Saturday, February 23, 2013

Saturday Pantry Suggestions

Quite often I wonder what I'm going to write about each Saturday and then My Life provides inspiration.  Usually from my mistakes...

I've already written about running out of sugar.  Somewhere in the back of my mind (a very dangerous place to reside), I remembered having a Tupperware container full of sugar.  I don't use much sugar these days but I really thought I had extra.

It wasn't until I ran out and was looking for said container that I remembered I'd used all of it and was waiting for a trip to Meijers to purchase Pioneer Brand (sugar made from Michigan sugar beets).  Sigh...

Prescription Medicines

My second such misadventure this week was a little more serious.  I thought I had an extra box of needles for the insulin pens and searched the house when I couldn't find one.  I should have asked for another box when picking up insulin last week.  

Lesson learned... do not lean on my memory for important pantry and medical items.

I had been asked (and forgot to answer) about how I stock up on medical supplies.  Obviously, I'm still learning on that one!

However, I can share what I've learned so far.  I have been able to stock up a bit over time.  If you are Type 1 diabetic, you know going without the short term insulin for even one meal is dangerous.  I ended up in intensive care about eight years ago when I missed one shot before a meal (granted, it was what my doctor called "a perfect storm" of circumstances).

At one time, I know you could purchase HumaLog (or NovaLog?) at Wal Mart without a prescription.  If your insurance company does not allow any "stocking up", it may be worth asking if you can purchase extra vials with your own money.  It tends to cost far less than the long term insulin.

Write down those essential prescriptions your family members take and see about having at least one extra at all times (including those you may not use all the time such as inhalers and epinephrine for life threatening allergies).

Talk to your pharmacist about the availability of stocking up on your prescriptions (although if there is a long line of people waiting for prescriptions , it is not the time for this conversation).

This is a reason I have stayed with my former pharmacy even after moving to another part of the County seven years ago.  A good relationship with my pharmacists is as important to me as my doctor.

I used to run out of my long term insulin every ten days since being a "brittle" diabetic,  I use far more than the average patient.  I talked to my pharmacist about it and she said to have my doctor rewrite my prescription for three boxes at a time instead of only two.

That has helped a great deal, requiring only one trip to the pharmacy every three weeks.  My doctor was very willing to help me save time and gas money and my insurance plan allowed it.

It was my pharmacist who told me I could ask for three months of my generic thyroid medicine at once.  It not only let me "stock up" a bit but it was cheaper.   Since it is another medicine I must take, it has been great being able to purchase larger amounts.

If your prescription is a controlled substance that you much sign for (such as Christopher's allergy medicine he once took), it will be harder to stock up.  Talk to your doctor or nurse practitioner to see if there is any way to have one extra prescription put back at all times.  There are some medications you should never stop suddenly and having a backup is very important.

Always purchase your prescription "medicines" as soon as allowed each time by your insurance company, even if you have some of the medicine left.  That often allows you to slowly expand your supply over time.

Non-Prescription Medicine and First Aid

Of course, if your medical needs include those items which can be purchased without prescription, all you need to do is make a list and stock up over time as your budget allows. 

As with any pantry item, make certain to rotate (using the oldest "Use By" date first) as medications can have a short shelf life. 

Making a list is essential (ask me how I know) to prioritizing purchases.  This is an area where I found other people's lists very helpful to jog my memory.  Also, their experience can keep me from making a similar mistake, such as not having scissors in my First Aid kit when I need to cut tape.

Other people's experiences can also help in the "what if's" of First Aid.  For instance, you may not use Benedryl (or a store brand of Benedryl) but it is an item to consider keeping on your shelves should it be needed for a bee sting or other mild allergic reaction.  This is the kind of information you will find in your reading and research.

I have found putting together my own first aid kit is far superior (and in the end, cheaper) than buying a pre-made "kit" at the store.   Should there ever be a true emergency, the kits I've seen wouldn't help very much.  Everything I need fits in a plastic shoe box size container.

I don't have the budget for as deep a first aid kit as I once kept but I do have on hand essential items.   A really good First Aid book is a necessity but taking a First Aid class is even better.

Should you have anyone with a serious illness in your family, every member of the household should know what to do in an emergency and what symptoms to be aware of which could indicate a medical condition needing immediate attention.

Such knowledge also reminds others in the house to ask before taking snacks from your purse, backpack, etc. You know there is a diabetic in the house if there are "emergency juice and gummy bears".  Just saying...  ;)

The Cold and Flu Pantry

I've written about this before but simply put... keep a separate area (or Rubbermaid style container) in which you have placed "extra" items for cold and flu symptoms will prove a lifesaver should when cold and flu symptoms invade your home.

While the items are individual to each home, my own include:  crackers, canned soup, candied ginger, ginger ale or other lemon lime soda (regular and sugar free), juice, boxes of tissues, Throat Coat tea, etc.

