Thoughts of a diabetic patient: Guest post by @ninjabetic1

One of the things that worries me about my diabetes is that people don’t need to help me, they don’t need to look after me. I have to do it for myself to survive, but others do it because it’s their job.


Putting my diabetes in the hands of others and learning to trust them has always been tough for me. I’ve had a lot of bad experiences when it comes to my health due to my own choices, but now I’m turning a corner and I need others to help me do that.


Over the last few months I haven’t had good experiences when it comes to getting the diabetes supplies that I need. Since March this year on 9 occasions I’ve popped into my pharmacy to pick up insulin, test strips and needles to find that my prescriptions either haven’t been brought over from my doctors surgery, haven’t been signed for by my GP or have been queried by my GP.


This means that on 9 occasions I’ve had a plummeting feeling in my stomach as I’m told that my life lines aren’t available to me like they should be. On 9 occasions the pharmacy staff have taken charge and gone out of their way to help me get those supplies which I depend on every day.


I cannot fault the service that I receive from the pharmacy, and I really feel for the staff when I ask for my prescription only to be told that there has been another error made from the surgeries end. They see my face fall and panic set in as I’m told that the medication which keeps me alive is being withheld. They saw me burst into tears when I was told yet again that my insulin wasn’t there and had to ask if I had enough to keep me going me over the weekend. They’ve given me emergency supplies, made phone calls, given me advice and support whenever these errors have been made.


I’ve started to dread going to pick up my treatment because I never know if it will be there for me or not. I’ve complained to my surgery every time that it has happened and these mistakes are still being repeated again and again. I’ve been left feeling that having diabetes is too much work for others, that the reason there are errors with my prescriptions is because others simply don’t need to help me. I feel that I’m trying so hard to turn a corner but I’m constantly hitting a brick wall and being let down. I’m starting to lose any trust that I’ve built up in those people who are paid to help me. The only suggestion that I can think to make is that more communication is needed between the pharmacy and the doctors surgery, however the pharmacy staff have made this clear to them on a number of occasions.


I know that I’m very lucky to have great support from the pharmacy staff… if I didn’t have them then I hate to think where I would be. I’m grateful that they don’t just see their work as a job, and that they truly want to help me turn the corner




6 thoughts on “Thoughts of a diabetic patient: Guest post by @ninjabetic1

  1. Have you thought of just changing GP? a lot of hassle at first I’d imagine but possibly worth it longterm – I know exactly how you feel. I have complications with my diabetes and I feel like the hospital think the GP are dealing with it and like the GP thinks the hospital are dealing with it while I’m actually getting no help at all really and when I raise it they seem to not be fussed and carry on their attitude of its someone else’s problem and both have referred me to see diabetes nurses which have always ignored and lied to me so that’s no help at all. I’m thinking of changing but kinda scared that it’ll just be the same or worse with the new choice(s) not even knowing me at all and having less reason to care

  2. I know that feeling, that lurch in your stomach, when you get to the pharmacy and find that your much needed supplies aren’t there. My heart skips a beat and I start doing quick mental calculations as to how many strips I have and how many days they will last before real panic and problems set in, the scary feeling of being out of control. For me, the problems we’re also communications between GP and pharmacy. Repeat prescriptions not there, not allowed the amount that I had asked for etc. Generally for me the problems were with the Pharmacy, often poor excuses as to why script wasn’t ready or lies as to whether it had been received. I now pick up my script from the GP and go to pharmacy to collect. I feel more in control this way. Unfortunately, I still have problems. Sometimes little or no supplies in stock, strips or insulin vials. I find this hard to accept. Usually, stocks can be in for the next day, so only a problem at weekends, or if I have let my supplies run down too far. The staff do now understand my concerns about my lifelines and when they can they help, sometimes even ‘borrowing’ from someone else’s script. I hate to moan but I hate being out of control of my own care. Sorry for the rant.

  3. I’ve always found the need to renew scripts and the reliance on ‘the system’ to be one of the most disarming features. As you say, we have little control over the process and doctors/pharmacists are human and can forget or have a bad day, same as us. Except we need it to live and are discouraged from building up reserve supplies.
    You could, if you’re able, write to the PCT and explain the situation (possibly with the pharmacist’s help) and they may be able to audit the GP’s processes and find out what’s going wrong. If they’re doing it to you, they must be doing it to others. Perhaps they need to be reminded of their responsibility.

  4. good blog. As a diabetic I have had so many good encounters with pharmacists who are perhaps unsung heros in healthcare. The local pharmacists are always going out of their way to help patients and they are proactive and helpful.

    As a diabetic I’ve encountered many of the problems you recount, and have found that the best thing to do is to take charge of coordinating your own healthcare.
    – Pick up the prescription yourself and drop it to the pharmacist so that you know it has been done.
    – Check the prescription yourself for errors or omissions.
    – Order your prescriptions way in advance so that you always have a buffer of medication should you encounter problems.

    The problem is for people who are elderly, immobile or otherwise incapacitated, it can be hard to coordinate your own healthcare.

  5. With hypothyroidism, I know within hours whether I’ve remembered or forgotten my dose for the day.

    As a pharmacist, I’d been able to purchase the year’s supply at the hospital where I work and not had to worry about refills for a year. Now that the hospital no longer has the retail license to fill prescriptions ‘for its own’, I rely heavily on my local 24 hour shop.

    I have found that they are well-aware of a certain scattered mind about keeping track of adequate supply. At first, I let the bottle run out on a Thursday before a four-day holiday as well as a message from the physician that I needed a thyroid-stimulating hormone level pronto. My doctor works Monday through Thursday and I faced the thought of remaining sharp enough to get myself to two jobs 200 miles away each day and remain sharp enough to avoid misfills, irregular unprofessional behaviors, and chaos. (‘Borrowing from inventory’ is NEVER an option!) But, my pharmacy was kind enough to provide a five day supply as well as contact the physician on the following Monday to obtain drug. I was eternally grateful for that small but essential act.

    In order to avoid that for future, I call the shop a week in advance to let them know I’ll be needing a refill. I can leave a message any time day or night on their phone answering service feature. I try to pick up the refills within several notices that their ready, otherwise the script is returned to stock so that they can properly process the insurance coverage.

    I have a dog that gets 2 units of long-acting insulin twice a day, and the drugstore has been equally helpful with supplies–the long-enough needles since she is very hairy, but highest gauge possible so that she only feels a ‘mosquito’ bite, drugs, and arranging for a discount since the little pooch is ineligible for insurance coverage.

    Blindness was the first manifestation of her chronic illness. One time when I was taking her for her evening walk, on our return to the house I noticed her seeming to stare at the lamp outside the front door as she waited for me to open the door. I thought she was looking for moths flying around it, but was puzzled since I didn’t see any. Apparently She couldn’t see the door and was off a few inches from doorway which was why her eyes were turned to the lamp instead of the doorknob.

    It is very traumatic to observe the signs of low- or high-blood glucose in a beloved and caring caretaker companion; the hypoglycemia and doggie seizures, hyperglycemia and constantly having to drink and pee (sometimes the fluid goes through her so quickly she cannot control the time it takes to get outside to do her duty, and she is so apologetic when that happens, but she cannot open the door herself) to timely urinary elimination.

    This is an insider’s view, of course, but I am glad for my local personable pharmacy.

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