Who Can Ignore The Economy?
Anyone who hasn't been storing their brain in a shoebox underneath the bed has probably realized that the economy is tanking. People are being laid off and positions are being eliminated at companies. Grocery money doesn't seem to buy as much now as it did even six months ago. Gas prices, despite the fact that they've fallen a bit in the past few weeks, are still just under $4.00 a gallon.
But these are issues that are affecting all families across the nation. For us, diabetes care can also be affected by the crumbling economy. My brain tends to go into panicked little pockets when I think about the economic situation. For me, a job means more than just money - it's medical insurance. Even now, in good health and without any outstanding medical bills, my monthly medical expenses add up. From co-pays on items like blood pressure medication and birth control pills to the non-prescription items like prenatal vitamins and healthy food, it can get expensive.
I was thinking about money in my budget that I consider well-spent, like my monthly membership to the gym and our grocery bill. For some, spending $30 a month to workout and spending an inordinate amount of money on foods like fresh produce, organic products, and other fancy crap that they sell at Whole Foods and Trader Joes may seem like money that could be saved. But when it comes to diabetes management, "control" is more than just the pump I'm using and the insulin I'm taking - it's about all these other variables, too.
I remember (let's step into the Wayback Machine again, shall we?) test strips that could be cut in half, or into thirds, and at least the gist of a blood sugar level could be grabbed by comparing the color of the strip pad against the guide on the side of the bottle. Granted, today's strips are more accurate, but are they really costing manufacturers $0.85 apiece to make? (Because that's about what they charge us, as consumers.) Diabetes supplies used to be able to go further. Now they are indeed more accurate, but they don't go very far at all. And keeping up with the costs of this maintenance, in addition to making attempts at important, preventative care like a CGM, is starting to make me a little nervous. I'm finding my mind going back to the desire to wear infusion sets past their three-day shelf life and refilling reservoirs, to help extend the life of my supplies. Ridiculous? Yes. But when I'm thinking about other life expenses - car payment, rent, utility bills, gas prices, and the occasional movie or night out - I find myself cutting corners where I can.
What are you guys doing to get the most bang from your diabetes buck? Are you streeeeeetching out the life of insulin pump supplies? Are you trying to gain insurance approval for a CGM as a way of conserving test strips? Do you find yourself debating between paying for gas or renewing your gym membership? The decisions are tough now, and I fear that they may be getting tougher in the future. (And have you seen the Twitter election feed? Regardless of who you're supporting in this election, this constant streaming commentary is pretty fascinating.)
The price of good diabetes control is high, and the cost of not trying to stay healthy is even higher. How are you managing the cost of care?