I have a diabetes cupboard. It is in the corner of our bedroom and is actually an antique music cupboard. At least, that is what it was used for when it belonged to Aaron’s great Aunt. When we were gifted the beautiful piece from Aaron’s mother, we were living in a warehouse apartment with soaring ceilings and exposed beams, and we used it for crockery.
When we bought and moved into our first home, the cupboard sat at the end of the very long corridor in our Victorian cottage. There was always a vase of flowers and a small plate which held our house keys on top and it continued to house bits and pieces of crockery, vases and other bowls and plates.
In our new house (is it still new? We’ve been there over three years now…), it started in the corridor until we had floor to ceiling shelves built in along one wall of the wide hallway. Then we moved it into the corner of our bedroom. Now on top of the cupboard is a pile of books about New York, topped with a Yankees cap I bought when we went to ball game back in July 2013.
It was when it moved into the bedroom that it became my diabetes supplies cupboard. Inside it is stacked with boxes of insulin pump supplies, BGL strips, CGM sensors, chargers and cables for my meter, the empty box from the CGM transmitter I am currently using, Rockadex tape, alcohol wipes, back up BGL meters, spare little purses to house my diabetes kit, syringes (in case of pump fail) and anything else that is filed under ‘crap things I need to manage my crap health condition’.
Every now and then – usually after an avalanche of diabetes supplies has fallen to the floor as I’ve frantically searched for a line or new packet of strips – I do a big clean up and tidy. I throw out empty packages and the annoying instructions for use that are in EVERY box of every supply and take stock of what is in there.
I did this just the other day and now the inside of the cupboard is all neat and tidy, and appealing to my neatness obsession. I can see what supplies I have, what’s running low and what needs reordering now. The size of the cupboard is perfect for diabetes supplies because it’s not too big and doesn’t allow me to over order and overstock – something that is especially important if there are any products on backorder in the NDSS, which can happen occasionally – although, I’m not sure I’d do that anyway because I’ve never been the type to stockpile anything.
My mother stockpiles food and household groceries for Armageddon. I know that at any time I go to her house I can open the pantry doors and find pretty much anything I need to whip up a three course meal. For about sixty people. I rarely leave my parents’ place without a bagful of groceries after mum says, ‘Do you need anything? There is chicken stock in the freezer in the laundry. Take some with you. Oh and some pastina for the kid’s dinner. Do you need some? Plus, coffee. Do you need coffee? Take some coffee. And in the pantry, find some juice boxes and jelly beans’. Their house is better hypo-equipped than our own. You know – the house where the person with diabetes actually lives.
But while I don’t overstock, I am a little paranoid about running out of any of my diabetes supplies. Being prepared when it comes to living with diabetes is essential because it’s not like you can walk into a 24-hour store at 2am if you are out of pump cartridges and expect to find in stock what you need!
When pump supplies went from being available from the Diabetes Victoria store downstairs from where I work, I was more than a little annoyed. I found the convenience of simply walking down a flight of stairs to stock up very useful – especially as I would often be running very low and leave restocking to later than I probably should have.
The change in ordering process has actually meant I actually become better at reordering when NDSS supplies were moved to community pharmacies. I now align my pump consumable order with needing to fill an insulin prescription. I pick up my insulin and another couple of months of pump lines and cartridges at the same time.
At the same time, I usually order a box or two of blood glucose strips. A box of 100 now lasts me almost two months as I rarely do more than a couple of checks a day – simply for calibration purposes of my Dex G5.
The only time that I order above my usual number of boxes of anything is if I am about to travel overseas. I kinda turn into my mum when packing to go away and prepare for the apocalypse, imagining every possible disaster scenario that would involve me needing three times the number of lines or cartridges of strips than I would usually require. I then pack accordingly, only to spend the whole time away cursing the excess baggage. And I end up returning home with almost all I’ve packed!
At home, having a dedicated space for my diabetes supplies is one of those things that I do to try to be as organised as possible. Plus, it keeps all of the diabetes paraphernalia in one place rather than stowed throughout the house. Which I realised is actually why I like this method of organisation better than anything I’ve had before. It means that I can try to ‘contain’ diabetes. And for a condition that likes to stamp its DNA all over the place (she says as she sweeps a handful of BGL strips FROM THE FREEZER!!!) trying to squash it all in one small space is incredibly satisfying!
Reprinted with kind permission from Renza Scibilia. Check out Renza's blog here.