With a type 1 diabetes diagnosis comes a lot of STUFF. Upon leaving the doctor’s office that very first time, we were laden with insulin, needles, blood glucose monitors, test strips, lancets, alcohol prep pads, ketone strips and log books, among other things. And these are just the medical supplies in the strictest sense. In order to really care for a child with diabetes, we needed even more stuff -- stuff that serves a medical purpose for us but isn’t covered by most health insurance plans! You know what I’m talking about:
Low Blood Sugar Supplies
The most fundamental of these “extras” that are, for us, “essentials” are sugar sources to deal with lows. It reminds me of a cheeky James quote from years past. As I handed James a package of candy, he said to the pretty little 7-year-old girl walking down the hall next to him in church, “My mom gives me candy so I can be healthy.” I just had to shrug. He’s right! Yet these supplies aren’t covered by HSAs (health savings accounts), and they aren’t regulated. Instead, every family can find what works best for them and what they most prefer. Really, finding new supplies can make diabetes treatment a little more fun. It adds excitement to what can otherwise get monotonous as the years roll by. I know James thinks of juice and candy at unusual times as a perk.
Measuring Cups and Spoons
They’re kitchen gadgets for other people, but medical tools in my house. We measure rice and pancake syrup and broccoli cheese soup and whipped cream. We use them daily, and doing so really helps our numbers. A few weeks ago, I “splurged” and bought a new set of measuring cups. We have tons at our house, and we didn’t really NEED new ones, but I’m loving these guys! The cups themselves are plastic and flat on the bottom and sides like I like. The handles are engraved metal. I think they cost $3.99 -- money well spent, in my opinion, since they make me smile every time I dish up a bowl of cereal or pour a cup of milk. It’s a small pleasure, sure, but it keeps something that I do every day -- every meal, several times a meal -- feeling new.
I’ve written before about my gigantic bag when James was first diagnosed. I took everything in the world with me in that bag, and it made me feel better to know I had everything I could possibly need at hand! Now, I usually leave the house with a loaded-up blood glucose testing kit. I make sure it’s stocked with clean lancets, alcohol prep pads and plenty of test strips and low blood sugar supplies. This is all I typically bring with me when I’m out and about with James. My newest purse isn’t technically a diabetes supply, but when I bought it, I did keep in mind that it needed to have space for my blood glucose testing kit and a juice box or two. Sprucing up this “supply” (my bag) is a pleasure I try to indulge in at least once a year!
My feeling is, if you’re going to need a lot of stuff, might as well have good stuff! And if you are going to be caring for a child with diabetes day in and day out for years at a time, you might as well add some variety where you can!
About the author: My name is Jennifer, and I live in Southern California with my husband, Craig, and our three boys. Our oldest son James has been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. I’m thankful for this opportunity -- along with my sister-in-law Kim and her daughter Kaitlyn, who also has type 1 diabetes -- to share our struggles and triumphs with our friends in the diabetes community.
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.
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