Today began early: I was at the regional hospital at 6.30 to join the queues to collect Mma's 2-month supply of chronic meds. The nurses offered a lecture on the management of cholesterol and diabetes. We also had a question and answer session.
I was sitting next to two women who've had the condition for a while. One woman has had diabetes for 17 years, so she was happy to also share some tried and tested tips. Another woman just received a book called Dr Bernsteins Diabetes Solution as a gift from her sister who's based in Australia. The book seemed to have a lot of useful information, so I'm going to see if I can buy from Exclusive Books when I'm next in Joburg, or order an ebook version from Amazon.
The pharmacy portion of the trip didn't go so well though. The hospital was short of insulin pens and while they did have the insulin in bottles, the pharmacist only gave me a few needs.
When I complained that the needles were not enough, she suggested that I use each needle until the sharp end becomes blunt (I'll tell when injection becomes painful, she said).
Nope! I'm not joking. She actually said that. I pointed out that needles must never be used more than once and there is a warning label on the needles saying exactly that. Her explanation is that since I use the needle on just one person, mutliple use is unlikely to transport infections from one person to another.I decided not to argume and just buy more needles from a commercial pharmacy. But it also made me wonder what other people who don't have the money to buy their own needles have to do. BTW, it also struck me that needles don't seem to be a regulated commodity. Basically, I can walk into a pharmacy and buy a bunch of them and so far, no one has asked me what I plan to do with them. Maybe that's how drug users can get them?