Until I was given insulin, I never fully understood how powerful drugs could be.
I had walked into the endocrinologist’s office carrying a bottle of water I needed to refill every 15 minutes which coincided with how frequently I needed to find a loo so I could pee. I could barely see – I was always squinting, trying to focus the constant blur through half-open eyes.
That evening, I was given my first insulin injection. And the following day, I learnt how to do it myself.
Within 24 hours, the thirst had gone as had the need to constantly ‘mark my territory’. My vision was already starting to return to normal. The lethargy that had crept over me for the previous week was lifting and I wasn’t falling asleep every time I sat down.
My body, which the day before had been slowly, painfully, dying, came back to life.
I was given a prescription for a couple of different sorts of insulin and got them filled at our local pharmacy. I was given a list of things to buy and I walked into Diabetes Australia and bought them. Both these purchases were heavily subsidised by our Government.
And over the last almost-seventeen years, every time I’ve needed insulin, or strips, or pump consumables or anything else to do with diabetes, it has been as simple as that – a phone call, a pop into a shop or even, a mail delivery.
This is what living with diabetes in a developed country looks like.
It’s not perfect; some people struggle to cover costs despite the subsidies, but insulin is available, consumables are available. And there is assistance to help people as much as possible.
Around there world, there are many places where this is not the case.
I have written about Spare a Rose, Save a Child many, many times over recent months, and I am doing it again today. Because we can do something to address the need for diabetes medicines and supplies in places where access is difficult – and sometimes almost non-existent.
We don’t need to feel guilty about having easy access to insulin and diabetes supplies – that’s not the aim of this campaign. All we are doing is acknowledging that there are places in the world where it is not as simple to access what is needed to manage diabetes, and that we can do something to help level the playing field.