Thursday, April 06, 2006

Health Care Reform: Use the BatPhone.

Standing at my desk and chatting up a coworker, coffee in hand, I noticed the tiniest twinge of a headache. Not overly concerned, I sat down and pulled out my meter. “Just to rule it out,” I thought, loading up the meter with a strip and clink … ringing in at an icy 39 mg/dl.

“You have to be kidding me…” muttering under my breath, grabbing a bottle of juice from the stash in my desk drawer. There were only six sips available in the bottle so I grabbed a pack of peanut butter crackers and ate two of them.

Nothing but a headache. No foggy feeling in my brain. People’s voices weren’t echoing. I could see and hear and feel everything just fine. Even the headache wasn’t bad – nothing I thought a cup of coffee couldn’t cure.

Instead: 39 mg/dl.

As I sat at my desk and waited for my bloodsugar to rise, I thought about the television show I’d watched for a few minutes the night before. It was on MSNBC or similar, discussing the health care reform being rocketed through legislative bodies and the plan was quoted as being something that will afford consumers more “control over price and quality”. Consumer driven health care. Making people more aware of how expensive health care is. As though we need to be told.

Price and quality?

“An atrocity.” I said to Chris, becoming livid. “If this legislation passes, it won’t be price and quality, but price or quality. You either chose the best care available and pay an obscene amount for it or you chose what you can afford.” I was completely pissed off at this point. “For someone like me, it could mean going back to injections, even though the pump keeps me the healthiest. Or not testing as much during the day, sacrificing my hard earned A1c for my checkbook balance.”

“I knew that one day I would be worrying about paying for medical coverage, but I thought it would be when I was sixtysomething and on the cusp of retirement. Instead, I’m 27 years old and panicking about whether or not my health will be compromised as a result of government decisions in the next six months. Absolutely ridiculous. Don’t they understand that keeping me healthy now keeps money in the insurance companies’ pockets later? Preventative measures now to ward off paying for treating a complication later? They think pump therapy is expensive – wait until they’re paying for my leg to be amputated.”

Crying now, so angry.

Fast forward to this morning, sitting at my work desk, drinking a bottle of juice as my bloodsugar teeters precariously at 39 mg/dl, wondering why people from the United States Senate offices are just reading my blog instead of contacting me directly.


At April 06, 2006 12:17 PM, Blogger George said...

I feel the same way that you do. It is hard enough staying focused on our regimen and to hear this makes it even harder.

I do understand why THEY don't understand.

At April 06, 2006 1:24 PM, Blogger Rachel said...

Sigh, yeah.

Sometimes I wonder if I am reluctant to go on oral meds more because we already have enough expense with Greg's insulin and supplies (not to mention his statin).

At April 06, 2006 1:26 PM, Blogger Shannon said...

You couldn't have said it better about the insurance fiasco.

And now I'm wondering if the effect of the 39 means you're becoming less sensitive to lows, or if it's a fluke this be continued.

At April 06, 2006 1:33 PM, Anonymous Carol said...

Kerri - Once again you have said exactly what I feel. I'm the "financial gal" at my company and our insurance carrier has just told us that our rates will go up 30%. So, you guessed it, we are talking HRA and HSA. Problem is, I cannot focus on the dollars (my job) and ignore the human aspects or the personal implications, so I'm being left out of much of the conversation right now. I'm a fan of letting the market work, but we have created an artificial market via big insurance and gov't support of said big insurance. And now that all the power has been stripped from the consumer, we want the consumer to fix it? Huh? I think I need a psych referral if that really makes sense!

At April 06, 2006 1:37 PM, Anonymous Carol said...

Also wanted to say sorry about your asymptomatic "39". Glad you tested and recovered. You are right, coffee IS the cure to everything EXCEPT lows.

At April 06, 2006 2:55 PM, Blogger Alex said...

Never really thought about what this all meant until now. Hmmm, yup... I'm pissed. Hope your blood stays up.

At April 06, 2006 3:14 PM, Blogger Kerri. said...

This insurance ordeal just completely blows my mind. The legislation is skewed against anyone who actually uses their medical insurance. Every time I think about it, my blood pressure rises (great, more expense!)and my wallet becomes lighter.

