This past weekend, I decided to do a large-scale bathroom and bedroom purge. And it was scary.
Not just because I hadn’t cleaned out my Rubbermaid bathroom storage drawers in something like 9 years, and not just because I discovered that they held untold varieties of rancid lip gloss and crumbling pieces of Target jewelry. No, the scariest part of the project was this realization: when it comes to diabetes supplies and products, I am a full-on hoarder.
I’m no psychologist, but I’ve watched enough episodes of A&E’s Hoarders to recognize that I have a problem — and the thought patterns that contribute to the issue. The way some hoarders collect bottle caps and empty plastic bags, I’ve been stockpiling pump reservoirs with just a little teeny bit of insulin left inside each one. And I know that my reasons for saving these reservoirs are similar to the reason a real hoarder might save, say, a bottle of glue that’s almost completely empty. “I can use this someday!” I think to myself. And then I toss the reservoir into a drawer with my dental floss and safety pins and half-used containers of hand sanitizer.
You can’t really blame me, though. For the past 20 years, I’ve needed insulin at virtually every moment of my life just to survive. All it takes is the realization that I’m running low on the stuff to send me into a fit of anxiety. Insulin is expensive junk (there’s no generic option available), and there are countless diabetics around the world who suffer because they don’t have convenient access to it. These are the thoughts that spring to mind when it’s time put in a new reservoir, and I see 15 mL of Humalog left at the end of my old one. So, I save the reservoir — and the few drops of insulin inside it — just in case. Of something.
But that’s not all. I also took stock of the following diabetes treasures:
- No fewer than 9 used syringes of varying ages and sizes, all of which I disposed of in my homemade sharps container
- Several dozen stray individually wrapped alcohol swabs and Skin Prep wipes, all of which I kept
- About 10 of those little snappy caps that insulin vials come with, in Humalog’s trademark maroon and the old-school orange colors
- A bunch of used infusion set needles from my current pump
- Needles from my 508 pump infusion sets
- The 508 pump itself, and the little tiny brush that you’re supposed to use to clean the insulin gunk off of the pump’s screw
- More fresh lancets than stars in the sky (See Holly’s post re: the rare event of lancet changing)
It’s almost enough to open very own treatment museum. Thankfully, no flattened cats or raccoon carcasses were uncovered during the project.
The supplies I’ve got stocked away in the spare bedroom are a different story. Most of them I need and just haven’t used yet. But there are several boxes of reservoirs I never got around to using in my first Minimed pump, and now they’re obsolete. They’re probably expired, too, but they were very expensive. And now? I don’t know what to do with them.
Can I donate them somewhere? Have them incinerated? Tie them to a helium balloon and send them into the Florida sunset? Do I need a therapist and a professional organizer to stop by the house, so they can encourage me to explore my anxieties as I carry the boxes of overpriced plastic tubing out to the dumpster?
In any event, I’m proud to say that — at least for the time being — my supplies are in a state of semi-organization. I know what I have, what I need, and where it’s all located. Most of the used test strips are in test strip heaven, hanging out with their dried-out alcohol swab and adhesive backing friends.
That’s not to say that the bathroom cupboards are completely bare, however. There’s still plenty of girlie product left to clutter up the drawers and shelves — but all of that just helps to make me feel a little more normal.