This week I was glued to the news coverage of Hurricane Sandy. I watched the different types of devastation it caused in different states- some got snow blizzards, some got sand, some got wind and flooding. I watched as a New York hospital lost power and their backup generators failed. My mind immediately begins wondering about whether the diabetics and celiacs in the path of Sandy were well stocked up and prepared for the impending disaster. I can only assume that the pharmacies were closed for a while and hospitals were overloaded with patients. What if you couldn't get access to an insulin refill? Do you have enough on hand to get you through for a period of time? If you do have extra in your fridge, do you have a way of keeping it cold in case of a power outtage? Have you notified your electric company that you are an insulin dependent diabetic so that you will be on the list of the first people to have their power turned back on? Do you have a diabetes disaster plan? How about the celiacs- do you have enough gluten free food on hand that if the grocery stores were unaccessable or out of food that you could survive for a while? Because I have bad news for you otherwise- don't count on the emergency food shelves or the Red Cross to have gluten free options for you. Hopefully whether you are diabetic or celiac you've got an emergency plan in place, because in those situations these are additional things you will have to worry about.
I began to think about my situation, and what challenges I might face if there was a a big natural disaster in my area. I'm pretty stocked up on diabetes supplies. I have a good year or more supply of insulin in my fridge, and keep my test strips, lancets and pump supplies as stocked up as I am able to afford. I have coolers and freezer packs ready to go, and I also have a generator. I may or may not even have ammo on hand to defend said supplies (I'm just sayin' you might want to pick a different house to loot). I like to think of myself as a Diabetes Doomsday Prepper, and you may remember reading my blog earlier this year. As for the celiac side, I keep lots of cans of beans, canned tuna, rice, and canned vegetables stocked. I also have cans of Spam stocked since it's a gluten free protein, although I think it's nasty and hope to goodness I never have to eat it.
The show Doomsday Preppers was popular this spring and I hope they bring it back. Nowadays the show I like is Extreme Cheapskates on TLC. Not that I plan on peeing in a bottle instead of flushing my toilet anytime soon, or dumpster diving for food, but I can't say anything bad about those folks cuz guess what, they don't have any debt and I do. They are millionaires and I'm not. So who's the smart one?
While I am not an Extreme Cheapskate, I do like to think of myself as an amateur diabetes cheapskate. I use the same nasty kleenex or napkin over and over until it's riddled with dots and looks like a George Seurat painting. I re-purpose my alcohol swabs by first using them to clean my finger tip if if needs it, followed by using it to clean off all my equipment screens like my iphone, cgm, insulin pump, glucose meter, even my work phone and keyboard and mouse. Until it's dried out. I sign up for any and all free offers for test strips and glucose meters, because I'll use whatever is free before I go out and pay my deductible for my prescription ones. Recently, I signed up for a coupon for a Verio IQ glucose meter and 50 free test strips. Why not? I get to try new equipment for free and free test strips too? Now that's GOLD. And I save money by trying to test my bg less on days when it's stable, to make up for the days when my bg is nutso and I have to test twice as many times. That way it all balances out. Lastly, I have a T1 friend who I swap d-supplies with. I may have extra of one supply she needs and she has extra supply of something I need. Tonight I gave her some of my extra stock in exchange for 2 of her cgm sensors because I'm almost out. Now I'm not saying you should follow what I do, or that these are the right things to do for you. I'm just a person trying to manage my diseases on a reallllly tight budget and sometimes, you just gotta cut corners to make it work.
Do you have any tips for saving money to manage your disease? Are you prepared for a disaster? Did seeing the Hurricane Sandy coverage make you think about your preparedness?