Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Diabetes Is Expensive

We all know how much it costs to effectively manage diabetes properly. There are the sugars machines (which I have yet to have to pay for) and the strips. The strips are where they really stick it to you. “Here have a FREE machine. Now, all you have to do is pay around $50 a bottle for strips so you can actually use the machine.”

Then, for those on a pump there are the pump supplies. Or, if you’re on MDI you have to buy syringes. Then, there’s insulin, two kinds if you use MDI.

But, that’s not the expense I’m talking about today. I will save my decline of health care/ insurance rant for another day.

Today I am talking about the expense of a cellular phone. To those parents out there with kids with D, your cell phone is your lifeline. It is how you are able to be a pancreas while being miles and miles away from your child. You are able to talk to teachers and nurses or your child and tell them what to do. You are able to be reached at anytime if needed for an emergency site change. My cell phone is like my security blanket.

A couple of posts ago I wrote that I had to switch schools with no notice. To say that I live in a rural area is putting it mildly. Because I’m in such a rural area cell phone coverage can be spotty at times. It has gotten better over the last couple of years and now 99.9% of the time I can be reached by cell phone.

Except now. The school where I have been reassigned is in an area where I do not have any cell service. To say this stresses me out would be an understatement. I have a phone in my office, but what good school nurse sits in her office at all times. Also, I don’t have a private line. All calls have to go through the front desk. The front desk line is very often busy.

If you remember, Riley was supposed to call me at every sugar check for instructions on what to do. Well, after the first few days, that plan had to go. His teacher kept getting a busy signal every time she tried to call me. A few days into the school year I drove all over creation to find a place that still sold beepers. I figured his teacher could page me and I could call her back on the school’s phone.

I showed up at work that first day and realized about 10 minutes after Riley was supposed to check his sugar that I still hadn’t received my page. I called his teacher who had tried calling Michael when she couldn’t get me and then ended up calling my mom. She had paged me several times and I never called back. I quickly paged myself and found out that the pager did not pick up inside the school building. I called the pager company and they said that happened sometimes and there is nothing that can really be done about it.

I had noticed other staff members talking on their cells at lunch. I found out they use a different cell company than I do. I can’t really switch cell companies since I’m under contract. So, I contacted the other cell company today to ask about a pay as you go plan.

They have a plan where I will have to pay an activation fee and a monthly fee and then so much per minute for every minute that I use the phone. So, after work today I’m going there and sign up for yet another cell phone with a different company.

Thankfully, the beeper was not expensive and I did not have to sign a contract. Hopefully, the new cell phone won’t end up costing too much a month. It should only be used if his teacher needs me. She’s doing just fine with lunch and snack on her own. She has been told to call for any sugar less than 80 and over 300. And, anytime he has to check his sugar when it is not snack or lunch (including before PE). Hopefully, I won’t use too many minutes a month since I’ll still have my regular cell for other calls. It’s the activation fee that gets to me.

But, it’s all worth it to make sure Riley is OK. It not only helps me, but I think it stresses his teacher out not to have me readily available when she needs me.


phonelady said...

Yes I feel for that teacher and you and your son . It must have been scary for you and your sons teacher . I know when I have not been able to get in touch with someone like my drs office it freaks me out especially if it is because my stupid cell service . great blog and I so feel you .

Wendy said...

AAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!! That's all I can think!!!!! I know how stressful it is trying to live your life attached to a cell phone at. all. times.

When something happens to interrupt that plan, it's VERY stressful.

Keep us posted and let us know how the new plan goes. I'll keep you in prayer!

Colleen said...

Can you ask if your school has an unpublished number that you could give the teacher? Maybe a private line that just a few people use?

KRoberts said...

Hi I, like your son Riley, also have diabetes however I have had it about 10+ years now (i really dont remember anymore, because it was a big day but now it was just any other day in my life and I really cannot phathom not having diabetes anymore. I went on lanuts (i usually wear a minimed 522) and i slept with my pump on every night, just like i have for the past 10 years) Anyways, I was just wondering if you have tried or considered CGMS (continuous glucose monitoring systems) I have been wearing one for about 2 years now I believe and I have loved it! My A1C has gone from about 6.8 (my highest ever :/ ) to now ranging from 6 - 5.5. I cannot say enough good things about this product, I mean it isnt always accurate but it gives me piece of mind and allows me to clearly see trends. I have only heard great things about the freestyle navigator and I cannot wait to switch over to it in jan! But as of now i am still wearing my minimed sensor which i really enojy but i am excited to try something new, which has a much much MUCH smaller needle and thus, much less bruising! :)

Meri said...

I feel for you. We have 4 cell phones and counting. The lines at the boys school are shared with other classrooms and are often busy when they need to call me. Thus, our T Mobile family plan. :(

I hope your new phone plan works wonderfully for you. Third time's a charm.

Lisa said...

I feel your pain Penny! I hope the new phone works for you. I know how stessed out I get when my cell phone isn't in a good coverage area and when I have to have it turned off. Can you imagine what parents of kids with D went through BEFORE cell phones? If my kid has to have D, I sure am glad that it is now.