The whole pump criteria thing is a bit of a mystery to me. I have seen two endos at the practice I go to and got completely different messages. The first endo I saw (endo #1, and she’s the one I have been seeing for awhile) said I was a perfect candidate for a pump because my A1C was good and I was logging everything and generally keeping my blood sugars under control. Endo #1 said that because I am “compliant” and take good care of myself, and because I take very small amounts of insulin throughout the day, I should have no trouble getting approved for a pump. She was the one who brought it up to me and referred me to endo #2 in the practice, who is the endo who prescribes the pumps.
When I met with endo #2, she was less optimistic. She said that my A1C might be “too good” to get approved for a pump and that because I was being well managed on MDI, the insurance company was not likely to approve me. She also added that because I wasn’t having wild swings in my blood sugar and because I am on a low dose of insulin, that too would disqualify me for pump therapy. That said, she put in the request and my insurance approved it in under a week.
The CDE/dietician I met with also said I was a perfect candidate for the pump. She said that with my low insulin requirements, the pump would give me more options. Also, the CDE felt like the pump would help me get over my fears of “overdosing” myself on insulin (which causes me to eat very few carbs and take a minimal amount of insulin, which the CDE/dietician felt was not a good thing in my case). Endo #2 said that my low dose of insulin and very low basal requirements would mean that I would have all sorts of toruble with the tube clogging.
Thus far, I LOVE my pump. I’ve had no issues with clogging and the ability to give myself small doses of insulin is amazing. I personally think that this technology should be available to anyone willing to try it.
Now, here’s where your friend comes in - you have to be really willing to give pump therapy your full effort. If your friend’s diabetes is uncontrolled due to lack of effort, pump therapy would be very dangerous. However, if he’s having a hard time controlling it because he’s requiring large amounts of insulin or needs increments of insulin, the pump might help. But there’s definitely a learning curve there. The pump DOES NOT automate diabetes. It’s a good tool, but you have to really learn how to use it, and that learning curve can be significant for some people. It’s easy once you get the hang of it, but I spent many hours going through the manual and teaching myself how to do things so far. And I still have more to learn.
My experience with endos is basically that they generally don’t know what’s best for a particular patient. They like to think they do, but they don’t. You have to be really articulate at explaining what you want and why you want it. In addition, you have to be able to shop around if you don’t like the first answer AND you have to recognize that diabetes is largely a disease of self management. The endo cannot put food in your mouth and cannot inject you with insulin 24/7. You have to do these things on your own.