I keep cold medicines, Vick's Salve, cough drops, etc. on shelves in the main bathroom.

Final Thoughts

I usually tend to be an optimistic person but I've found when it comes to anything having to do with the subject of this week's Pantry Suggestions...

Hope for the best but prepare for the worst.

These are just a few ponderings about medical preparations, entire books can (and have) beeen written on the subject.  As with any "pantry", it will be as deep as your desire to take care of it and your budget will allow.  

I'm sure there are those who feel led by God to take further training and keep supplies on hand to be of great medical assistance if necessary.

Picture:  Books such as Where There is No Doctor can be very helpful in an emergency.


Deanna Rabe - Creekside Cottage Blog said...

I have a 3 ring binder that came with a "field medicine" course when Tim and I were with a mission. We were prepared for what to do not only in emergencies, but how to diagnose simple illnesses too. I am thankful for that preparation.

There are some items that we need to stock back up on for our first aid kit - but I'd also like to encourage people to learn about medicinal herbs and such for thinks such as bee stings, and insect bites, etc...


Vee said...

After losing two doctors in two years (they both quit...not moved on...quit), I'm seriously considering such a book. Could it even come to that right in our own communities and not out in some third world country? I'm thinking so. I'd agree with Mrs. Rabe and say that learning more about healthful herbs is great. We wouldn't be without a number of them in our household nor would we be without things such as hydrogen peroxide, Thieves or Echinacea. You always have great advice.

Oh, you didn't say, but why is the sugar from sugar beets preferable. I know it must be or you'd not delay in getting some.

Judy said...

Just a thought - for anyone wanting to brush up on their First Aid Training, if it has been a while - there are some free youtube videos on emergency things like mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, tying a sling..etc.
As always I enjoyed reading this - thank you for generously sharing your practicality about daily life.

Heather Anne said...

Great tip Brenda! I have often wondered why our doctor will not allow me to stock up on Synthroid since my prescription has not changed in years, but now I know - I should ask the pharmacist! It would save a little on the filling fee too I'm sure! I feel lousy when I run out of my meds, so I usually have some tucked away, but like you I rely on my poor memory far too often.

Anonymous said...

In our household we have some medical issues so we try to follow a 'seven day rule.' That is we try to always have seven days worth of any essential medications on hand.

It's easy to say 'we'll get it tomorrow' but sometimes tomorrow there is a snowstorm or the drugstore has run out of it or-whatever.

Anonymous said...

I wonder why you prefer the sugar beets as opposed to cane sugar. My understanding is that beet sugar is genetically modified whereas cane sugar is not.

Anonymous said...

Health care is one area I pay close attention to as both my husband and oldest daughter have multiple health problems. And we have learned that traditional medicine does not always have an answer, and sometimes what they want to give you is not the right choice for us.

A month ago I had a serious allergic reaction to micro fleece. A very hot, red, itchy rash that started on my ankles and was spreading fast. I panicked because I'd had a similar rash about 20 years ago and it was more than three months before I stopped itching. So we went to the ER at my family doctors suggestion. The ER doctor "thought' it was a non-specific dermatitis. The only thing they could offer to stop it was a steroid which causes me to have extreme anxiety. Suffering with anxiety side effects for months was not something I was willing to do.

I was introduced to homeopathy several years ago and have been using it to treat a lot of our everyday health problems, everything from my asthma to colds to arthritis. So I went home & tried the homeopathic remedy that fit my symptoms, but it didn't completely stop it, just slowed it down so I called my homeopathic doctor who gave me the same remedy, but at a faster speed(every five minutes instead of every fifteen) . The rash stopped in minutes. I then figured out what remedy to take to stop the itching and the heat in the rash(my face was so red and hot it was melting ice). Both remedies worked in minutes.

There are a lot of good books for home use to diagnose health problems and choose the correct remedy. Homeopathic remedies are inexpensive (around $7 for a vial of one hundred pellets) and they are very easy to use and...they never expire! Homeopathy works well and fast. If you have existing serious health problem you need to see a homeopathic professional for advice on treating your health problems to start with so you how what you can and cannot safely take.

My homeopathic doctor is teaching a class in homeopathy and I have already signed up to take it. With the way the world is going now days its wise for each of us to learn as much as we can about caring for our own health.

Thank you Brenda for time you take to encourage us with your posts. May God bless you, Marsha

Little Birdie Blessings said...

Brenda, this is great advice. I am a type II diabetic who is insulin dependent. I've run into problems before with insulin and other medications. It is very important to be well stocked. I recently ran into a communication problem getting an rx refilled because of a lack of communication in my drs. office. At any rate, preparedness is always best. Thanks for reinforcement to do so. ~ Abby