You Can Call Me Saucy

An open letter to Novo Nordisk

Dear makers of my Novolog FlexPen,

A few weeks ago, I had a problem with my pen. I came home sick from work one day and when I checked my sugar, it was almost 300. Per usual, I took a bolus. Then I took a nap. I awoke feeling very groggy & thirsty so I reached for my glucometer. A few drops of blood, some beeps from the machine & then…some expletives from my mouth. I was at almost 500mg/dL! All I’d done was sleep and the sickness I was feeling was a headache & shouldn’t have made my sugars jump. I reached for the pen again and when I found a suitable spot to inject, I tried but something was off. The plunger seemed “off.” I can’t describe it except to say it went faster than normal. I decided to do a 2 unit air bolus to make sure it was working. Dialed up the pen to 2 units. Pushed the plunger. Nothing. Tried again. Nada. Dialed up to 10 units just for the heck of it. No dice. I immediately grabbed a new pen out of the fridge and successfully took a correction bolus. Then, I found your number and I called your customer service.

There was no long wait time. I don’t remember if I had to push 1 for English or any of that (the after nap stupor+ super high blood sugar affected my memory apparently). I was quickly speaking to a customer service rep (sorry I don’t remember her name!) and I told her I had a pen malfunction. I walked her through what happened. She then told me there were a few questions she had to ask. “Go for it” I said. First she asked if I had performed an air bolus. Check. She asked if I had stored my pen with the needle still on. “Of course not.” I responded. “I remove the needle after each use and put it in my end table nightstand desk sharps container.” She asked if I was sure I removed the cap after each use. I tried to remain calm when I explained myself AGAIN. Then she asked what brand of needle I was using. “BD ultra fine short pen needles.” Her response was, “Oh, that’s probably the issue. We don’t recommend using those needles. We suggest you use the NovoFine.” Understandable. However, I have been using the Novolog/BD combination since my diagnosis three years ago but I’ve never had this problem. So I’m feeling as if I’m being accused of being a bad diabetic. Hello?! Don’t you think I take enough crap from myself, my doctors, my family & complete strangers? Are you a PWD? Do you know how much work it takes? Well, let me tell you. I may not always perform an air bolus (who can afford to waste the insulin?) but I always remove my needles after using them (and I don’t reuse them either – unless I forget to restock my kit in which case once in a while I may have to do it. But I don’t make it a habit because it hurts – a lot!). So after the run around she told me I had to speak with someone in another department regarding my safety because of my elevated glucose levels. I was transferred to another woman (who’s name I also don’t remember – I should write this stuff down!) She asked if I needed a report sent to my doctor about what happened. “No, I can take care of it. Thanks.” She went through a few more questions (made sure I had more insulin to take and that I took another bolus – done and done). Then she told me to hang on to the malfunctioning pen. They would send a replacement to my pharmacy and I would exchange it for the bad one. All in all, I was a little distressed after the first customer service agent and her silly questions but I know everyone has a job to do. I was told it would take 3-5 days to settle this. Honestly, I was pleased to be getting a replacement. My sole intention when calling was to alert you of the malfunction in case you were noticing a trend. Getting a replacement pen was icing on the cake.

About 3 days later my pharmacy called to tell me my replacement was in. I headed down with that nasty no good pen. When I got to the pharmacy, I was expecting one single pen. I got a brand new box of 5 y’all!!!! It was  like Christmas!!!! I immediately forgot how frustrated I had been with that first customer service agent (honestly, I had forgotten a few hours after the call. For the record, she wasn’t rude and I know she was just doing her job). So I just want to pass word along that Novo Nordisk did me right. When I have an extreme experience with something (good or bad), I tend to share it with everyone I know. So consider this a pat on the back Novo Nordisk. I don’t make many trips to the pharmacy where I leave with a perma-grin on my face.


An extremely pleased PWD


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