The Cost of Diabetes, Dear Omnipod continues…

I broke down and ordered a box from Omnipod. It’s tough to say no to something on principal (expense) when it makes my life easier. When I stopped ordering the pods last spring, I owed Omnipod about $1000. I told myself I wouldn’t order any more pods until my bill was paid off and set up a payment plan of $50 a month. At that rate, it will take my 20 months to pay off what I owe, and I was only about 7 months in when I gave up and ordered another box of pods.

“Charge it!” I said, which reminded me of the days when I was young and went to the general store in our tiny village of Brownsville, Vermont and pick out a treat. My parents were in the background somewhere, and I would tell Rodney, the man/owner behind the counter to “Charge it.” The town was so small that everyone had a charge account, and I assumed that Mom and Dad would settle up with Rodney at the end of the month.

It was the seventies and Mom and Dad were hippies living in a 100 year old falling down house in the deep woods of Vermont and money was scarce. It made me feel rich to say those words at the counter, “Charge it,” because there was no one standing next to me pulling singles out of a bettered wallet or counting change onto the counter. I imagined that a ‘charge’ was unlimited and unrestricted by the reality of actual dollars.

When I used that familiar refrain on the phone with the customer service rep at Omnipod I didn’t feel rich, I felt relieved (because I knew that help for my blood sugars was on the way), but I also felt defeated. The big corporation had won, and I, the little consumer had not. I was getting what I wanted, more pods, but I was paying deeply with imaginary dollars, reaching into empty pockets to pay.

Our neighbors in Vermont were an older couple, Frank and Phoebe Phillips. Phoebe taught me piano for a while and Frank gave us rides up and down the dirt road in the winter on his horse and buggy. I remember one summer that trucks came to their house to dig a well. I don’t know what they did for water until that point, I’ll have to ask my parents, but I do remember that the trucks never seemed to reach water. They kept digging and digging and I knew from listening to my parents talk that the deeper our neighbors dug to get water, the more money they had to spend. But no one can go without water so they kept digging.

I went without water as long as I could. When the UPS guy dropped off the box of pods, I hurried to the porch, my three boys following in my trail, asking, “What is it mom?” They watched as I ripped open the packaging as if it was a new pair of shoes or a new dress. Surrounded by my boys,  I demonstrated how to fill the pod with insulin and stuck it onto my lower back. “Remember?” I said and Will and Miles nodded, “Oh yeah.” Reid on the other hand came over and touched the pod and said, “Mommy boo-boo.” His face was questioning. “Yes, boo-boo,” I repeated, pushing his hand away. But he was interested and kept touching it and kept saying, “Boo-boo, Mommy boo-boo.” I kissed the top of his head and nodded. “Yes Reid, this is Mommy’s boo-boo.” And it made me kind of sad. But then, the next morning, instead of waking up at 250, my blood sugar was 75. I reached water.

I can’t wait for the pump companies to figure out a way to make their equipment more affordable so in the meantime, I’ll keep digging.

One thought on “The Cost of Diabetes, Dear Omnipod continues…

  1. Thanks for sharing this Amy. I hope that the company makes Omnipod listens to your pleas and decreases the cost of its products.

    It seems like the cost of diabetes supplies is an issue all over the world. I live in London, England and am currently not able to get the number of test strips that I need from my GP. I really struggle to understand why test strips remain so expensive. I was diagnosed in 1991 and they don’t seem to have become cheaper over time.

    Omnipod is generally not available here because it apparently costs more than the Medtronic pump. The idea of not having to wear a huge box on me 24 hours per day really appeals to me so I hope that Omnipod will come down in price so that more people all over the world can access it.

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