I have been planning, for a while now, to start getting my prescriptions and medical care through Veterans Affairs. Basically, everything was supposed to be more cost effective as Veterans Affairs foots the largest part of the bill. I had forgotten how efficiently time consuming military medicine was. Its both a blessing and a curse. With the military, they always try to get everything done at once, which is awesome. The downside is it takes most of the day. I arrived at my appointment at 10 and didn’t leave until after 2. It was a long day and I didn’t think ahead to ask for the entire day off as it was a 10 o’clock appointment.
My biggest reason for going to the VA is that diabetes supplies are extremely expensive. I’ve talked about that in “Why Can’t We Be Friends”. I was very excited to get started and thought this may also be my chance to get an insulin pump and a continuous glucose monitor. That was about half true. I ran into a great deal of bad news. The good news is they are going to try to get me a pump. My mentions of the continuous glucose monitor were completely ignored. Then starts the bad news. The VA only provides Freestyle Lite Strips, and I can only get the pump if I use their meter so they can download my meter into their computers. I was very excited about going back to the OneTouch Mini after the problems with my Contour USB. Now, in order to get the service I desire, I have to use this Freestyle Lite meter. I don’t like that case because I can’t carry my insulin pen in it. That won’t be a problem. I don’t like the size and it has to be the ugliest meter ever created. But the goal is the pump, so I’m willing to use the Freestyle Lite. Then the doctor asks me how many strips I use a day. I think for a second: 1 before and after each meal; that’s 6 and one at night that is 7. I tell the doctor that on a good day I use 7 but most days I use a couple more because I have either given myself too much or too little insulin. She says the most she can prescribe is 3 per day. Stuff and Nonsense! How am I supposed to accomplish this? How ridiculous! I was shocked. In order to get the help I need, I have to stop taking care of myself? What sense does that make? Then we start talking about my current insulin. Currently, I use Novolog Flexpens and Lantus Solostar Pens. Oh, no. The VA doesn’t do pens unless you are blind. With only three strips a day, blindness may be in the near future. In order to get my insulin through the VA, I have to go back to using syringes and vials. This is crazy. In order to make my life easier, I have to make it more difficult.
Well, I took my new meter and my new strips home. I put the brand new OneTouch on the back shelf in our medicine cabinet. I gave in and began testing my blood sugar with the new Freestyle Lite. For all intents and purposes , it does what it is supposed to. It looks like an egg with a butterfly flying into its butt. I have tried NOT to test my blood, in order to get down to the limit of 3 a day. I’m here to say, that is not going to work. Every time I test my blood, I am in the 300s somewhere. The VA may help financially, but it may just increase the number of diabetes related complications that I have.
As a father and a husband, I feel that I need to stick with this VA thing in order to help better provide for my family. As a human that likes to be alive, this is scarey.
Don’t take this the wrong way. Veterans Affairs does a great deal for the Veterans of our country. I respect and appreciate that. I do not know much about type 2 diabetes. Perhaps type 2’s do not need to check their sugar as often. Perhaps this works for the majority of the Veterans with diabetes. I just cannot imagine asking a type 1 to deal with everything I received that day. I just opened my last container of strips. It is not going to last as long as they desire.