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Type 2

I'm reposting this because I limited it to "friends only" when I posted it earlier, and in retrospect, I think this topic deserves a wider readership.

From the Diabetes Pharmacist website

Two or three years ago I learned I had Type 2 (adult-onset) diabetes.

I say “two or three” because I can’t remember when it was. A broken leg is a trauma, so it’s easier to remember when it occurred. The same with a surgical procedure. My carpal tunnel surgeries occurred three years ago; I don’t need to look it up.

But diabetes is sneaky. Because it runs in my family, I recognized the symptoms—especially the constant thirst. That led to a doctor’s visit, blood tests and the diagnosis.

I’ve been taking medication twice a day since then, but to tell the truth, I was in denial. I didn’t feel any different because of the diabetes. I figured the pills were taking care of it, and besides, when my doctor ordered blood work, my blood-glucose numbers looked pretty good. I decided I could quit testing my blood-glucose level every day. I got cocky about a chronic disease. This was not smart.

Predictably, I abandoned any attempts at healthy eating. Besides eating too many candy bars and hard candy, I was eating too many hamburgers, too much red meat, too many starches, too much cheese, too much ice cream—you get the picture. And then I went back to my doctor for a regularly scheduled routine checkup, and the blood test results shouted, “Danger! Danger Will Robinson!”

So my doctor figured out how to get me to stop my denial. She told me that between my diabetes and all of the cholesterol in my blood, I was more likely to die of a heart attack or stroke than a healthy man my age would.

Death got my attention.

Since then, I’ve been checking my blood-glucose level routinely, and I’ve got a real gripe about my health insurers. They will cover one blood check a day.

Now, here’s the thing: To get an idea of how effective my meds and my drastically changed diet are, I need to test before I eat a meal and then again two hours later. And I need to do this with all three meals so I can get a handle on how I’m doing through the day. I haven’t figured out how to do this with just one test a day.

Fortunately, because I quit testing for so long, I had a big supply of test strips on hand. So I’ve been able to use them for multiple tests each day. I’m running out, but I figure I’ll buy more on my own, out from under the insurance plan umbrella, because I want the information. My plan is to get two weeks’ worth of data for lunch, another two for lunch and another two for dinner.

You would think the insurance company would want me to have that information, too, so that I could better head off trouble—or, to put it another way, better save the insurer money by taking care of small problems before they get big. But like who knows how many other kinds of business, the insurance company is keeping its greedy, beady eyes on short-term profits.

As for me, I’ve lost 13 pounds over the past seven weeks and am counting carbs, making sure I’m getting protein and fiber, avoiding saturated fats, etc. This is a lifestyle change I can live with, even though I shouldn’t eat a lot of food that I love—pizza, for instance. French fries. Lifesaver candies.

But I can’t help but wonder how many people are being nickel-and-dimed down the road of serious health problems because their insurance company won’t pay for a second test a day. The test strips cost about $70 for about 50 of them, so it wouldn’t be a huge expense. I’ll buy them on my own, but I’m fortunate: I can afford them.

What will be the health consequences for people who can’t?


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 7th, 2014 02:54 am (UTC)
I can set you up with less expensive testing supplies. Call me!
Aug. 7th, 2014 03:13 am (UTC)
Thanks. Will do.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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