Tag Archives: disability rights

Fixing the Health System

I don’t have all the answers and I have never claimed to. I do have an opinion like everyone else on the subject. Facebook and Twitter have been on fire (at least in my world) with stories about diabetics going without insulin because they can’t afford the nearly $1,000 a month for insulin or their insurance company is constantly changing who and how much they must pay. Why isn’t aspirin spiraling out of hand like many other life saving drugs? Because it is not needed to stay alive. It can be not taken and not lose your life. If it gets too expensive, you stop taking it so they keep the prices low enough you will still want it.

Insulin and other drugs are not that easy to replace. Whoops, that was an incorrect statement. You can’t replace them. There are many drugs for seizures, heart problems, and the list goes on that people need to keep living. I’ve called us the “captive audience” before and will continue to do so until I am cured. I can’t just get up and leave the show (my life with insulin) because I will die.

Here’s my fix/opinion on how it can be improved. First, get rid of lobbyists. A person who is paid by a company to pander their policies and products to politicians should not be allowed to do so. If drug companies were not allowed to spend million of dollars to woo senators or representatives to pass laws that favor them over the common people maybe they would not need to charge so much to cover “research”. Laws that prevent us from ordering these life saving drugs from other countries where they are many times cheaper were lobbied for by these companies.

Second, repeal that anti-mail order law. If I could get drugs from Canada or Mexico (the reason they sought the law) they would either need to drop their prices to stay competitive or go out of business. One of the major reason touted for said law was to maintain high standards for these drugs. Recent tests have shown that the meds on pharmacies shelves today don’t always reach those standards anyway, despite having to pay nearly 6 times the price.

Third, start a national universal health care system like a huge chunk of the rest of the world has. There are always pro and cons for these systems and when set up here it will need to be tweaked and modified to work as well as it can. There is no perfect fix and there never will be. One of the biggest complaints of the system is “I don’t want to pay for someone else’s drugs or care”. I agree whole heartedly. What ever tax they set up to fund this system, make it apply to everyone. Rich or poor, young or old, and everywhere in-between. If you are on disability you get that tax taken out of your monthly check. If you are on welfare, social security, or get checks for your kids it would apply there as well. I said across the board and I meant it.

I know a lot of people may agree with some but not all these ideas/opinions but here’s my challenge to them. Come up with a better one. Like I said at the start, I don’t know all the answers but if enough people get together and work on it they can put one together that is fair and most certainly works better than our current system. I can hear the “Whiner!” and “Just shut up!” comment coming even before I post this. The problem is if you are telling me to shut up or call me a whiner then you must think the system works ok now. Does it?

The Fears of Being Diabetic

Why the fears of being diabetic? Why not? I didn’t call them phobias, they are not debilitating. A good diabetic will acknowledge the risks and prepare for them. Risks in my opinion are simply controlled fears. Will I run out of insulin today or drop the bottle and break it? Past incidents have led me to be very careful of where I set it when it is out of the case, aka been there done that. There are so many of them I can’t possibly bring up and talk about them all. The whole point to this post is letting people know that there are many risks to being a diabetic and not everyone knows them or wants to talk about them.

By knowing the risks you can either avoid them or minimize the chances of them happening. My big fear is having a low. Its not as bad with the CGM (that leads to another fear all diabetics have) since it lets me know where I’m at with my blood sugar and most of all which direction it is going. I can avoid the lows by knowing they are coming before they get too bad. I carry Skittles in my pocket so when I know I’m going somewhere I will not have easy access to snacks. Cutting back on exercise is never an option for me. I was not raised that way and can’t get past wanting to give 100% at whatever I do, at home or at work.

My 40+ years of dealing with diabetic issues have led me with a few near phobias with the lows being at the top of that list. I have been told what I am like when my sugar gets low and that scares the hell out of me more than anything else. I become a very combative, aggressive person. People who know me can tell you how calm and passive I am normally but lower my blood sugar and I become a different person. When I was 12 I threw a nurse across our living room, I’ve knocked orange juice out my mom’s hand so many times I lost count, and I woke up with 8 EMT/firefighters holding me down on my bed to get an IV started. At work I have told them to never try to force me to eat or drink anything. Just call the EMTs and let them handle it. The fear is hurting someone I care about. My old doctor hated the fact I run my sugars so high to avoid it.

Another fear that I alluded to earlier is how I am going to pay for all the meds and supplies I need to stay alive. It is sad to say insulin is not the only med with this issue but it is the one I am most familiar with. The cost of the bottles of insulin have gone from $115 about 10 years ago to $295 currently. That is also with the insurance company discount. Buying it without insurance I’ve heard is more like $380 a bottle. The CGM is also a big cost. Each month with insurance I pay about $120 for the sensors. Without insurance they are about $450 each month. They are only meant to stay on for one week but to save money I will leave them on as long as I can, 3 weeks at times if the adhesive stays put. The transmitters are another thing. I pay about $250 for one transmitter that last only 3 months, $1,000 a year with insurance. Without insurance, I would ben  paying $1000 each for them, $4,000. What happens if I loose my insurance? It keeps me up during the day, I work nights so that is my sleep time.

Up comes another fear/risk, loosing my job. I hate to break it to those who feel the ADA protects them but I have been in situations where employers have been, lets just say creative, in forcing me to leave. I don’t think I’m a bad employee. I show up for work on time 99% of the time, I don’t call in sick very often, I do what I am asked to do whether it is a part of my “job” or not, I get along with coworkers well, and am willing to work overtime when needed. I’m not going to get into the politics of it but “right to work” states also allow an employers to let you go without a reason. They will not use the word diabetic in any letter or phone call since that involves the ADA. They can just give any excuse and let you go, if they respond in the first place. As far as getting hired, that is another nightmare all together. The easiest form letter to use is “we have gone with another more qualified applicant” one. Have they? I have wondered how many times they hear about previous situations of low issues and decide to not hire over it. I’ve read the fine print at the tale end of the applications. You give permission for the company to run background checks on you which includes credit, criminal, and employment. You give them access to your employee files from former employers.

An everyday fear/risk is not calculating insulin does correctly. Did I count the carbs right? Did I get the right ratio? Did I do the math right? I’m not perfect. I’ve screwed this up more than just once in 40 years. Don’t panic and make the correction. Eat more if you go low. Take a bolus if you go high. This one is really easy to manage. Its more annoying than anything else.

Fear is a constant companion for a diabetic. One you need to become friends with instead of being paralyzed by it. I could  die by walking out of my house and down the street today, but I’m still going to do it. I could screw up any of the diabetic things I’ll do today but I’m still going to do them. As I said it in past blogs, I’m 9 years past my expiration date so in my mind I’m not loosing anything if I died today. I can hear the gasps from here. It’s life. I’m going to die, everyone will die. Its just when will I bite the big one. I realize the issues of being a diabetic each day and I work with those obstacles. I control them and move on. Enough said.