I think it's time for the Diabetics to March on Washington. Seriously.

And Shannon, as far as the hypo unawareness goes, I'm knee deep in it. Trying to isolate the catalyst: Blood pressure meds? The placebo week on my birth control pills? Lower average bloodsugar over the last few months? No clue.

At April 06, 2006 4:17 PM, Blogger Nicole P said...

I think this might be my fault. I actually sent Senator Kennedy and Senator Kerry links to all of the blogs on S1955 -- so that they could get a taste of the real-life people the legislation is effecting -- and so that they'd share them with their colleagues... I know they're (or, their staffers are) lurking, because I've seen them on my blog too.

I had a vicious 29 this afternoon that has taken 4 hours and 62 ounces of OJ to get up to 99. I'm tired of this. Full out tired.

At April 06, 2006 4:27 PM, Blogger Scott K. Johnson said...

Just chiming in to say that I'm frustrated too.

I think that many of these insurance companies are banking on the guess that we will be on some other plan or company when we need all the expensive complication treatments.

Save a buck now, and let someone else pay the price in the long run.


At April 06, 2006 5:00 PM, Blogger Sandra Miller said...

Yes, this legislation angers and frightens me, too.

It's got to be stopped. Period.

And a 39 without symptoms?

Kerri, I really hope you can figure out what's going on soon.

At April 06, 2006 11:28 PM, Anonymous Tyler Wolf said...

Having Type 1 is extremely difficult to control even with the best equipment and supplies. I can't imagine getting back on the Humalog and Lantus injections rollercoaster.

At April 07, 2006 2:15 AM, Blogger Impatient Patient said...

My dear legislators want to add a private insurance option to our Medicare system- we pay a premium yearly, BUT we do not pay ooooodddllles. I am LIVID!! And joining the OTHER political party ASAP so I can be on the butt kicking team. I am absolutely disgusted with health care insurance prices as I know that health is so important- and the only time you realize it is when you do not have it, or the means to pay to manage it. Keep writing and write to your government and whoever else you can- it may not solve it all but it may give someone a reality check.

Love the blog. I am working with a person with diabetes and you help me understand what my job entails and how finickity diabetes can be, and how vigilant I ought to be.

At April 07, 2006 9:51 AM, Blogger Erica said...

How can you see that they (senators or whoever) are reading your blog?

Wow. 39. I also hope you get that one figured out. That's scary :-(

At April 07, 2006 9:56 AM, Blogger Kerri. said...

Erica - Statcounter. That thing is a blessing and a curse. I can see where people are coming from when they click on my blog. Unfortunately, I've had to employ hand restraints to keep myself from checking it all day long. I've limited myself to once a day.

... okay, maybe twice. But that's it. Honest.

And Impatient Patient - Thanks for coming by and for the nice write up on your blog! I appreciate it. I'm glad all these diabetes blogs can give you a real life perspective on the disease. There are a ton of d-links here. Be sure to check them out!

At April 07, 2006 12:13 PM, Blogger julia said...

This legislation scares the shit out of me. If I have to pay for all of Olivia's supplies out of pocket, it would be around $1200 a month. Who can afford that? Add that to the two meds I take every month and forget it. I'd lose my house.

At April 07, 2006 5:52 PM, Blogger d double e said...

March on Washington, well the mall anyway, May 7.

I'll let you make a sign that says, "I'm Here, I don't Like Fear. And I won't Get Used to It."

Of course, that sign makes no sense, but I digress.

At April 07, 2006 6:32 PM, Blogger itesseract said...

Re: Marching on Washington...there is the Call to Congress sponsored by the ADA June 7-9. I've applied to go (despite my mixed feelings about the ADA as an organization) though I don't know if I'll be able to afford the transportation costs on my college student budget. We'll see.

Also, Kerri: I've always found that my blood sugar tends to run lower during the placebo week on my birth control pills. I usually use it as an excuse to have some chocolate ;)

At April 09, 2006 9:53 PM, Blogger KSC said...

