At first glance, I manage my diabetes using an insulin pump from Tandem Diabetes Care, a continuous glucose monitor from Dexcom, Humalog insulin, and either the mySugr meter kit or a Freestyle one. All of these items require prescriptions and $$$ and involvement from my clinicians.
But there’s a number of items that are used regularly to manage my diabetes, only they wouldn’t have an insurance billing code or a reimbursement policy. Here are just a few things you won’t find an active prescription for, but are tied to diabetes wellness all the same:
Muro 128: I use this stuff in my eyes every night before I go to bed because back when Birdy was 9 months old, she tagged me in the cornea with her thumbnail, tearing off a small strip of my cornea which (even in people without diabetes) never fully heals properly and is always at risk of re-tearing. Where this becomes a diabetes-ish issue is that 30+ years of type 1 diabetes can contribute to dry eyes, which can contribute to corneal issues. (I had punctal plugs put in last year to help counteract the dry eyes, which has helped a lot.) A little tube of Muro 128 costs about $25 and I use approximately two of these a month.
Nexcare Waterproof Tape: I spendy-spend on this stuff because of my evil fingertips. In certain kinds of weather and temperatures, my fingertips become cracked and dry, and they split open at the edges. (I’ve written about this at length here.) As the splits are healing, I tape my fingertips with this waterproof tape to protect my skin. It’s not an expensive item to purchase, but it’s very helpful to keep my hands comfortable. (Also add some of this Gold Bond Diabetic Lotion to the list, as well, because this is what I use to help soothe my hands and prevent additional cracks. Skin, yo!)
Glucose tabs: Tabs are my preferred way to treat lows, especially while traveling. My go-to tabs are made by GlucoLift (used to be a Cherry girl, myself, but am switching to Wildberry. Because I’m wild?) On the whole, low blood sugar treatments are always on my mental shopping list because I don’t like to use candy or something universally yummy to treat lows, as that often leads to overtreating for me. Glucose tabs feel like a medical thing and since they are counted out into 4 grams of carbs per tab, I can correct a low with precision.
Overlay tapes: Oh, these. I spend a lot on medical tape. Whether it’s OpSite Flexifix tape to anchor a pump site or a Dexcom sensor, or StayPut patches, my skin does not enjoy having things stuck to it and I’m always trying out different ways to get the approved wearability timeframes for my medical devices. (Trying out some Pump Peelz tapes next week – very excited to see how those perform!)
Goodies: Granted, these are not needs, but they are wants. Like a cute bag to carry my meter around in? Potentially with a dinosaur on it? Or perhaps a namesake bag? Stickers to dress up a sensor or a pump? No reimbursement for these diabetes upgrades but they are worth the splurge. And they are diabetes-related, so they fit into this list. 🙂
This concept of “the random diabetes stuff we use” is not new – here’s a video from five years ago about the things I used then, and some I still use now:
Not all of our tools are prescribed, and not all are easy to come by. But we do what we need to do in order to make sense of diabetes, and we lean on our community for tips and tricks on how to figure all this crap out.
Thanks for being there, you guys.