Sunday, February 19, 2017

Tips From This Spoonie: Medications

If you too are a spoonie, you probably have one of these.  In this pill organizer is a collection of prescriptions and supplements that have been prescribed by my Neurologist and Functional Medicine doctor.  I was diagnosed with MS over 21 years ago, and am mostly doing well.  Besides the medications, I follow a healthy diet and do my best to stay fit and reduce stress, which is the most devastating thing for disease activity.

The pill organizer is great for quickly sorting pills when I'm at home, but when I travel, the compartments are prone to pop open, so I use ziplock baggies instead.  With a sharpie, I label the AM piles.  I used to do AM and PM but my vision has gotten much worse so if I only write on one pile of baggies, it's easier for me to tell them apart.

Insurance has recently stopped paying for one of the injectables I've been taking for 17 years now, copaxone, because a generic has become available:  glatopa.  I did the research and I find that the ingredients are the same, and it's covered, so I switched.

I don't like the accessories that came with the glatopa -- specifically the "glatopaject"  which is a brutal, bruising version of the autoject I used to use with copaxone.  It's like being punched in the gut with a fist holding a needle.  The glass glatopa syringe appeared to be the same circumference as the copaxone, so I experimented and popped it into my old tried and true autoject.  It worked like a charm, so I trashed the glatopaject torture device.  This is a photo of the autoject I've been using for years.  It is a great little gadget for taking the psychology out of daily injections.  You just load the syringe and push a button.  It makes needles as palatable as they can be, and I'm grateful for it.

My other injectable, B12, is compounded and I use a 1-inch needle to administer it intramuscularly, and there's no autoject for that, but it's great medicine and only once a week, so I do it.
This stiff-walled case, made by copaxone, makes more sense than the soft little duffel glatopa sent me, which is being used as an excellent lunchbox now.  The syringes are prefilled and made of glass.  If there is a way to avoid catastrophe, why not?
About 10 syringes will fit in the pocket, along with the autoject and a nifty little gadget that's my latest favorite thing for travelling with needles:
The needle nipper!  This tiny little thing makes safely disposing of sharps easy.  After using the syringe, you insert the needle into this little hole, and then squeeze the sides together.  The needle is cut off the syringe and remains inside the gadget.  The needleless syringe can then go in any trash can.  In days of yore, a plastic flat baby wipes container with a rubber band to keep it closed was my best bet to travel with used sharps safely.  I needed something that large to bring the whole syringes back home to my sharps container.  This little gadget is a game changer.

Incidentally, over the 18-odd years I've been travelling with sharp objects, I've only been stopped once going through security.  I was leaving Nicaragua for the U.S. with a bunch of used needles.  I offered to hand them over, but explained that I was planning on safely disposing of them at home.  They let me proceed with my sharps.  I've travelled often, and it's a bit alarming that my filled syringes and paraphernalia are clearly visible by x-ray, but I don't get so much as a second look.  Also, it's fine for me to fly with 18-inch metal knitting needles.  You'd better not bring your nail clippers, though!

But I digresse -- if any other spoonies out there have tips or ideas that make life easier, I'd love to hear!

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