I think I’m calm enough now

25 09 2007

I had a very harrowing weekend (well, just Saturday really) and I think I’m finally calm enough to blog about it.

GiR and I decided to head down to our alma mater to play some board games with some friends (and GiR’s brother) who still go there.  I knew I would have to do a reservoir change while we were out, so I made sure to bring my insulin, tubing, cartridge, etc.  No problem.  While on the 90 minute drive there, I needed to test my blood sugar for my after-breakfast check.  I open the test strip tube and there are 5 strips.  5.  That’s it.

I panic.

We were not planning to be back home until late that night, so 5 strips was not going to cover it.  Well, maybe.  If I decided to stretch it and not test after breakfast and not eat any snacks.  However, my brain decided this was unacceptable.  There was no way I could go that long living in blood sugar no-man’s land.  What if I had a low and needed to test 2 or 3 times?  I knew I would want to have snacks, necessitating the need for more strips.   What if a test strip didn’t work or error’d and I had to use another one? What if, what if, what if…

I knew there was a Walmart in town, so I figured it could get my prescription transferred and I could get more strips.  No problem, right?  Not really.  We get to the Walmart and give the nice lady the information, including the number of the pharmacy where I usually get my test strips refilled.  I told them that the prescription is for 300, but I only really need 100 to get me through the day (I think this was a problem, more detail later).  Also, I was a touch worried that it was too soon to get a refill, so I was hoping that wouldn’t be a problem.  They told me it would be 25 minutes.  Ugh.

10-15 minutes later, I check with them (check #1) if they’ve heard from the other pharmacy if it’s okay to get a refill so soon.  They say they haven’t even entered the prescription into the system yet.  Ugh.  More waiting.  10 minutes after that (elapsed time: 25 minutes), I check again (check #2) and they say, yes, I can get a refill, but it’ll be another 15 minutes.  Meanwhile, I realizing I’m having a low and use one of my precious 5 test strips (4 left).  15 minutes later (elapsed time 40 minutes) I check again (check #3) to see if it’s ready.  It is.  It rings up over $100.  What!?!?!?  They ask if I have my insurance card.  Well, of course I do!!!  Why didn’t you ask me that when I gave you the prescription in the first place?!?!?  *sigh*  It’ll be another 15 minutes.  Well, I’m still low and it’s time for lunch, so I say screw it and we leave to get Taco Bell.  I test again before lunch (only 3 test strips left) and eat my food and feel slightly better.  Back to Walmart.

I check for what I hope is the final time (check #4) and the insurance when through fine.  Typical $35 copay.  Total elapsed time:  1 hour 35 minutes.  I get back to my car and open up the bag.  There are only 2 boxes.  What?  I asked for 3.  I take a closer look at the boxes.  They are boxes of 50 instead of 100.  What!?!?!?!  I ended up with only 100 strips (kinda what I said I wanted, so maybe partly my fault) instead of the full 300.  I just payed $35 for 100 instead of $35 for 300.  Quite the difference.  ><  Also, this means I will need my next refill A LOT sooner than usual, so that might cause problems.

I didn’t feel like going back into the Walmart and I didn’t have their number, so I called my pharmacy at home to ask about it.  They said that once the prescription is transferred to Walmart, they’d have to call and get it transferred back (apparently transfers are permanent, not one-time things) which will be a hassle.  However, the pharmacist seemed really helpful and said they could contact my doctor and get a new prescription or an updated prescription and that we would figure it out.  He was definitely a lot more comforting than Walmart, although that should be expected.

I try to calm down and tell myself, at least I have test strips for today.  When I run out later, that’s when I can start worrying again.  Today: just feel better and have fun.   It mostly worked and I managed to have a good time for the rest of the day.

Here’s the kicker though, that still makes me slightly sick to my stomach:  I used my last test strip in the bottle after dinner.  Shortly after that, we went home.  I didn’t even need the extra test strips.  ;_;

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5 responses

25 09 2007
Allison

Call me a bad diabetic if you will, but unless I’m going to be gone for an extended period of time with no test strips, I always “go with the feeling” for the day until I can get home. If I go to the city for the day (or even go to work) and only have two test strips, I cut out any non-essential blood sugar readings. Non-essential to me is anything not before a meal, or before bedtime. I skip testing after a meal, and I just go by whether or not I feel low. It’s certainly not something I would do on a regular basis, but I’ve noticed that when I’m short on strips, I tend to be more conservative with what I eat, so my blood sugars end up being pretty good. You probably could have managed a day on 5 tests. Maybe not ideal for you, but sometimes I just bite the bullet and move on the best I can.

25 09 2007
Amalas

Yes, of course in retrospect I should have been just fine with 5 test strips. I just panicked. Somehow I got the idea my head that I could not go a day without testing as often.

29 09 2007
Ray Hatfield

I cannot believe you are still using the canned strips when the Reli-on strips are so cheap and test in 5 sec. There is always a Wal-Mart everywhere and for less than $15 you can buy 50 strips and the meter is less than $10. I threw my old meters away years ago!

29 09 2007
Amalas

Yes, that did occur to me. However, at that time, I was under the impression that I was going to get my strips with no trouble. I kept waiting, thinking it would be okay. I should have bailed out sooner and just spent the $15 for a cheap meter+strips. Again, hindsight being 20/20…

30 09 2007
Joyce Sinnett

I’m so sorry that you had such a bad day. I’ve occassionally to run out of strips, lancets, needle tips, syringes, insulin and alchohol swabs while away from the house. Not at the same time, of course. It’s so easy to do, particularly if your leaving the house for no particular reason and don’t give checking your kit the time it needs. As a result, I am almost paranoid about it. If I am using a pen, I leave the old needle tip on until time for a new one. I do the same thing with my lancing devise. Of course, I know that you’re not supposed to reuse (and I don’t normally) but I have wiped with a swab and reused in an emergency.

What I’m trying to say is, all of us non-perfect diabetics have missed things. It happens! It just makes you more careful the next time. It sounds like you really monitor and control your diabetes well, so give yourself a pat on the back for that, not a slap on the forehead for running short of strips. God Bless.

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