Don’t Think Different

I seem normal to me. Well, maybe “normal” is a little too strong a word. But I’m at least reasonable, I think. But apparently that’s not how the world sees me.

Case in point: a couple of days ago, Mrs. P and I took our daughter for her first follow-up appointment with the endocrinologist after her onset of diabetes. As usual with doctor appointments, we talk about what we want to accomplish – questions we need answered, prescriptions we need filled, stuff like that. That’s odd in itself, I gather – most people just seem to let the doctor set the tone of office visits. We like to set the agenda.

So we had a list of questions, one of which was to find out how to use NPH insulin. NPH, or “neutral protamine Hagedorn” insulin is an older formulation of insulin that forms crystals under the skin, and slowly releases insulin over time. It doesn’t act as quickly as Humalog, and doesn’t last as long as Lantus. But, unlike both of those modern formulations, it’s available without prescription. I’ve priced it out, and I can get it at Walmart for like $25.

Twenty-five dollar insulin is a big, fat target for a stack-happy prepper, especially when insurance rules limit how much insulin I can have on hand. Being able to walk into Walmart with cash and walk out with insulin with no hassles would be awesome. But there are two catches: first, you need syringes and needles, which require a prescription; and second, I have no idea how to fit NPH insulin into my daughter’s regimen.

So when we sat down with the doctor yesterday, I asked her to fix both problems. I could tell from the look on her face that I was going to get a fight. “Well, NPH insulin isn’t really the same as the other insulins you’re using. It’s best to stick with what we’re using.” Yes, I explained, but what if something happens and I run out of insulin? “Oh, just call the office and we’ll get your insurance company to expedite a shipment.”

You ain’t getting it, are you, honey?

“OK,” I said. “Imagine if you will that for whatever reason, there’s some sort of supply chain problem. After all, all the insulin and supplies we have come from overseas. Can’t you see that there may come a time when that supply line gets interrupted?”

“In that case,” she earnestly and seriously replied, “go to the ER. That’s a true medical emergency, and they’ll always have insulin there.”

"The doctor will see you now."
“The doctor will see you now.”

I stared at her for a second. In my mind, I saw her face as a skull, which actually happens to me a lot when I’m looking at people I know are not going to make it.

OK, so maybe that part does make me weird.

I broke the stare after a few seconds and just said, “OK, moving on.” No point going any further. I’ll just have to figure out an NPH insulin regimen on my own. Good thing we’ve got that interwebz thing.

I mean, really – does it take that much imagination or foresight to see where we’re going, and where we’re going to end up soon? I know that doctors are not famously imaginative – it really isn’t a personality trait that’s suited to spending four years memorizing the human body. Doctors tend to be very focused, which is one reason I avoided med school when I had the option – a man has got to know his limitations. But still, you’d figure someone smart enough to get through med school would be able to see all the things that could go wrong with the supply chain. Even mundane stuff like job loss could effectively pinch off the insulin supply for us. And anything that can threaten the supply of insulin is a threat to my kid, and needs to be mitigated to the extent that I can.

Granted, I’m probably not the best salesman when it comes to making this stuff seem mainstream. As my older daughter just pointed out, I’ve got to find a way to explain my position without sounding crazy. Part of that is a failing of mine – not being able to empathize with others – but part of it probably has to do with the rash of “Doomsday Preppers” shows lately. People now have the picture preppers as fat mall ninjas practicing shoot-and-scoot through suburban backyards with Airsoft rifles. The producers of those shows really do a disservice to those of us that see things differently.

I guess “Think Different” is only cool when you’re selling over-priced computers.

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