Monthly Med Switch-Out

On the first day of the month an alarm goes off on my phone:


Time to replace the Humalog and Lantus!

I feel conflicted because I hate that we waste so much every month but I am grateful our insurance covers not one, but two bottles of Humalog. – One for home and one to keep in the clinic at school.  On a “bad” day, he’d use maybe 10 units of Humalog.  If a bottle  of Lantus holds 1000u and Ian, at most, has used 255 units in a one month…what a waste!

When I think about school last spring, he was using maybe 1.5 units a school day.  That vial still had 950+ units when we threw it out at the end of the month.

Of course, during June, July, and August I am able to stock pile the Humalog which gives me some comfort in case there was an emergency.  I also keep the used bottles for one month in a baggie in the fridge, in the event something catastrophic would happen I’d at least have some insulin on hand.

I also feel conflicted because I am not really sure that we MUST trash the meds after 28 days. I usually  go a day or two over, because I like to be consistent and switch on the 1st of the month.  The box says we should discard it, the pharmacist says we should discard it.  (The pharmacist also keeps it in the fridge until we pick it up – but we don’t at home.)

I’m not a rule breaker, I’m really, really not. I don’t want to be wasteful. And I don’t want to mess up Ian’s blood sugar.

So every month, I do this:


It all goes back to when I mixed up his meds one night and gave him Humalog instead of Lantus before he went to sleep.  The whole story is here.   I felt terrible and this is the method that works for us.

The masking tape provides a little cushion – I hate the sound of the glass vials clinking into each other, the table, or the floor and what it would represent (a late night trip to the pharmacy or ER). The little flag of masking tape also makes a nice handle to hold onto while we’re drawing out the meds.

The Sharpie – to keep the date and to write BEDTIME.  I also say “Bedtime!?” out loud when I get his meds ready at night.  Ian or MJ looks at it and says, “Yep!”

The rubber band was suggested by the nurse I called that night I messed up. She said it just provided another visual and tactile clue that can offer some reassurance.

There are still nights that I will inject the meds in the sink and start over.  When I fear I got distracted because I don’t ever want to go through that again. Ever.

That night was when my responsibility to keep my son alive became super real to me and it was also the beginning of the end of my long-term relationship.  (Some people sadly just can’t deal with things like this.)

So let me ask you this…How long do you keep your meds? How do you store them?  How do keep yourself from mixing them up?