Hi Kerri,
This legislation is going to kill all the non-millionaires - literally. I am so angry about the calculations I'm numb. I just returned from an Endo visit to find my co-pay for "specialists" has increased by $10 again...I just don't know when keeping up will not be possible, but it seems that its going to happen fast.

As for the low blood sugar - get INSTAGLUCOSE and suck down 2 of them. For me, juice takes too long. Really. I feel terribly for you about the lows they are awful sometimes.

At April 09, 2006 10:35 PM, Blogger BetterCell said...

Kerri.....It sounds like "Hypoglycemia Unawareness" which can occur in some with T1DM.

At April 09, 2006 11:03 PM, Blogger perplex said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At April 10, 2006 12:15 PM, Blogger perplex said...

You'll want to check out a S. 1955 specific blog I started a few days ago. War on Health Care.

I'm looking for anyone who is actively fighting this evil legislation. And if you aren't fighting it, I'd encourage you to start. (And for here, you means everyone!)

At April 10, 2006 1:38 PM, Blogger jill said...

hi kerri! i'm responding to your post on my blog. i don't really know how i found sixuntilme, i think it was a link somewhere, but i don't remember where actually. (some diabetes site) anyway, keep posting because i love reading! (and sure you can pop into my blog whenever you like :))


ps.. i've had "39s" that feel like 65s too. scary.

At April 10, 2006 8:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You seem to be low a lot. You should lower your basals!

At April 10, 2006 10:39 PM, Anonymous cin said...

My hubby has our insurance coverage through his employer. We have good benefits and copays (for now) but they stick us for almost $140/week for a family policy.
Wow Kerri. That 39 musta been scary. I had a 27 one time at work and was totally coherent, carrying on conversations like nothing was wrong.

At April 11, 2006 6:50 AM, Blogger Kieran said...

Keep writing and fighting for changes. It's going to work.

At April 13, 2006 11:00 PM, Blogger Cindy said...

Kerri, I absolutely love your blog. You have so many wonderful Diabetes related links. I worry about health care for my 9 year old son and what it will be like in his future right now he depends on me and his dad for everything but what happens when he's an adult will he be able to get coverage or left out in the cold. When I think about it, it really does scare me.

Lows uggggg I personally cannot relate but as a parent of a type 1 we have seen lows off the meter all you see is LOW scary!!! I usually give him juice with peanut butter crackers and if I don't have any of that I reach for whatever I can that has fast acting sugar, soda if necessary no time to play around.
I would like to link to your blog if its ok.

At April 16, 2006 12:31 AM, Anonymous Laura G. said...


Yeah, in ten years are we going to look back on these Pump and Test Strip years as the easiest, healthiest time in our diabetic lives? Good grief.

About the scary lows--

I'm stubborn and I always used to prefer real food (juice, raisins, fruit) for lows but now I see how much faster I come up with smarties/glucose tabs or's the best new trick I've found in a long time. Stops most of the killer post-low headaches, reduces overeating, even helps turn off the stress-hormone-liver-dump-spike evil before it starts! I should have tried this a long time ago...

And as to hypo unawareness--I get those surprise lows too, and have for ten years at least, but it's never progressed into real official hypo unawareness. I still get a subtle clue most of the time, and big symptoms often. So...your lows sound scary and nasty indeed, but they might not be the Beginning of the End of all your awareness! Hope not, anyway.

keep your BG up and thanks for your great blog

At April 16, 2006 9:49 PM, Blogger Kerri. said...

Jill - Thanks for coming by! I've added a link to your blog.

Cin - It seems like insurance woes are par for the proverbial course across the diabetic blogosphere. Everyone has personal experience with navigating the disappointing insurance waters. $140 per week for a family policy is mighty steep.

Cindy - So it was you on both blogs! I was wondering if I was losing my mind there for a minute... thanks for taking a read through the blog and I'm glad you liked it. I'll be linking you this week. :)

Laura G. - Thanks to you for stopping by, too! I'm hoping that this bout of hypoglycemic unawareness is temporary. I've been blowing through test strips like a professional for the last few weeks. I'm off to Joslin for my next appointment in early May and I'll definitely have some questions for them this round. I hope you stop by now and again to take a read here.

At September 11, 2006 4:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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