Some Medical Considerations, by Old Bobbert

Hi James, 
Sometimes the easy solution to a serious medical supply problem is hidden right in front of us. I am and adult-onset Type 2 insulin-dependent diabetic prepper. My life depends on a regular and continuous supply of medicines.

What will I do when all of the available test strips for my “Accu-chek” Aviva blood tester strips are out of date and will not function in my Veterans Administration-supplied tester?

In the military we were taught that the winners  learn to adapt, overcome, and improvise. After the military, as a self- employed father of four, I learned another  basic rule of success in difficult times, for dealing with dangerous events, and for most important activities. When I see that I have a serious problem, and I am not winning, I change the rules! This is not all that complicated.

When my glucose test strips are out of date for my Veterans Administration (VA) supplied tester, I simply change the date in the tester itself. 12-12-2012 becomes 12-12-2011, or what ever past date will allow the tester to only see a test strip that is not out of date. 

I lie to my tester about the date. My tester  knows that I am a nice guy, and it always believes me, and uses the out of date strips.

An additional small piece of knowledge, which can be extremely valuable to  folks like myself, is the real time facts about refrigeration of insulin. Most refrigerators cool the contents to 37-38 degrees F and that is  below the recommended safe temperature range of 60 – 86 for insulin. Our home is well insulated and I keep the current usage insulin bottles on top of my desk with full confidence that it is safe to use because our inside house temperature stays at about 65 – 70 F all year. One bottle of insulin lasts me about 9 days.  from the Internet concerning insulin temperature safety:

  It is usually okay to keep a bottle of insulin you are using at room temperature for up to 28 days provided  the room temperature is 59º to 86º F. 

We live in the high desert in the southwest and of course there are seasonal summer days of 100 plus degree outdoor temperatures. For cooling in the event of a serious power outage,  we have pre-positioned the materials for our Zeer Pot Fridge, in our garage.  For full written and picture instructions on construction and usage just doe web search on the phrase “zeer pot fridge” and you will be in the cooling stuff business. Just don’t wait until the power goes out to search for instructions. Although we have not yet needed it, we have tested it. We  feel very safe knowing it does work and  having the required materials needed on hand. 

A Zeer Pot is is a zero electrical power evaporative cooler that will take most items from 95 degrees down to 35 degrees in about 12 hours. Fresh vegetables will actually stay fresh for about 7 – 10 days.  It is simply two inexpensive large clay pots with a smaller one inside a larger pot. They are separated by a thick, about 2 inches, layer of very fine ground sand. Just pour water slowly into the sand until the sand is fully saturated with the water, then put your item to be cooled into the smaller pot and cover the 2 pots with a damp cloth . The evaporation process will cool the contents very nicely. Just keep the sand and the cover wet!

Now let us talk about paying for our preparedness stuff. We have been able to partially fund our prepper medical supplies thru my status as a VA-enrolled veteran. I took my private non VA doctors medicine prescriptions into my VA primary care doctor.  

The VA doctor then wrote new VA scrips for the meds and filled them for me at little or no cost to us. There’s a maximum $8 co-pay for “some” higher income  vets. This co-pay varies with the specific county a vet lives in. Google and search the site for co-pay information.

I do not get our less-expensive OTC medical items from the VA because the congressional funding for VA is never enough. Lets not even think about politics and funding for our vets health care. Forget what the military recruiters said about lifetime free health care. They actually believed that line themselves. They are not getting free care either. Additionally when we can afford to get both the VA meds and the non-VA meds, I have been able to buy some extras to build up a medicine reserve supply. 

I also have to deal with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which is very serious and often very dangerous. For respiratory emergency quick relief, which is usually 3-4 times daily, I use an albuteral inhaler. The VA  sends them to me monthly at no cost to me. And we do appreciate the VA care I get!

For the all important reserve supply, I use an (S)albuteral puffer.  These inhalers are inexpensive and area available from India. Before I made my first overseas purchase, I did my regular safety research and  talked to my non-VA doctor about the Indian supplied medicines.  He did not have a problem in any way.  I do try to remember to rotate my medical supplies so as to use the oldest first. I tested their service with a single stand-by box of 15 inhalers I purchased from an Indian pharmacy that were manufactured in Australia by Smith-Glaxo-Kline, a huge company. My cost, to include their standard $25 shipping, for 15 inhalers,  was $77.50. The inhalers themselves cost were $3.50 each. That bought me a full one year supply

About ten years ago at Costco my inhalers cost about $4.50 each.  With the federally required new propellants, these inhalers locally now cost about $45 each without insurance, and about $10 each with insurance, provided you have a written prescription. There is no requirement for a prescription by  the overseas vendors. There are many Indian pharmacies available and I have had good results doing business with This Indian company supplied inhalers use the same  FDA-required type propellants as do the American-supplied inhalers. 

The small shipping box was plainly marked as a personal health product not for resale. Nothing was hidden and everything about the medicine contents was completely honest and open. It came through our Customs cleanly with no import costs and then passed through our U.S. Postal system with zero complications or delays. 

I now have an ample 2++ years reserve inhaler supply on hand.  We also have great peace of mind and enough meds to be able to share with others if it should become necessary. We believe that we do not have enough for ourselves unless we have enough to give some to the needy, those who are truly not able to help themselves.

We have been taught many important lessons of preparedness and frugality by the many entries published in your blog site and by the many friends with who we have spent countless  hours talking about current event and how best to be ready for whatever may come our way. We are very fortunate to have a terrific relationship with our close neighbor the world’s best veterinarian who smiled and handed me a thick catalog of everything that might ever be used in his clinic. To this very day I have an icon of that web site on my Mac computer startup screen.  There are a great many good veterinary supply sources available through the Internet. Google is a great way to search, but it really doesn’t matter which search engine someone uses. 

We have used the Internet to obtain most of our preparedness supplies and my sweet wife even bought some medical scrubs to do her gardening chores. They were on close out sale at 99 cents per item.

Another great buy was FISH MOX FORTE (Amoxicillin 500 mg ) @ 100 tablets for $27.96.

It is very important to maintain a low profile in situations where a person is planning to acquire animal medications for possible disaster times usage. Try to be sure before you bring up these topics that the person you are going to ask for help in your buying activities will not be likely to say no and never forget that you asked.  It may be best to wait until you are at the veterinarian for a regular pet care visit and ask about backup pet meds in cause there is another serious power outage. Just start the topic and then wait for the veterinarian’s response .

You will be able to gauge the veterinarian’s prepper status easily. You will benefit greatly from a diligent web search of information concerning the use and availability of pet medications and vet clinic supplies that are readily available through the internet.

Support the troops coming home from these very difficult multiple deployments. They are usually in bad shape emotionally. The stats are frightening. The Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) rate is 41%. The marriage breakup rate is 80%. And 15% of our “combat” returnees are female. These fabulous women fly our planes and drive our trucks and live in harm’s way every day. We have the finest military force this nation has ever fielded. Better educated. Better motivated. Better trained. They are our best. I am proud to be a veteran of our military. I am proud of my American Legion brothers and sisters. I am proud to be the grandfather of a infantry grandson.