I have read much lately throughout the diabetes community about insurance companies and what gets covered and what doesn't. What costs too much, what prices keep rising, and how unfair it all seems. Some of this is an absolute truth. But I also think that history can teach us much on how to take what we have, work with it, and fill in the gaps where needed.
As a family with two type one children, we've had our share of insurance worries over the years but I've learned a few things you might find helpful.
There was a time when there were no pumps, no CGMS, no readily-available educators, no instantaneous reading from a glucometer, no ‘micro-fine’ needles at the end of syringes, and not anywhere near as many choices as we now have. Now I’m not saying that to learn to appreciate a car you should walk everywhere, but having some knowledge of how to control blood sugar the old-fashioned way (without today's fancy technology), may come in VERY HANDY at a time in your life when you least expect it.
Ask yourself what it would be like to not have all of the tools for diabetes management that you now have at your disposable. Something happens and it’s all gone……what would you do? What could you do? I’m not suggesting that you take all, or even any, of these management tools away from your child to prove a point; I AM SAYING that YOU SHOULD KNOW what to do in all of the worst case scenarios. I’m also saying that it might also NOT BE a bad idea to lay out syringes, vials of insulin and archaic glucometers (today’s standards) in front of your child to discuss the ‘what ifs’ that could happen in their lives.
I have stated many times that if you are planning to travel with a young child with diabetes, it might be worthwhile to ‘pretend’ going through the TSA screening process in the comfort of your living room as oppose to it being for the first time at the actual airport. Recreate some procedures and some beeping sounds so they are not afraid of the unknown when they arrive at the airport…….they are not so afraid because it’s no longer an unknown.
Children fear what they DO NOT UNDERSTAND more than anything else. If they have never seen a syringe before, do you really want it shown the first time when the pump malfunctions and you have to work with MDI (multiple daily injections)?
Whether you implement dry run weekends (actually using less than ideal diabetes supplies but just as effective), is entirely up to you and your family. But I would strongly suggest you, at least, lay out and discuss possible alternatives that may be needed some day.
As far as diabetes education goes, whether your insurance covers a diabetes educator or not; do not wait to learn. The internet is the world’s biggest and most convenient library. Spend an afternoon seeking answers to your questions…….you will be surprised how much you will, and can, learn.
Devices will malfunction. Management tools will break. Frustration will set in. But I can assure you that if your child is aware of something BEFORE it happens, they will adapt and adjust as needed much sooner and much easier if they are not seeing something for the first time; when it is the first time they need it.
I am a DiabetesDad