When a Normal Shopping Trip Turns into a T1D Supply Stock-Up

Last week, I went to my local Walgreens to pick up a couple of prescriptions for conditions I have other than diabetes (but I don’t have separate blogs for them because I’m not sure I could write three posts a week on my annual asthma flare-ups or allergy to cats and dogs).

Besides shampoo and conditioner, I didn’t need to pick up anything else at Walgreens – it was going to be a quick in-and-out trip. That was the plan, anyways, until I saw my beloved glucose gummies on the diabetes shelf right next to the pharmacy.

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The contents of my shopping basket…I have no shame, apparently. But look, I did end up buying the shampoo and conditioner I actually needed! (And YES, I got my prescriptions, too.)

I couldn’t help but notice that this was the only bottle in stock, so without thinking twice, I put it into my basket. I didn’t need them at this moment in time, but I probably would, down the road – and why not treat a future low with something I actually like?

Then I saw the lotion formulated “just for diabetics”.

Normally, I don’t use products “exclusive” to people for diabetes. But I’ve used this particular lotion before and I can attest to the fact that it is very, very good. It’s probably the best lotion I’ve ever used and the only one I’ve come across (so far) that can actually hydrate my dry, cracked hands in the wintertime. I didn’t need it…but I justified it by saying that it was specially made for a person with diabetes, like me, so it meant I should buy it.

So into the basket it went.

And then, just as I was making my way over to the checkout counter after finally adding the shampoo and conditioner to my basket, my eyes fell on the seasonal candy display.

Oooh, was I in trouble now…

So into the basket went the king-sized Reese’s cups…which I am deeming as a medically necessary diabetes supply item. I didn’t need the Reese’s cups, but I sure as hell WANTED them. Plus, they’d make my gummies last longer, right? I could use them before I opened that bottle.

And sure enough, the Reese’s cups totally came in hand when I had a not-low blood sugar that very same night!

It’s interesting how what was supposed to be an innocent trip to the pharmacy turned into a bit of a T1D shopping spree. I wound up with items for my diabetes that I could certainly live without (except the Reese’s cups, for sure, I can never live without those) but that I could add to my supply stash, anyways…because it never hurts to have extra low supplies or hydrated hands.

3 Tips For Anyone Turning 26 with Diabetes (and Switching Health Care Plans)

Do you have diabetes and will turn 26 in the near future? Will you be forced to switch from your parents’ health insurance to your own plan? If the answer to both of those questions is “yes”, then you’ll definitely want to take a minute to read my tips on how to make the transition as smoothly as possible. And even if you answered “no”, you still might find this to be a worthwhile read because chances are, either you or someone you know will have to go through this process, whether or not you/they have diabetes.

Here are the three most valuable tips I have for anyone who just turned, or is about to turn, 26 years old and is concerned about switching health care plans:

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I figured out these tips the hard way. Save yourself a lot of frustration and time by following them A.S.A.P.

Tip #1: Ask your doctor for copies of all of your prescriptions. Do this well before your actual birthday. That’s what I did, anyways – I had a scheduled appointment with my endocrinologist at the end of April. That’s when I requested a copy of every single prescription she’s ever written for me, including for medications that I don’t really use anymore (e.g., Lantus, the long-acting insulin I used prior to my insulin pump). Then, I made multiple copies of these prescriptions, taking care to separate the originals from the copies. This tip really came from my mother, who told me that having the prescriptions now would save me trouble later. And she was right: When I did send in my Humalog prescription to Express Scripts, I did so with more confidence because I didn’t have to scramble to request it from my doctor.

Tip #2: Start the process of reordering supplies as soon as possible. Even if it means starting to reorder things on your actual birthday…do it. I’d say this is especially important if you’re running low on supplies. It took me nearly two months to start receiving stuff. Part of this was my fault because I procrastinated, and was also at an advantage because my mother took the time to order me plenty of extra supplies before I made the switch. But it was also the fault of the companies I was ordering from, who, for various reasons, didn’t send out my supplies on time or needed a longer period of time to review my orders before shipping them out. I’m lucky that I can say that I was never truly worried that I was going to run out of supplies, but the thought did cross my mind a few times, and it was unpleasant. So save yourself from aggravation and just get the ball rolling as soon as you can.

Tip #3: Keep records of everything. I keep a physical folder that contains receipts, prescriptions, photocopies, notes, and various other documents related to my health. I can’t say for sure what I’ll actually need to keep or throw away in the coming months, but I do know that it’s smart to hold onto this stuff in the beginning. That way, during my company’s next open enrollment period, I’ll be able to make informed decisions regarding things like how much money to put in my flexible spending account (FSA). Plus, any notes that I’ve taken during phone calls have already proved immensely helpful as I’ve needed to track down specific customer service representatives in order to take care of issues that have come up. It can be a little cumbersome to remember to keep all these papers, but I know it’s the right thing to do and that there’s no way that I’ll regret it.

BONUS Tip #4: Advocate for yourself until you get what you need. At first, I felt extremely awkward for calling Dexcom and Insulet every single day for a week. But then I realized that I shouldn’t. They weren’t going to make sure that I had my supplies: I had to depend on myself to do that. I also felt a bit stupid asking just about every customer service representative that I spoke to how everything works, but I eventually got over that, too, because it’s vital to understand this stuff, even when it seems extraordinarily complicated. So I’d tell anyone who’s going through this process, or who is about to go through it, to keep up the hustle. Don’t ever feel shame for asking too many questions or calling too many times; when it comes to all this, the limit doesn’t exist. Ask others for help when you need it (I spoke with all sorts of people in the DOC about my issues, and goodness knows that my mother provided me with all sorts of advice and support throughout this) and, with their assistance and a little determination on your part, you’ll get through this tiresome transition.