Sunday, January 7, 2007

Diabetes Supplies

Diabetes Supplies: A Day in the Life

When you become diabetic, there are so many supplies that you have to buy. Many of them are extremely expensive. However, if you were to go without them, you're life expetancy would shorten to less than a couple of months. Insulin is, of course, the most vital; and along with that comes many necessary delivery items. Here are the supplies that I use most frequently. I feel as if after my diagnosis, I've become a new person, mostly because of all this baggage that I have to carry, in form of diabetic supplies.Here is an important diabetic supply. It is the Glucagon pen used for emergency hypoglycemia (low blood sugars). Colin would likely be the person to use this, if I ever needed him to. I've luckily never had a low so severe as to be incoherent or unconscious. What he would do is mix up the solution and inject the entire dose into a muscle group. The result would be a dramatic rise in blood sugar. This is actually my first ever prescription for the pen, and as you can see in the next picture, I've never had to use it either.
The inside of the glucagon pen. At the bottom (left side) is the powder wich is mixed with the salene solution inside the syringe.
These are lancets. Notice they aren't in any official box or packaging. I bought a supply of lancets when I was first diagnosed back in 2001 and I think I've only ever bought one or two boxes since then. I guess you are supposed to switch lancets every time you test, but who has time for that? I change my lancet each time I get a new bottle of test strips out, so that is 25 pokes or "lances" per lancet. I've found that they have other uses than poking fingers though, they've come in handy for many things around the house. This amonut of lancets will probably last me a couple of years at least. They are very inexpensive.

These are bottles of test strips that I use to test my blood-glucose levels. Each bottle holds 25 strips and this is my 3 month supply. This will actually last me about 4 and a half months or more, and I do a considerable amount of testing. I usually test at least 4 times per day, sometimes as many as 8. When I was pregnant, the minimum amount of testing per day was 10 times! This is where the pharmaceutical companies make bank, these come in boxes of 2 or 4 bottles (50 or 100 strips) and those run about $65 per box! So, to add it up for you, right there is about $815.00 worth of test strips. Of course, I have health insurance so, I only pay $30.00 for the same amount of strips.
Here are three months worth of tubing/ infusion sites. I keep all of my diabetes supplies in a tuperware drawer in the bathroom. It all comes packaged sterile. The tubes are 43 cm long and they are like a hose with insulin inside them. Then there is a canula part that goes inside my body. I have to switch this out whenever I run out of insulin. They recommend every three days and I do a pretty good job of that. The needle is only 6mm long so it doesn't hurt too bad when it is injected. The needle comes out right after you insert it because then the canula is inside your body.

This is about 3 months worth of insulin (slightly less). I take the brand Humalog, made by the Lilly diabetes company. They rake in the dough! This stuff cost about $30 per bottle retail. This supply only costs me $30 though because I use mail-in prescriptions and have great insurance coverage. Each bottle holds 100 units per ml wich means 1000ml. I use up one in about 9 days. I take about 60-80 units per day.

These are called reservoirs, they hold 300ml of insulin inside my pump, the Medco Mini Med 508. This is three months worth, I just got a shipment.

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