It’s a full time job keeping all the diabetes supplies stocked and up-to-date at my house. I’m getting so overwhelmed with all of the stuff! I have an entire cupboard in my kitchen dedicated to holding all of our medicines and supplies, and it never seems big enough. Oh wait, there’s also a shelf in my fridge for the insulin; a sharps containers above the fridge; a bunch of juice boxes stacked in the pantry; and a box of extra supplies in the top of my closet (because our kitchen cupboard won’t hold it all). That doesn’t include the supplies we keep at school, at Grandma’s house, in the car, etc. We’ve got insulin, test strips, meters, batteries, lancets, lancing devices, infusion sets, pump reservoirs, continuous glucose monitor sensors, syringes, alcohol prep pads, and treatment for severe low blood sugar, not to mention all the various prescriptions for the rest of the family.
You would think that with all of the supplies we have, we would never run out and always have everything that we need. That’s the trap I fall into sometimes, and before I know it, I’m looking for an infusion set and reservoir to change Kaitlyn’s site and realizing I’m down to the very last one. How did I let that happen?
The most frustrating thing about running out of diabetes supplies is that sometimes they’re hard to get — you can’t just run to the store and pick them up. And even when you can, you end up paying a premium for them, usually without the help of insurance. I’ve also had to pay high shipping prices to have the items expedited to my home. Plus, if I need a new prescription sent from the doctor, that adds to the time it takes for supplies to arrive as well.
When I’m making cookies and realize that I’ve run out of vanilla, I just run across the street and borrow some from my neighbor. I don’t have to panic and run to the store; and my neighbor gets to enjoy the cookies that I bring over later. Too bad it’s not that simple with medical supplies.
I’m lucky to have an awesome support group — my sister-in-law Jen, of course, along with some great friends who have come to my rescue at various times with little things like test strips. I hate to rely on them for every emergency though, because they need the supplies too! The bottom line is that I just need to get more organized with how I handle our medical inventory. Here are some of my ideas:
1. Set up Reminders. I’ve started setting reminders on my phone to order prescriptions. I’ll schedule the reminder for a few days before we’re eligible to receive the refill, so I make sure we get the supplies as soon as possible, even if we’re not out of what we’ve got. Eventually, I’d like to build up an emergency supply of everything, being mindful of expiration dates in case we’re ever unable to get our prescriptions for an extended period of time.
2. Use Automatic Shipping. I’ve put off getting auto-shipping set up on some of our supplies for no other reason than this: I haven’t gotten around to requesting the necessary forms, filling them out, and faxing them back. This will be a huge help and take a lot of the work out of reordering.
3. Keep the Cupboard Organized and Check the Stock Regularly. I’m going to try to organize my supplies and do an inventory at least once a month so it will be much more obvious when we’re getting low on a certain item. I’ll also be able to rotate the supplies and make sure any expired medicines are thrown out and any that are soon to expire can be used first.
Hopefully these strategies will help me keep our supplies stocked and current! Wish me luck!
Disclaimer: The experiences and suggestions recounted in these articles are not intended as medical advice, and they are not necessarily the “typical” experiences of families with a child who has type 1 diabetes. These situations are unique to the families depicted. Families should check with their healthcare professionals regarding the treatment of type 1 diabetes and the frequency of blood glucose monitoring. Jen and Kim are real moms of kids with type 1 diabetes and have been compensated for their contributions to this site.