Saturday, January 17, 2015

What $17,144.40 buys

There is a cost to caring for someone with diabetes. And it's big. Nothing like getting tax information ready for 2014 to make me realize exactly how much it totals.

I was compiling the list of '2014 Diabetes Expenses.' This list includes juices, glucose tabs, diabetes kits, Unisolve, SkinTac, medical ID bracelets, school kits and batteries. And yes, I save receipts on it all. Every little thing adds up when you are constantly buying this and that. And for those people who say 'well, it's only $3, or $5,' I say to you, when you spend that every week, it adds up to serious money. This is just my out of pocket costs. More on that later.

Then I got to all of Grace's prescriptions for the year. The giant stack of CVS receipts for her insulin, test strips, ketone strips, glucagon, lancets, 'prickers' and lidocaine (for insertion of her CGM).

Grace has Pennsylvania state Medicaid. It's her only insurance. She got booted from the PA CHIP program (low cost medical insurance through the state) when she, in their words, not mine, 'became too expensive.' She is at the lowest insurance for the state. Since she has Medicaid, she has a $0 co-pay on all her prescriptions. All I can say is 'Thank the Lord!' because the care she needs would have bankrupted us as a family. I have fought tooth and nail for two medicines off their 'formulary.' She uses everything, there is no waste or overage on any of her medicines or devices.

And here, in all it's glory, is what it all her medicines totaled (CVS costs as listed on script):

Novolog insulin - 3 vials a month = $342.51
Lantus insulin - 1 vial a month = 195.46
Precision ketone strips - 3 boxes a month = $138.48
Glucagon - 2 a month = $336.12
Delica lancets - 1 box a month = $9.41
Freestyle test strips - 3 boxes a month = $381.17
Lidocaine cream - 1 tube a month = $25.55

Total for one month of medicines = $1,428.70

Total for one YEAR of medicines = $17,144.40

Shocking, isn't it? This is just for her medicines she needs. This does not even include the cost of her Omnipod pods or her Dexcom CGM receiver, transmitter or sensor.

I am thankful, each and every day, that she has insurance that helps us out. That keeps her healthy and alive. It's the best money this state has ever spent.

Friday, January 9, 2015

6 years

2015 brings year six of doing diabetes. While the other years have felt 'milestone-y,' this year does not. Grace mentioned to me the other day 'You know Mom, January 9th will be six years.' The way she said it was melancholy, not with an air of the incredible to it.

Yet it is, you know, incredible. All of it is.
Maybe I'd be best to remember that about year six.

Becoming complacent with diabetes means it will come and kick you in the ass, hard. Repeatedly.
To remind you that it should be taken seriously.

I find myself floating through days, days become weeks and soon it's a month, and all is fine. We have some highs, we have some lows, but we correct and glide onto the next day. Pod changes, yeah yeah yeah, every three days. Yes, reset Dex and move on. Yeah Grace, just dose on the Dex and what it says. All the motions, but none of the feeling.

Then a day will hit us that knocks us to our knees. We were complacent about the depth of this damn disease. And all of a sudden, we are 348, or we are 37. It hits and it hits hard.

Six years. 2,190 days. And here she is.

I often tell Grace that diabetes should take a backseat to whatever she would like to do in life. Let it ride, don't let it drive. Grace, don't ever let it drive. It stinks at driving. YOU drive. You know the way. You be in charge.

A few times this year Grace had times of not wanting to do it any more. Of being fed up with all the care, the monitoring, the getting the damn PDM once again to dose for something she wanted to eat, the hurt from a cannula that feels wrong, the fingersticks. All of it, wrapped in one big bow. One never thinks it will be their child affected by depression in the midst of diabetes, but that monster is leaning in, over our shoulders. I kick it away. It doesn't obey and comes back just to look at us, daring us not to listen for a bit to what it has to say.

I can tell her I understand, but I don't have diabetes. All I can do is listen and tell her how much she is loved and care for, how much I would take it all away in an instant if I could, how brave and strong and true she is to do this, day after day after day, and how very resilient she is. And as the words leave my mouth, I pair them with my prayer that she live a long life. A very long life.

They give medals for living with diabetes 25, 50 and 75 years. Damn it, they just added the 75 year one cause people finally did live 75 years with it. Imagine that, before this time, they didn't even have a damn medal cause people didn't live that long with it. I pray she gets a 75 year medal.
She will be 81.

All of this floods me at year six. It's the year we know we are on the road for a good long time. I cannot look too far ahead with Grace, I have no idea what the road will bring to us both. We just stay in the driver's seat.

I know she is strong.
I know she is loved beyond measure.
I know she made it one more blessed year.

Happy 6th Diaversary, Grace. Only 69 more years til that medal.

You can read about our other years here:
Year Five
Year Four
Year Three
Year Two
Year One