In order to learn from each other’s experience, I am gathering anecdotes and stories around hypoglycemia during September which is Hypoglycemia Awareness month. Today I invite you to share a story of your own regarding an episode of severe hypoglycemia. Please send them to me directly via email to firstname.lastname@example.org I will be posting what you share, and keeping them anonymous.
Thank you for reading. Thank you for your always welcome comments and contributions that guide me in knowing what you think and feel about the topics I raise.
Today a Lilly glucagon kit costs $365.99. WOW. No wonder why most people with diabetes haven’t got one. WIth or without insurance, maybe they cannot afford it or the out of pocket co-pay. As documented by my picture, my insurance company paid 100% $365.99 for me to carry a Glucagon Emergency Kit. Use of this kit by a trained caregiver or first responder will prevent brain damage that begins after 30 minutes without adequate glucose. Beyond brain damage, this kit could save my life. To be on the safe side, 2 kits should be dispensed with every RX. If not 3. I should carry one with me at all times. If I worked in an office, I would keep one there. Wherever I spend time, it is safe to have one available for the first responders in that environment. And if the kit is used, another one needs to take its place immediately.
Please find out how much Glucagon costs you by getting a new prescription or a refill. Tell me – what is your copay? Based on a retail price of $365.99? Or more? Or less?
I want to hear from you and your friends with t1.
Thanks in advance for sharing.
Unsweetened. That is the name of the book I am writing. Untold stories of people living with diabetes. “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.” I am writing this book to tell the true stories of people with diabetes. 29 million Americans are estimated to have diabetes or get diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association. 317 million people – and counting – live with diabetes around the world. Scary big. Let’s stop blaming people who have it. Let’s stop shaming people who have it in public and around the dinner table. Let’s get real. Let’s get unsweetened.
Recently I moved to a loft apartment in a commercial building that has been zoned for use by artists. My new place has more space and an unexpected amenity: bakeries on 3 sides of the building. A bagel factory on one side. Behind me is the Dunkin Donuts facility where all of the donuts for NYC shops are made. And outside my bedroom window: Tom Cat Bakery, a huge complex that extends an entire block. Tom Cat makes custom breads for restaurants around the city.
My first night here, at 3am I was awakened by the aroma of freshly baked bread. At once I began to salivate. My subconscious brain assumed a warm loaf was coming our way. Past is prologue, right? Smell delicious food, ergo eat delicious food. I thought I must be dreaming, except I could hear the sounds of rustling paper and a running motor. I looked out the window to find men in hair nets and blue coveralls loading trucks with large carts full of baguettes and smaller bags of various shapes. I imagined what was in those. Dinner rolls? Focaccia? Sour dough? Pumpernickel? Sandwich buns? Or maybe the main event: croissants. The saliva crested in the corners of my lips in anticipation the choice of any kind of bread I wanted.
Then, the frontal lobe kicked into gear. This was madness. “You don’t eat bread at 3am” the inner voice of reason told me. Hypoglycemia is only reason I wake up at 3am and start eating carbs. Until now. All day and night the sweet aroma tricks my sense of smell while I work from home. As my thwarted appetite built up to an uncomfortable level, so did the craving reach my grumbling stomach. If I could have a little bread, maybe the distraction would go away.
The time to take an irrationally exuberant action had come. I got their number online and called Tom Cat to find out if they had an outlet store on site. The receptionist transferred me to the person who apparently takes calls from crazies like me. I explained my predicament; “I am your new next door neighbor. You guys are killing me with the smell of your bread. I would like to be come your next customer. Can you hook me up?” The proprietor explained that all of their product is destined for one of two places: either to a client or given away to City Harvest to feed the homeless.
3 weeks into my new home, the craving for bread lingers every waking hour in the back of my mind. I am hoping that my primitive brain will eventually unlearn its salivation response and I won’t even notice the smell. But for now, the good people of Pepperidge Farm have a new customer. I just have to run a gauntlet of Dunkin’s chocolate, vanilla custard, apple cinnamon filing or maple glaze on my way to the way to grocery store and back.
Claire Johnson, “Maple Frosted” Oil on Maple. (2008)
Do you have a favorite Easter candy? What is it? Jelly beans – what color? Like Peeps? Chocolate Bunnies? What about those Cadbury creme eggs? If you grew up with these traditional candies presented to you in a basket on Easter morning, whether you have diabetes or not, it is natural to have nostalgic craving for it. Happy memories are associated with it. I have a knee jerk desire for it when I see it. It is the only time of year when this stuff is available, so there that added sense of urgency. Holidays trigger emotional eating. We are faced with well-meaning hosts and “Food Pushers” you can successfully avoid the rest of the year. If your own internal challenges with eating aren’t enough, you bear the scrutiny of others and find yourself at events where you are stuck with no healthy options. Make your own rules about how you want to manage holiday eating. Don’t blindly follow Grandma’s rules because it is her house, and you don’t want to hurt her feelings at your own expense. You know yourself well enough to plan an ideal celebratory meal with the people who make you feel comfortable. If you chose to eat nothing but candy and hard boiled eggs for Easter breakfast, that’s cool. It was your choice and your plan. If you chose not to eat Grandma’s desserts because they weren’t worth the calories or the insulin to you, then Good For You! The goal is to feel happy about how you ate the day after Easter.
Dr. Steve Edelman is one of the most experienced, successful and well-loved Party Animals I know. It is impossible to have a bad time when you are around him. Steve’s video on Drinking with Diabetes is a holiday classic. It bears repeating, just like Rudolph and Frosty, and the Year Without A Santa Claus (my personal favorite)
In addition to the video, for some invaluable yet surprisingly free tips from longstanding survivors of t1D, Riva Greenberg’s article consolidates tips shared in a JDRF panel I moderated at the “Type 1 Expo”