Be prepared for all emergencies, big and small.
Editor's Note: While this columnist is no longer writing for dLife.com and we have ceased to update the information contained herein, there is much to be read here that is still applicable to the lives of people with diabetes. If you wish to act on anything you learn here, be sure to consult your doctor first. Please enjoy the column!
September 2008 — Our refrigerator is dying. No big deal, right?
However, since one of us is dependent on insulin that must be refrigerated, it is a big deal. It has made me realize how many things seen as luxuries to others are necessities for us...and vice versa.
We've watched the return of hurricanes to the southeast United States and it pains us to think about those who have been evacuated with diabetes. Are they getting their insulin and other related medications? Are they able to test their blood sugar on the schedule determined by their physicians?
At the same time, we feel secure here in Colorado, where very few natural disasters occur. Sure, there's the occasional tornado or snowstorm, but we don't often think about planning for the possibility of being evacuated from our home. Water, Greg's insulin, my medication, our meters - that's what we know we need to grab in case of emergency, though the cats mean comfort and the computers mean important documents.
At times, Greg's dependence on insulin seems much like the dependence on foreign oil that is being discussed in this year's presidential campaign. There is one difference - there are no alternatives to insulin for type 1 diabetes.
There are things that I do to keep healthy with type 2 diabetes that others almost certainly think are luxuries. I make food choices that fall in line with the diet I must follow, but often this means I spend more than your typical consumer on groceries. Instead of splurging on clothes and hair salon appointments, I choose to splurge on massage to help me relax and keep my blood pressure normal.
Then there's health insurance. Without it, Greg and I would be spending a decent percentage of our income on insulin, medication, and test strips. We have chosen the most expensive plan in order to alleviate our out-of-pocket expenses throughout the year.
Back to our refrigerator. It's not absolutely necessary that the insulin be refrigerated for the few short days that we wait for a new one to be delivered. We've learned that lesson from those affected by the recent hurricanes. But the uncertainty of whether all that insulin has lost its potency is cause for concern. That's why we're glad to have an older dorm-sized refrigerator on hand.
In the end, the less stress our conditions cause, the better; the more prepared we are, the better. If doing those things creates a little more expense, so be it - our lives depend on it.
Read more of Rachel's columns.
dLife's Viewpoints columnists are not all medical experts, but everyday people living with diabetes and sharing their personal experiences, most often at a set point in time. While their method of diabetes management may work for them, everyone is different. Please consult with your diabetes care team before acting on anything you read here to find out what will work best for you.
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Years before I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, The Other Half came out of a doctor's appointment with a diagnosis of "borderline diabetes" and an ADA exchange diet sheet. His health insurance agency followed up on the diagnosis with a glucometer and test strips. After a year or so of trying to follow the diet plan and test his glucose levels, things appeared to be back in "normal" range, and stood there until a couple of years after my own diagnosis. Shortly...