The Cost of Living

I finally broke down yesterday and went to the pharmacy to pick up a couple more bottles of insulin. I’ve been using the ones I have now since, well, Spain, and a bottle of insulin is only actually “good” for about 30 days after you open it.

Yes, I’ve been using my insulin two months past the expiration date.

I suspect that my two episodes of “dangerously low sugar after 30 minutes” were probably caused by using “old” insulin. Over time, when exposed to heat and air, the chemical composition of the insulin breaks down, and it starts losing its effectiveness and performing erratically.

I expect to get a lot of shit when I mention this to people. Stephanie was horrified when she realized I’d been using two-months-expired insulin. Then I brought home my two new bottles and two containers of testing strips, set the four small containers on the counter and said, “That’s $255 in meds right there.”

I make $385 a week.

When the pharmacy tech rang me up, I was a little breathless at the cost, and nearly quipped off something like, “Well, being 15K in credit card debt beats being dead,” but kept my mouth shut when I remembered how annoying it was as a customer service rep to get these snapshots of so many people’s complicated lives – I had enough on my plate.

So I bit my tongue and paid the piper and yay, whiz, bang! I’ll live another few months.

Some diabetes blog I was reading pointed to a blogger who was writing about how we should just let people with chronic illnesses die because they’re sucking off the system and using up time and resources. It was a funny thing to read about some random person who wanted me dead because I was “sucking off” society. Kind of hard to do when I’m paying taxes and paying for my own meds, but hey. I’d argue that we’re making pharmacuetical companies rich and giving jobs to pharmacists and pharmacy techs and dying thousands of dollars in debt to credit card companies long after we’ve already paid off the actual balance; all that interest adds up, and I’m sure by the time we kick off, we’ll have already been hard into the interests payments, which I’m sure the credit card company will write off anyway (in fact, the only people losing money in the healthcare industry are… the people being treated. But keep blaming all us disease-ridden chronic folk for breathing, if it makes you feel better about being screwed over, too).

It was a such a weird thing to get hit upside the head with this thing right in the middle of… everything. Of life. Of living. It’s like you’re going along, building this life just the way you planned, doing all the right things, on all the right roads, and then it’s like somebody knocked you upside the head witha shovel, pulled the rug out from under you, and you hit the ground hard and realized things – if you want to continue – are going to be a lot harder than you thought they would be.

Life isn’t exactly all that easy to begin with. Mine’s just a little harder. And more expensive. Living is really expensive.

But I still have this road I want to go down, this life I want to live. And it’s funny to have this extra time, as much as I can squeeze out of an insulin bottle, in any case. I keep coming back to it and I keep on squeezing it because I have such a passionate desire to succeed at all of these things, to die old and satiated. I have too many desires. I want too much. But all that desire means I’m willing to do a lot of things to get there, one bottle at a time.

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