Thursday, December 22, 2016

Weight Off My Shoulders

"You Don't Know What You Got Until It's Gone," this statement rings true in many situations.  We get used to things, we get used to having food in our fridge, we get used to getting a pay cheque every two weeks and as people with diabetes, we get used to have test strips and insulin in our hands.

When I was in university I had benefits covered under my mom's plan. Any of my medications I needed, any dentist appointments or eye glasses.  I was able to go to the pharmacy at any time and get the medications I needed to survive, whether that be insulin or test strips for testing my blood sugar.  I knew that by the time my diploma was framed and put on my wall, those benefits would be taken away.   That's when I learned the method of stock-piling, getting my supplies ahead of time to make sure I could last as long as possible post-graduation without having to fork over half my pay cheque to survive.

From that stock-pile, I kept a keen eye on who was looking to get rid of supplies they did not need anymore. People switch meters all the time and are left with test strips they no longer need, my eyes were on those supplies.  I collected, and stored and forever thanked the people that were graciously adding to my stash.  I used samples given to doctors, insulin people did not want, I didn't turn down anything.

Almost three years post graduation, certain supplies become dreary.  The drawer that was once stock-piled with test strips has two petty sample canisters rolling around, that are for a meter I haven't taken out of a sealed box.  I unwrap the box, charge the meter and realize I have about 12 strips left before I need to really take action.

Now, I know that at anytime I can find my way to a pharmacy to fork over my hard earned cash to save my own life and sanity, but there is something about having to do that, that irks me.  There is also something about asking for help that also irks me, which puts me in a difficult place.

Knowing I will have test strips by Sunday, but not any day sooner, gives me hope that I can stretch my twelve test strips out for the next week.  My thinking, if I check twice a day, I will be okay.  Of course a few test strips fail due to not enough blood and I am frantically counting how many left I have.  Tonight, four.  M sees me in frustration counting the test strips left in the canister having to just throw one out due to an error.   I can see it in his eyes that he is worried, but doesn't want to push me.

I decide it's time to make a choice.  Fork over $50 + for 50 test strips that will last me two weeks or ask for help.  My pride fighting me with every letter I type to a friend in the diabetes community, I put my ego aside and ask for help. With open arms, within thirty minutes, test strips are at my front door.  I cannot thank this diabetes-family enough for their gift of test strips.

The relief of having over 100 test strips in my possession is beyond what any words can describe. Literally a weight off my shoulders. For years I had a drawer full and never once worried about how I was going to check my blood sugar tomorrow or the next day because the supplies were always there. Having these test strips means that both M and I can sleep peacefully knowing that we can test my blood sugar at anytime.

It's truly heartbreaking that to some in this world, this is not an option. I am humbled by the people that I have met along the journey of having diabetes and try not to take advantage of any given situation.  But, tonight, I am so incredibly thankful for the support this community & this particular family has given me.


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