College Fund vs. Diabetes Care
When it comes to this battle, there is no contest.
By Deanna Glick
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!
March 2008 — My baby is growing — and costing more money with each millimeter and ounce. She just started preschool and needs a closet overhaul if she's going to survive the colder months ahead. Both require a fair amount of cash. Thanks to a gift from one of her grandmas, preschool tuition is taken care of. And a community children's sale will cut the clothing budget a bit.
Even with all the number crunching, I still won't be able to pay off the $588.00 bill for the three months worth of insulin pump supplies I just received for a while. Most of the time, my diabetes doesn't impact my daughter. But when it comes to money, it's a greedy disease that steals from her every day. Sure, she lives in a nice home with plenty of food, clothes, and toys due mostly to the generosity of family and friends at Christmas and birthdays. The rest comes thanks to Target, Craigslist, hand-me-downs, and various secondhand sources. (I once hauled home a children's table and chairs set out for the trash.) But even with my savvy at secondhand acquisitions, we can't really squeak out college fund contributions or Wiggles concert tickets.
I know many people dream of such problems. And I want to set a frugal, non-material example regardless of my bank account or medical records. Still, I can't help but chafe at spending more on tubing and tape for 90 days than I will spend on all of my kid's clothes, gifts, and activities for an entire year. The really sad thing is that I have health insurance through the major U.S. media corporation my husband works for. Yet the portion of the premium we pay for, plus co-pays and deductibles, add up to thousands (yes, that's plural) in medical bills annually.
Part of the high cost comes as a result of the expensive diabetes management tools to which I've become accustomed, including an insulin pump and glucose testing up to 10 times a day. I also opt for PPO benefits that allow streamlined access to specialists as opposed to the oft-cumbersome referral process required by HMOs. This means heftier co-pays and premiums.
In today's healthcare climate, these choices are considered luxuries. However, they come after undesirable experiences with alternative insurance options and as a result of research suggesting the tight blood glucose control provided by pump therapy will reduce my chances of complications.
For me, this makes these luxuries -- top-notch technology and health insurance that requires thousands of dollars per year out of pocket – relative necessities. The only thing more important than saving for my daughter's future education is being alive and well enough to help her fill out a college loan application.
It's an unfair choice. But it's one I'm forced to make as long as I'm living in the richest country in the world.
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.
Caramel Coffee Delight Lemon Mustard Asparagus Delicious Stir Fry Tomatoes Fresh and Natural Applesauce Corn, Arugula & Tomato Salad Pineapple Salsa over Glazed Chicken Breasts Mint Pesto Benne Seed Wafers Coq au Vin Marinated Asparagus Bundles
I'm sitting waiting for a table at the cafe' for me and a friend who is running a bit late. Feeling a little off, I grab my test kit and poke my finger, getting a little blood droplet. "Does that hurt?" Asks the man sitting next to me. He's an older guy, with some pretty profound ear hair. I note the ear hair as I say "Sort of... I think I'm kind of used to it now. I've been doing it a long time." My sugar is a little elevated...