Tag Archives: affording diabetes supplies

Don’t Let Insulin Prices Kill You

Some people die every day because they don’t have access to something they need. Especially if you travel outside of the US. If you investigate, there is often a string of reasons contributing to their lack of access to something they need. So while none of us expects a fellow human to be perfect, survival and its first world, distant cousin we call “thriving” often demands a solid succession of wise decisions. We should be encouraging each other to make good decisions and I include the medical community when I say this.

The Diabetes Online Community often says that people die just because of a lack of access to insulin because of the prices of insulin. It’s a bit more complicated. This story has been oversimplified. Obviously, the prices of insulin are a huge contributing factor, but since prevention of more people ending up this way is of key importance, I think that talking about the other reasons which may have played a role is crucial. For example, these people who died because they couldn’t afford insulin, did they not have family or friends or a church community they could lean on? Did they have the latest smartphone or a nice car? Did they get in over their heads financially? Did they struggle to keep constant employment for some reason? Was it due to poorly managed blood sugars? Were those due to choosing to eat foods that make it really hard to manage blood sugars?

In other words, did their life choices help make them this vulnerable?

Some in the DOC will ask how these cases happen and often, community members shoot back saying that it does no good to question and that suggesting that their personal decisions played a role is just WRONG. Well, I beg to differ.

I think it could absolutely help someone to question this. Someone who could be next might be reading and may make a determined push in their life to make themselves less vulnerable. We should never minimize the power of wise personal decisions. They often make all the difference.

Of course, these stories are awfully tragic but I do question how each might have been preventable, too. Why? Because my daughter and I have type 1 and that makes us pretty vulnerable as a family unit with crappy health insurance and one income. So to best protect ourselves, my family has to think through possible safety nets and situations very carefully. We can’t afford certain things nor to engage in certain behavior or take certain risks. People tell me I should take a vacation because there is a bit of money in the bank. No. That money exists as a cushion to the realities of life–one with two type 1s in it.

Life is rife with consequences for everyone, especially those most vulnerable. One of the saddest things to me about type 1 diabetes is how vulnerable it can potentially make a person. No it’s not “fair” but life isn’t fair so what I would recommend any type 1 to do is strive to make careful decisions and to try to find ways to insulate themselves from further vulnerability, and simply do what is in their best interests, even if that means going without something else like a smartphone or a vacation or a nice car or cable TV or new clothes, etc. There are exceptions to everything but surely most of us can minimize the chances that we will end up like these sad cases?

Obviously, insulin prices are horrible (believe me I know, I pay twice over). However, each of us is probably responsible and smart enough to figure out how to survive if we focus and carefully prioritize while we work for improved affordability.

Here’s my plan against death and destruction from type 1 due to a lack of insulin under normal circumstances (not talking about a zombie apocalypse with a lack of electricity or a shortage of supplies or something–Lord help us all in that scenario):

My family already eats a very low carb diet which works best with R insulin for meals. On top of this my daughter and I also use a basal insulin and fast-acting for corrections. What if I can’t afford the basal and fast-acting? The plan is to use R and NPH for $50 a month to survive and be more disciplined than ever. It’s better than death and I’m also positive we can do it to achieve much better glucose control than most who have access to all the latest insulins plus a CGM and a pump. How to afford very low carb food? I would pretty much live off of tuna and sardine cans, I’m sure. It would suffice for a difficult period of time.

It also helps to keep friend and family ties, if possible. The more people to help you in a pinch, the better. Staying healthy usually saves money, so doing what one can now, today, to take great care of health and type 1 will pay off big time later on.

I’ll do all I can to prevent anything hurting me or my family. I suggest you do what you need to do to ensure your well-being, too. Don’t let excuses and a lack of priorities get in the way of your survival. After all, surviving and working to improve things is always the best way to honor those who didn’t make it.

Spending on our Diabetes Supplies

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Here’s my story-I used to get very caught up with how I was going to afford my diabetes medications and supplies.  I would make a yearly budget list of things I wanted to spend money on and I would include all my diabetes stuff on that list.  Then throughout the year I’d make choices from that list as money came in.  I ended up putting off my diabetes related purchases until the last moment or until I was broke and had to ask my parents for a loan.

This was no dignified way to live.  I felt upset every time I did spend money on my diabetes thinking, “This is so unfair, with what I spend on my diabetes, I could have gone to Europe for a month by now!”  And perhaps that’s the truth.  BUT…didn’t I have a high value placed on my health?  Didn’t I realize diabetes wasn’t going to go away and that if I was healthy, I was able to do more things?

I began realizing that my diabetes related purchases needed to be on a list of things that I must spend money on.  And in fact, those purchases needed to be at the top of the list because health really should be my priority.

I was bitter for years because I was giving up small vacations, clothes, cds, and other things I wanted to buy because that extra money was going to my diabetes.  I didn’t like feeling this way so I started working on changing the way I thought.

I realized I was choosing to be miserable, yet healthy when I could choose to be content and healthy.  So I decided to continue prioritizing my diabetes but I also began working towards a goal of getting a new job and making more money.  In the meantime, I’d try to take pleasure in the simple things like friends and family and focus on what I DID have.

Eventually I got to where I’m at now.  Paying for my insulin and strips is just like paying the monthly rent.  I don’t even think about it.  I need it.  I’m grateful to be able to pay for it.  And instead of being upset about it, I’m spending that energy on much better things.

In the end, it’s all worked out better than I ever dreamed.  Some people cannot afford their diabetes supplies.  Some don’t have the choice.  For those of us who do, let’s make it in favor of our health and the rest will fall into place.

What 1000 Glucose Strips Buy You

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My husband is a man of few words.  So when he does speak up, my reaction is often “genius!” or “that’s hysterical!”  And sometimes I’m just bewildered.  Anyway, out of the blue the other day, Alex said, “You know, for what they cost, 1000 strips easily buy you a cow”.

“Huh…?”

I should mention that Alex grew up in the country.  Not Tim McGraw’s country, I mean, use candles for light, eventually eat your pet goat, play in the cornfields, walk a few miles to school, no indoor water or plumbing, country.

Thanks to his comment, I thought it would be fun to make a list of things that 1000 strips can buy.  I use 1000 strips every 4 months.  I have insurance but many people with diabetes don’t and that’s worth noting when you realize what that money could be used for.  Let’s cure diabetes so we can all go shopping!  Just kidding!  Or not…

What 1000 Glucose Strips Buy You:

200 fast food lunches

A new TV and a Blue Ray/DVD player

A Blackberry for you and all your friends (and not the edible kind)

A weekend vacation

A nice set of golf clubs

A small used fishing boat and fishing gear

A nice pay down on credit card debt

A box full of Oprah’s favorite things

A Garmin Navigator GPS system for each of your two vehicles

Not one, but two good sized Dooney and Bourke bags

A few cans of excellent caviar (yeah…not worth it…)

A long and steep fall into the Gap

Five months of food for a homeless person

A super nifty digital camera

Two or three Dyson Vacuums (all you’d need in a lifetime!)

One troy ounce of 24k gold

Really sharp and fancy kitchen knives

A beautiful watch

A used clunker that can still get you from point A to point B (there’s a value in that!)

A kick start for an entrepreneur

 

Taking care of one’s diabetes doesn’t come cheap.  Tell everyone about it.