LifeAfterDx--Diabetes Uncensored

A internet journal from one of the first T1 Diabetics to use continuous glucose monitoring. Copyright 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016

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Location: New Mexico, United States

Hi! I’m William “Lee” Dubois (called either Wil or Lee, depending what part of the internet you’re on). I’m a diabetes columnist and the author of four books about diabetes that have collectively won 16 national and international book awards. (Hey, if you can’t brag about yourself on your own blog, where can you??) I have the great good fortune to pen the edgy Dear Abby-style advice column every Saturday at Diabetes Mine; write the Diabetes Simplified column for dLife; and am one of the ShareCare diabetes experts. My work also appears in Diabetic Living and Diabetes Self-Management magazines. In addition to writing, I’ve spent the last half-dozen years running the diabetes education program for a rural non-profit clinic in the mountains of New Mexico. Don’t worry, I’ll get some rest after the cure. LifeAfterDx is my personal home base, where I get to say what and how I feel about diabetes and… you know… life, free from the red pens of editors (all of whom I adore, of course!).

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Chop sticks, tooth picks, fiddle sticks: goodbye pump, hello pens

My fall from upper-middle class to medical poverty is nearly complete. I dropped my life insurance and I’m switching my aging cars from full coverage to the minimum mandated by state law. On the bright side I’ll be saving $700 by switching to Gieco. Of course, it’s mainly the coverage change, not so much the carrier. But what the hell, I wanted to give the little green guy a plug.

When looking at my dwindling income and rising outgo (gas, electric, and propane just keep going up and I can’t fucking believe how much a quarter basket of groceries costs now a days), I realized that I could no longer afford to be diabetic.

So I decided that as much as I love all of you, I was going to leave the club. But then I remembered a key point. Like the Mob, you only leave this club dead. Well, that doesn’t sound like too good a plan.

My new health insurance has turned out to be less than a bargain. One of the things our the clinic’s insurance “expert” neglected to tell me is that our policy has a special “DM rider.” All diabetic stuff is only covered 50%.

The insurance did pay for one box of CGM sensors. Well, half of one box of sensors. We now have to start the battle all over again for the next box. But now I find out they’ll only pay for half of my infusion sets supplies too. It never ends, literally. We’re still doing battle over some of the final medical bills from Deb’s grandmother. Leaving the club doesn’t make your medical bills go away. Like some kind of genetic plague they are simply handed down to the next generation.

Oh yes, back to the story.

I’m running low on infusion sets. I now realize that I can’t afford both CGM and pumping if I’m paying half. After some miserable soul searching I’ve decided to try to go back to old fashioned “shots” and keep the CGM.

I’m a little apprehensive. No, I’m actually scared shitless. I’m seeing in person what James S. Hirsch reportedly wrote about in his book Cheating Destiny (it’s on my nightstand, but I’ve been too depressed to read it). We are becoming a nation of two new types of diabetics, not separated by disease process, but by economics. The rich will have the best technology, meds, and treatments. The rest of us will die early and miserable.


Blogger Marina Martin said...

Can I ask why you chose the CGMS over the pump? Pump supplies are a lot cheaper, and for me can be made to last longer, than the CGMS sensors. Once I wore the CGMS sensors for a couple of months and got a much tighter handle on my basals, boluses, and most importantly, exactly how I react to exercise, I no longer wear the CGMS sensors full-time.

It's your life and fully your decision, of course, but I just wanted to share that earlier this year, a pump malfunction that no one could figure out led to my returning to shots after 10+ years pumping. I was MISERABLE. First it was two or three weeks of constant 400s as we determined my Lantus levels (it's supposed to be, add your total basals for the day, and dose that amount with Lantus every 24 hours, but that wasn't the case for me at all) and then it was a fear to exercise lest I run low for hours and hours. Not to mention what happens if you don't get your lantus shot right on time, or forget it. Eek. After that experience, I'd take the pump over CGMS any day of the week.

I empathize with your struggle ... I make a lot of financial sacrifices in order to afford my supplies. (I have a $3k Rx allowance per year and no coverage for pump supplies at all.)

9:44 PM  

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