I was away from my house and when I was at an event I looked for my insulin in my bag but I forgot it. I was about 1 hour 20 mins away from my house and I had high sugar at 300. I went to a CVS and the pharmacy was open but they wouldn't give me any insulin, even though I told them I felt really sick and my blood sugar was 300. Then I called an ambulance because I was feeling so bad, they told me they didn't have any insulin in the ambulance so they couldn't do anything for me. I had to go to the closest emergency room and they made me fill out a lot of paper work and kept asking me a lot of questions that took forever even though I told them I need insulin fast because I am feeling really sick and bad. When I finally talked to the doctor he said they didn't have any insulin only humulin! In an emergency can CVS or another drug store give you the insulin you need from the pharmacy without a prescription? It seems like someone could die if they wouldn't give them insulin in an emergency, I sure felt like I was about to pass out and my head and jaw was so tight I could barely open my mouth. I was so mad and frustrated, mostly really mad at myself and it ruined my family's night. I sometimes wonder whats wrong with me.
Im wondering if it were truly an "emergency room" or one of those doc in a box places. LOL you know 24 hour free standing urgent care facilities. In those types of places I could imagine their supplies of insulin "might" be limited. But definately not in an ER in a hospital. Even if they didnt have that particular insulin in their medication drawers in the ER, they can request it from pharmacy, or even another department. When I worked in the hospital on a progressive care unit, I didnt have a medication that I needed, but the ICU deparment did. I was able to go up to ICU and they pulled the medication I needed from their department.
And even walking into an ER department to be seen I have never had to fill out much paperwork, like you said its mostly showing them your insurance card, drivers lic, and signing a form to consent for treatment...and then the LONG wait to be seen.
i would imagine even they would have insulin...and/or transport someone to ER to get insulin...something about this doesn't seem right, just sayin'?
Well doc in the box even if they only had like R insulin...they could have written a prescription for what you needed. I think to not knowing where exactly this happened at, the size of the town/city. My only thought about like free standing urgent care centers not having stuff like humalog, or novalog, apidra etc...is they are expensive insulins, that generally once opened have an expiration date of about a month. Cost wise for a free standing urgent care facility, it might be cheaper to just have R insulin in stock. R is what is used when you do an Insulin drip. For a free standing facility it would serve their purposes in a cost efficient manner. I just dont get why if they couldnt administer humalog or something like that, then as long as she wasn't "critical" They should have administered the R insulin...in an IV monitored her to make sure her BS was coming down, and write her a script for what she uses, esp if she wasnt going to be near home anytime soon. That would have while not ideal would have been the easiest way of treating this. Get the BS coming down, and then a script for what she needed.
Nothings wrong with you Tony. Shit happens. Learn from it. We just need to be better prepared than non diabetes when we leave the house.
Here are a few ideas if you find yourself in that situation again:
1. I agree with what several others suggested. Call your Dr on an emergency basis. Explain the situation and get him (or whoever is covering for him/her to phone in a script to the CVS pharmacy for insulin and needles while you wait. This would have been your first and best option. Before I went on the pump, I took injections. I went on a trip and had my insulin, but forgot the needles. I was in a state where they require scripts for needles so my Dr phoned it in while I waited.
2. Another option, if you have some insulin on board, is to do aerobic exercise for 20 minutes or more until you check your BG and see it coming down towards the normal range. Keep going as long as it is working. Do jumping jacks, simulate jumping rope in place, run in place or jog a block back and forth, etc. Drink water when you are done since hydration seems to help bringing down BG levels. Do not do fast burst exercise like wind sprints, etc because this will have the opposite effect and raise your BG due to the adrenaline kicking in. Some people may not agree with exercising while your BGs are high, but under the circumstances I would do it.
3. Since you said you were at an event, it may have been worth going to the event coordinator / medical tent and ask them to help you find other diabetics. Perhaps they could have made an announcement asking if there were any diabetics there who could help out a fellow diabetic with medical supplies. This is a long shot, but considering you were in a jam it may have helped.
Just FYI. Don't exercise with BG over 240. This can send you into DKA.
After hours, I think my endo's VM says "if this is an emergency, call 911..." and the whole emergency medical system is set up pretty much uselessly for diabetes..."were you eaten by a dog or shot? no? Ok, wait over there..." wheras it would really take a doc about 30 seconds to scribble an RX and get you out of there but they aren't inclined to provide that level of service.
But they should be. It would help us a lot and, frankly, it would also help them. When my pump blew up I was like "hmmm, spend 1-3 hours sitting around the ER to get an RX or continue planned weekend adventures and get some NPH to cover it..." which worked out ok. Not my best weekend ever but we still had a good time, priority #1!
all physician's after hours offices say that, "if emergency call 911." but most Endos also have a doc on call, which one can call at all hours, they're typically paged. i've had to do it on the weekend one time and endo called me back 5 minutes later and advised what to do with insulin, etc...
i can't imagine going to an ER and being turned away saying we don't have the right insulin...an ER doesn't turn patients away, not in the US, and they have any/all drugs available to them at any time...!
'When I finally talked to the doctor he said they didn't have any insulin only humulin!' Humulin is a type of insulin....this would have worked for you. Were you asking for a specific type of insulin that maybe they were saying they didn't have?
Some hospitals do only have NPH and Humulin R on hand in the ER. These are less expensive insulins, and are also older and I quite frankly think some doctors are just more comfortable with them than with the newer insulins. I've been hospitalized before and asked that I use my normal NovoLog. I had to have a new script written and submitted to the hospital pharmacy before the insulin would be brought to me and I was allowed to have 'my' kind of insulin. Even then they wouldn't give me Lantus, because the pharmacy in the hospital didn't stock it at all - I had to be given NPH. And this was at a major hospital associated with a medical college of an entire state...
I agree with others who said that the EMTs probably couldn't administer insulin to you. They don't carry a pharmacy on them, and probably didn't have any on hand. They likely have Glucagon...but not insulin. Even then, they'd wait until a doctor examined you because they don't know your dosage and wouldn't want to be accountable for killing you by too much insulin. I've been in severe DKA (unconscious, slipping in a coma), and even then was not given insulin until I was brought to the ER. The EMTs were only allowed to give me oxygen and start an IV line on the way to the hospital. They knew my blood sugar was sky high, because they tested....but couldn't do anything about it.
Yes I've been given Glucagon by EMT before being transported to the ER for hypoglycemia along with an IV and also I've been transported to an ER for darn near DKA and was just given O2 along with Normal Saline until I got to the ER and was examined by the Dr there, EMT's usually have "cardiac" drugs for resessitation...but even then in those cases there is a very strict protocol they follow in cases of cardiac arrest and they are always in consult with an emergency physician about what they have given and how much.
Usually it has to be dire need, or a true emergency where it is a life or death decision before an EMT is allowed to provide a drug - and even then it usually has to be done by doctors orders over the radio. High blood sugar, while not good, is not usually life or death and they'd have time to get you to a hospital. They would keep glucagon on hand for those situations where your blood sugar is too low because that is more dangerous than riding high for a short period of time.
The EMT's job is just to keep you alive long enough to get you to the doctors in the hospital, not a full service treatment center on wheels. It'd be extremely rare that an ambulance would give drugs and then release a patient without taking them to the hospital - I don't think I've ever seen it happen.