Creating Your Own Best-Case Scenario
What to keep in your first aid diabetes kit in case of emergency
By Wil Dubois
I hadn't planned on running out of gas. Who does? When the alert tone went off in my Jeep, I started playing the device Macarena: I checked my CGM, my phone, my iPod. Nothing. Then the yellow light on the dashboard finally caught my eye. Oh crap. I had just driven my way into what I call an Emergency Poquito — Spanish for small, or tiny, emergency.
How does running out of gas qualify as an emergency? For most people it doesn't. For most people it rates, at best, as a major annoyance. But for people with diabetes, running out of gas in the middle of nowhere can quickly escalate from an annoyance to a life-threatening event. A bona fide emergency.
Now, I admit, when most of us think of emergencies, we think of disasters. Like Sandy. But that's what I call an Emergency Grande. You got it — Spanish for large, or widespread. And I don't mean to belittle how frightening and dangerous Sandy must have been for those in its path, but both poquito and grande emergencies are equally serious when it comes to your diabetes.
And the prescription to keep you alive in either case, is to accept that you are not immune from emergencies of any size, and to take an inoculation of emergency preparedness because events that are merely trying for others can be truly deadly for people with diabetes.
What is emergency preparedness?
Louis Pasteur said, "Chance favors the prepared in mind." I say, "Worst-case scenarios don't happen to prepared diabetics."
The key to keeping any emergency, grande or poquito, from becoming a diabetes disaster is to be prepared in advance. And it's really not that hard to do. You just need to be ready by having three different types of supplies on hand.
You need a daily "Go-bag" that's with you all the time and holds what you need to survive, diabetes-wise, for 48 hours. This is the prescription for an Emergency Poquito. You also need a stash of diabetes goodies at home that could carry you through two weeks of blizzard conditions, civil unrest, or plagues of locust. And finally, you need a grab-and-go kit to keep one step ahead of rising water.
Let's talk a little more about all three.
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As I mentioned in an earlier post, one of the benefits that made it cost-effective for me to go with the real healthcare (HSA) plan rather than the phony (HRA) plan is that my company is now covering "preventative" medicines at $0 copay. The formulary for these, as stated by CVS/Caremark (my pharmacy benefits provider), covers all test strips, lancets, and control solutions. I dutifully get my doctor to write up prescriptions for all of my testing needs, submit...