Lemonade Life

Sunday, March 11, 2007


Last Tuesday night, I ran out of test strips.

I mean, completely out. None for the regular meter, none for the back-up Ultra. Not even expired "this number is at least 30 points off" test strips.

Since it was 11 o'clock at night, my only choice was to wait patiently until the next morning to drive to the pharmacy to pick some more up.

The next morning I drove down to Albertson's before class. I went to the counter and explained to the pharmacy technician that I need to order test strips because I didn't have any. I also explained that they would have to call the pharmacy in the Quaint Little Portland Suburb That Remains Unnamed, because I accidentally transfered the prescription up there the previous weekend. The technician informs me that it will be at least half an hour before they will be able to call the pharmacy. I decide to station myself at the magazine rack while I wait.

About half an hour later, I get a phone call from the pharmacist.

"The pharmacy in Quaint Little Suburb doesn't have a record of your BD meter prescripton," she informs me.

Wha?? How do you lose a prescription? It's not like these things just get up and walk out of the pharmacy.

"But they have the new prescription for the Ultra from your endocrinologist." (I had finally decided a couple weeks ago to toss the BD once and for all and move to a more reputable brand - Lifescan).

Now, one would think this would solve all my problems and the world would be all sunshine and roses again.

Ha. Lest you forget the subject we're talking about: diabetes.

You see, my insurance company has once again changed the category that my test strips fall under. First, they were normal durable supplies that I could order from Medtronic Minimed during my tri-monthly supply run. I got everything from one place, at one time, every three months, with the insulin bottles the first week of every month. It was the next best thing to a dream come true (okay, it was about five spots below the next best thing, but you get the idea).

Then they switched it to a pharmacy supply. Test strips and insulin were bought the first week of the month, and the pump supplies every three months. Still relatively convenient in the grand scheme of ways diabetes can fuck things up.

Now they have switched it again to the peudo-technical category of "major medical durable supplies." Whatever the hell that means. It wouldn't that much of a crisis if it wasn't for the fact that pharmacies can't code for "major medical durable supplies."

The pharmacist goes on to explain that my doctor has prescribed 400 test strips, and that if I buy them, I will have to buy them at full price.

"I can put together a box of 100 test strips if you want," the pharmacist says, "Just so you can have some and then you can bill your insurance company." She tells me I would have to talk to my insurance company to find out where to get my test strips in the future.

After I get off the phone, I call my dad.

"Hey kid," he says as he picks up.

"Have I mentioned lately how much I hate diabetes?" I reply. I have an hour and a half until I am supposed to meet with some classmates, and I still haven't tested, taken a shower or had lunch. "Everytime I turn around diabetes is there to fuck things up."

After I explain to my dad what had happened with the change in insurance, he gives me our insurance information and tells me to go ahead and buy the test strips (well, obviously, what was he going to say? No, I think you should wait?).

An hour and a half after I arrived at Albertson's, I finally left with my 100 Lifescan Ultra test strips and drove home to discover a 258 mg/dl. After two months of averaging 202 mg/dl, this wasn't exactly a surprising number. But luckily, my numbers have been taking a nice downward turn towards "the middle." Well, for the most part that is. I have still hit the 200s a few times since Wednesday, but I have also gone low nine times in the past 5 days.

Nine times.

This includes an hour long low blood sugar episode last night. Woke up at 2:15 a.m. shaky and flushed (a new symptom! I have never had this symptom when low, but now I do! I am a part of the Hot n' Sweaty Hypoglycemic Club! Woohoo!). After testing (68 mg/dl) and grabbing an apple Juicy Juice from the fridge, I waited for the low to disappear. I had a hard time falling back asleep, so I decided to change the time on my pump and fiddled around with my cell phone trying to figure out how to change the time. It finally switched on its own. This is the first time I have ever changed the time on my clock at 2 o'clock in the morning, the "official" time-switching time. Then I realized the reason I wasn't falling back asleep was because I was 70 mg/dl. Oh joy.

While I'm secretly a little pleased that all the lows are lowering my A1C little by little, hypoglycemia is such a frustrating and painful experience for me that it's really something I try to avoid as much as possible. So we'll making more switches. That's all diabetes is sometimes... just switches... Switches in insurance, switches in meters, switches in injection sites, switches in injection methods (pump v. shots), switches in basal rates and bolus ratios.

Soon, I'm making an even bigger switch in my diabetes regime...


At March 12, 2007 5:04 AM , Blogger Keith said...

Allison, thanks for the reminder to set my pump time forward.

On the strip front you could go to Wal-Mart and pick up 50 strips and a cheapy meter for <$30 buckaroos to have as a back up. It's not optimum but will do in a pinch.

At March 12, 2007 9:32 AM , Blogger julia said...

I hate insurance. I hate how they ('scuse my french) dick around with what's covered and how many you can get and blah blah blah di fucking blah. It drives me NUTS.

At March 12, 2007 9:35 AM , Blogger Scott K. Johnson said...

What a frustrating story! Enough to drive you crazy at times!

And what a cliff-hanger! I can't wait to hear what big switch you're making !!

At March 13, 2007 10:35 AM , Blogger MileMasterSarah said...

Test strips are expensive too....This sounds like it sucked.

At March 15, 2007 7:05 AM , Blogger Kevin said...

Bummer on the tests strips and the lows.

And (PS) I liked the Ferris Bueller reference...

At March 15, 2007 8:13 AM , Blogger Allison said...

I made a Ferris Bueller reference... Uh... go me, I guess, considering I've never seen the movie.

I was a year old when the movie came out! And I just never got around to seeing it, I guess...

At March 23, 2007 2:10 PM , Blogger art-sweet said...

You WERE ONE when Ferris Bueller came out?

Thanks Allison. I feel old now.

And congrats on finishing your finals!


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home