Thursday 31 March 2011

Spring Cleaning Diabetes Style

Have you ever gone to change an infusion set or give an injection only to discover you are completely out of insulin? And I don't mean that the current vial is empty, I mean totally out - every blood glucose kit, emergency bag, even the extra stash in the produce drawer in the fridge. All of it. Gone.

I usually pride myself on being very organized. It is one of my strengths, though at 8:30pm last night, when I went to change Dylan's infusion set, I suddenly realized that I didn't have even a drop of insulin anywhere in the house. "How much is left in your pump reservoir?" I asked him, thinking maybe we could buy ourselves another night with that, and I could pick up more insulin from the pharmacy in the morning. "3.1 units," he says. Crap, I think to myself, that will last all of what, a few hours? He currently takes about 30 units per day, so 3.1 units right before bed, is simply not an option.

An emergency late-night trip to the pharmacy and we're back in business. Sure it was a little past bedtime at this point, but the alternative is unthinkable.

"How did I let that happen?" I kept asking myself. But I already knew the answer. I've simply been too busy lately and I've let things slide, even something as simple and necessary as reordering prescriptions. So I decided then and there that I would do a complete overhaul on my "diabetes cupboard." You know what cupboard I mean, we all have one, the place in your house that you keep all the supplies - the extra glucose meters, the strips, the pump supplies, the fast-acting sugar. But I highly doubt that most are as disastrous as mine was today!

I started by taking everything out and laying it on the kitchen counter. Wow, it was like a medical supply store threw up in my kitchen; there was stuff everywhere, some of which I didn't even know I had, some of which I had been keeping for far too long. Slowly and surely I went through it all, throwing away 2 expired glucagon shots, 2 expired bottles of ketone strips, and 1 glucose meter that I don't remember ever seeing before, and that we have never had any strips for. There were cans of Glucerna (Dylan drinks them when he's sick) that expired in 2007 (wtf?) and lollipops from Halloweens of years gone by. All in to the trash.

Next I got down to the nitty gritty - the glucose meters, or "kits" as we call them in our house. "How many kits do you think we have in the house right now, Dyl?" I asked him. "I don't know, 6?" he responds." "Ten!" I tell him. Ten! Plus the one in his classroom at school, the one in my car, the one at Grandma's, and probably another half a dozen at his dad's house. How can there be many, and yet sometimes we are hard-pressed to find one? The answer lies not in the number of kits, but in the number of WORKING kits. I opened every one and made sure each had a pricker, extra lancets, and a full bottle of strips. They all did. Then I checked power; only two had battery life, the other eight had dead batteries. Wow.

Finally, I reorganized all the other diabetes related paraphernalia, made a list of all the items I need to reorder, admired my neat orderly cupboard, and wrote a reminder in my calendar to inventory the diabetes supplies on a regular basis, so running out of insulin NEVER happens again.

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