me.
A few weeks ago, I started to get my goodies ready for my travel bag. I’m going sailing for almost 3 weeks – with a few friends (aren’t we cute in the picture below?) – but I started to hit a few road blocks as I began to inquire about some items I would need.
The first was to replace my NovoPen Junior – that delivers ½ unit increments of insulin. It’s a pen delivery system that is designed initially for children – who dose with small amounts of insulin. Well, the one I had was going on 7 years – and due to my recently obtaining a new pen for delivery of my Lantus – I decided I should replace the NovoPen. Note – that the Lantus ClikSTAR pen is recommended to be replaced every 2 years.
Easier said than done, after going to almost ½ dozen pharmacies (yes – I have lots of time to waste NOT) – I discovered that they can’t supply that pen - let alone – have never heard of it (are all kids in Quebec using a pump now???). I then came home, and started to investigate, to find out the NovoPen Junior has been replaced by a pen with memory in it for your dosage – it goes by the name of NovoPen Echo. Okay – I like that with my old fart brain forgetting when I injected/how much if I don’t write the details in my log book. So, I want one …. NOW!!!
I’m then told that Novo Nordisk cannot send me one, let alone connect me up with the service rep for my area of Quebec. It had to all be done either thru’ a Diabetes Education Centre (DEC) or doctor. I’ve never been to DEC in Quebec – last time I was in one was over 30+ years ago In Ontario – so I scratched that one out. Next it was make a call to my endo, I explained the situation, and viola, I landed an appointment for 5 days later – hopefully giving us time to get the pen needle delivered in time for me to flap my wings to destinations further south with all my favourite tools that make my diabetes control happy.
The crazy thing is, what a waste of time, seeing my endo when I dropped in (I’d only seen him the month prior for my 6 month check up). Having him make the call to Novo Nordisk, request the item (the funny part was when he asked me “what colour do you want – blue or red?” – and I squealed like a kid “Is it candy apple red?” – his face if I could have taken a picture of it – PRICELESS – he didn’t give a rats ass about the colour – so I quickly said “Red please!!!”. So, promise of said pen – aka Echo – would be delivered in time for me to take it with me for my holidays.
Few days later, only one more day before I depart, I call the office. Line is busy, busy, busy. I send a FAX to find out – has the eagle landed? No reply after a few hours – still trying to get thru’ on LAN line. I then send a copy Novo Nordisk with the hopes they can tell me if it was delivered to the office – but have to record a voice message. Ohhhh, if only I had the service reps phone number – I could avoid all of this aggravation!!!!
So, I take the bull by the horns – with no answer from endo or Novo Nordisk –head out to the his office about 20 minutes drive away. Endo’s office – it’s a zoo – busy as usual – and new secretary trying to cope as best as she can. He happens to be picking up his next patient - looks at me – it’s never arrived – he’s as frustrated as I am. He says to go to Lake Shore Hospital – across the street – and seek out the Diabetic Clinic and see if they carry them. I’m even contemplating going to the Children’s Hospital – but my time and patience is beginning to wear out.
This Lakeshore is a cesspool of germs – I personally hate hospitals – and recently this one has been having issues with gastroenteritis– telling people to not come to ER due to over crowding. Today, It’s my lucky day, no one seems to be banning people from coming in. I take a deep breath outside (-30C) – and pray that I won’t come down with anything – again – I HATE HOSPITALS!!!
I manage to locate the clinic – this hospital is massively disorganised due to constant renovations to keep up with mainly the again population that is clogging up our hospitals sad to say. I luck in at seeing Kathryn Arcudi, who works in the DEC. I’m not sure if she recognised me (I had a goofy hat on) – but she took a few minutes from her client at the moment to tell me what I had not hoped to hear …. “We don’t use those pen”. No words can describe my sorrow at this point. I trudge back thru’ the mass like hospital – in a daze – and proceed to go to Costco – where they at least have been able to get my ½ cc syringes that I had a prescription for a few days ago – they will have to do.
Getting back home, I find a message from Niki at Novo Nordisk – telling me that the pens (2) had been delivered the day prior – but my endo’s office was closed – so they were left in the “office next door”. It’s like – SCREAM!!!! She is like me – after I call her back – unable to get thru’ on my endo’s LAN line all day long – and having to resort to sending a FAX- with no reply . I plead with her, can the rep not send me the pen to my house – but it can’t be done - period. So, between the both of us – we again send our own individual faxes to my endos office of the situation – with the hope that SOMEONE will see our fax – and respond to one of us.
Two hours later – ring, ring, ring, ring … it’s my endo’s office calling – he has the pen – and says he’ll stay in office for 15 extra minutes – so I can come pick it up (it’s now rush hour – Montreal has the worst in the world). Incase I don’t make it in time, he’ll leave the pen at the Pharmacy for me to pick up. Luckily, that doesn’t happen – we get there 20 minutes late going the back route saves us some time – he is still in his office – waiting for me – and I’m one happy camper – yes I am. I almost hug and kiss him – but hold off. I’ll repay him another time – since he went over and beyond what I would expect a busy specialist to do. I am blessed!
My question to Novo Nordisk is – why go thru’ this ordeal with obtaining the Echo pen? Why can the doctor NOT give a prescription for it – and allow the patient to PICK IT UP from their chosen PHARMACY? To waste the precious time of a busy specialist is beyond my comprehension. I do realise that perhaps some people would need training on how to use the pen, but really, it’s not that difficult to figure out with the well written manual (and mini version – which I’ll be taking with me).
Oh and by the way, I had asked Stephanie at Novo Nordisk about the expiration date of the NovoPen Echo – she couldn’t tell me – let her know – it’s written on the box of the pen – mine expires in 2017 …. I’ll be back to get a new one then … hopefully with less problems then I had with obtaining this one! I can't survive without my juice of life!!!