Archive for January, 2011

Medical Supplies

January 3, 2011

Ooh bo-oo-oy.  Big stretch.  Taking my time.  Taking my time because I do not want to do what I promised myself I would do today, something I have put off for months – months.  This particular task-to-goal involves organizing and getting rid of medical supplies that have gone unused.

I began conveniently storing them in my bedroom closet for easy access some many, many, years ago.  Somehow or another, more supplies ended up in a kitchen cupboard at the other end of the house if only because there was room. 

You see, I am a diabetic and have been for almost 52 years (August, 2011 anniversary date).  Having been trained as such to keep my life in and on a  tight schedule with a tightly controlled (militaristic), regimented daily routine, the present overbearing sight of unused medical supplies gave me a sense of un-ease with this disease.   Also, as these items began collecting dust, the fact of keeping them, hanging on to them “just-in-case,” became unbearable, analytically unnecessary.  As with many facets of this, my life as a diabetic, the addition of dust compounded unacceptance.   I have rationalized the ‘collective’ matter and put it into perspective (reality).  Simply, if this stuff is literally collecting a fine layer of dust and I haven’t used this, that or the other for an obvious long time, get rid of it!   Phew!  I am a realist.

During the past sixteen years I have used four different brands of an infamous invention known as ‘the insulin pump.’  Sure, it’s a great BIG deal while strategizing life with this disease.  But this essay is not specifically about or limited to such mechanisms.  Admittedly being a cyborg, such machines have allowed me disconcerting flexibility.    Also keep in mind that none of the pumps that I have used are or were fool-proof.   While helping me to maintain an acceptable HbA1C level (see definition further on) when working properly (key words), all of them stopped working at one point or another.  Therefore, another supply or another was given, purchased, suggested, forced on me to troubleshoot this expensive ($6.5K+) machine.  I am not cheap.  Therefore, my medical supply collection is not as well.

“HbA1c levels depend on the blood glucose concentration. That is, the higher the glucose concentration in blood, the higher the level of HbA1c.   Levels of HbA1c are not influenced by daily fluctuations in the blood glucose concentration but reflect the average glucose levels over the prior six to eight weeks. Therefore, HbA1c is a useful indicator of how well the blood glucose level has been controlled in the recent past and may be used to monitor the effects of diet, exercise, and drug therapy on blood glucose in diabetic patients.

“In healthy, non-diabetic patients the HbA1c level is less than 7% of total hemoglobin. It has been demonstrated that the complications of diabetes can be delayed or prevented if the HbA1c level can be kept close to 7%. In general, values should be kept below 8%.”

Okay, with that important information aside, it is still time to clean out the closet!   No procrastinating now!  I’m on a roll!  And, as joyously anticipated, the closet looks so much better!  There’s room – open, cleared, cleaned out and cleaned off; room enough for seven hats, or many books, or blankets and pillows or board games.  Good heavens, knowing that I can’t decide, I decided to leave it empty.  Gosh, that was a simple decision.

The supplies?  Well, the inventory holds: 1 (one) Link Assist; 3 (three) boxes of cartridges, 2 (two) of these are unopened; 8 (eight) boxes of infusion sets, 3 (three) of which have been opened; 1 (one) software CD; 1 (one) “Quick Reference Guide;” 1 (one) “Pocket Guide;” 1 (one) battery cover; 4 (four) hard plastic battery removers; 1 (one) hand-held device; 2 (two) hard plastic insulin pump shipping cases; 3 (three) glucometers without strips; 4 (four) unopened boxes of lancets; and menial additions of sundry medical supplies.  Now, on to what to do with this stuff…

To pause, let me address readers that are totally unfamiliar with what I am writing on about.  Non-diabetics are granted my utmost respect when caring for a diabetic which involves constant learning.  It’s all tiring, fatiguing, boring and such.  But facts is facts.  Interested parties can easily, very easily, look up this stuff.  And so…  

Of course I telephoned each of the responsible manufacturing companies to inquire about ‘this stuff.’  You know what I was told?  Of course not, but I will tell you: “Throw it away.”  T H R O W   I T   A W A Y.   Throw it away??!!! As this repeated phrase was and is not only unacceptable to me but flabbergasting in itself, I was still on a pride-driven roll with a curve: give it to a person in need.  Heck, it’s all paid for!  With that in mind, I contacted my doctor.  She told me to “put it [the inventory] on Craig’s list and give it away that way.”  Wow.  I was and remain floored, stunned, with her remark. 

In my attempts to become someone’s anonymous heroine, to give away, to donate packaged, clean, necessary and expensive medical supplies is presently for naught.   Lovingly packed and organized, these boxes have since been carried and tenderly placed in another room.  Once again, I know what I must do but I cannot get myself to do it – post it all on Craig’s list.  It doesn’t seem right; such an action makes me uncomfortable.  I have also thought of contacting the American Red Cross, thinking – hoping – that, perhaps, a medical facility in Croatia, Poland, Greenland, Romania, Wherever would be excitedly appreciative of such items.  Or is diabetes non-existent over there?! 

Summarily, I consider this matter to be an undecided conundrum with the addition of insult.  I’m also sure that I am not alone and not the first to have faced this challenge.  Things that make you go “hmm.”

A. K. Buckroth, Author,,