Friday 14 January 2011

Upsetting the Apple Cart

About 6 weeks ago I posted a blog about my recent experiences with Omnipod, after I had made some enquiries about the demo pod and received a string of long and frustrating episodes of silence.

In this blog, I detailed why my experiences so far with Medtronic had left me very secure in the knowledge that first impressions mean a lot. My first impression of Medtronic was great. My second experience was fantastic. My subsequent experiences, unmatchable. I decided that as I had never experienced an Omnipod, or had any idea of their customer service, I would stay with Medtronic because wires or no wires - I trust them.

Things have become a little confusing.

Around 3 weeks ago, just before Christmas, one of the bods from Omnipod US contacted me to say that he had just received my email (the one I sent them saying how disappointed I was that I had been unable to even obtain a demo kit, let alone have a conversation about the option of switching systems) and that he was extremely disappointed in the service I had received.

I should think so, to be honest.

In the email, he detailed some issues (all plausible) they had been facing with the demo pods and said that he was keen to send me one. His email was friendly but professional and the length of the response and managerial status of the person sending, showed me that my email had not been taken lightly.

Thank you, it was good to get a response, even if a 'little' late.

I explained that as grateful as I was, my time was up on choosing my pump and after having such a shakey start, I felt safer staying with my current company. I may be biased but in truth, Medtronic can do little wrong in my eyes, after helping me squeeze and wriggle my way out of several close scrapes (including sending me equipment at last minute, calling me back in a moment of hyperglycaemic 'fuzz' and walking me through the problems with kinked cannulas). But nevertheless, the previously silent company have now maintained a respectable level of communication, and have never been more than a day away in terms of replies to emails, and on one occasion chased me up on something. Good enough for me, Omnipod.

We continued to exchange emails as the team there seem to be very keen to send me the kit, probably because they know that once I have seen it I will be 'sold'. THIS was the kind of response I was expecting back in August when I sent of my first request.

Anyway, to cut a long story short[ish], after a number of emails and after me trying to explain that it may well be too late, I arrived home tonight to find a package waiting for me. Is it an Olive branch or a sales ploy? Not sure, but either way I knew what it was.

Everyone loves a package at the doorstep, right?

I tried my hardest not to get too excited, knowing that no matter how pretty or tubeless it is, I still stand by my words that I am a little nervous about what level of service I would receive if I had a problem.

Well folks, I am in big trouble. I was expecting something similar to my Medtronic pump, which I always thought was small, but it does have to house an AAA battery, a computer, 3ml of insulin and a host of other parts which make it work so seamlessly -most of the time - so it can only be 'so' small. I have always had a mix of responses to my pump. Some people seem surprised that it is so small, some people shocked at the size.

This, had me shocked. I will take a photo to include in my next post, because I will damn sure be giving this a spin, but to give you an idea, the 'pod' is about three quarters the width of my pump, about three quarters the length of my pump and a little thinner too. Next to an iPhone, it is exactly the same length as the smaller side of of an iPhone, and about a third of the length.

In other words - it is small!

It is currently sat next to me, still encased in it's packaging, because as keen as I am to try it out for size, I am very nervous about liking it too much. I wasn't lying or trying to 'fob off' Omnipod when I told them it was too late, there is a good chance my pump has been purchased, meaning I am too late for the boat this time. I also wasn't lying when I expressed how unsure I was about the whole level of customer service issue. I was, and still am concerned, that I could leave a very wonderful company for one I have yet to be convinced by.

But I am also sat here with the future of insulin pumping beside me. It has no tubing, is small and discrete and no one would have a clue what it was. I wouldn't have to tug on the tubing during the night or worry about bubbles getting in, because according the Omnipod website, the pump primes itself.

It could also be just out of my reach, for at least the next three years.

I am completely torn about what my next step is. I will try it out, because as small as it looks, it IS fixed to the skin, meaning where ever it is, it stays. My current infusion site is fixed, but it is also almost flat against the skin and I know all too well what a hassle it is when I lean against something.

I guess the next 3 days will be a real turning point for me. it will either determine whether or not this pump is the future for me or whether my head - which is with Medtronic - may want to take that risk and go with the Pod system.

Perhaps the customer service was down to that one rep, who to this day appears to be uncontactable by any normal means. Perhaps on the other hand, it is a good insight into what kind of service I cold receive if things went wrong.

Right now my heart says Omnipod, and my head says Medtronic.

That is a hell of a choice to be faced with. And one I thought was done and dusted.