How long can you go without insulin when type one

Hi. My son has type one diabetes. Where has been working, he has had been working they have no health coverage. He tried to get drug coverage through the trillium foundation but since he room and boards, and doesn't have his own place, he can't get coverage. He has been 8 months without insulin. Last week he gotten so sick he fainted at work and was rushed to emerge. He was hospitalized in ICU for a week. They said if he wasn't treated for his diabetes he would only have 5 months to live. They gave him insulin to last a couple of days.

This has only been a bandage because once the insulin runs out he's back in the same boat. To pay for insulin, strips and needles out of his pocket is $400.00 per month. He doesn't make enough to cover it so he does without. I'm afraid for his life but what can he do?

I told him he should go on disability, at least then he have coverage, but he wants to work.

I thought Canada has universal healthcare?? You might want to contact Nel who is active in the Canadian Diabetes community. Your son needs to get insulin.

I agree, in Canada, he shouldn't have any problems like this... ? He needs to get on insulin asap obviously, he may have less than 5 months. He needs to eat a no carb diet until he is on insulin.

Go to Walmart buy cheap NPH and regular insulin and relion syringes. And a generic meter. Anyone who really had to in the USA could access supplies and insulin for much less cost

Health care varies by province, although I'd be surprised if insulin and other basics aren't covered in Ontario!

I think you definitely need to get in touch with the Canadian Diabetes Association. I'm in BC so don't know much about Ontario, but here insulin and test strips are covered. Ontario covers insulin pumps and supplies for adults with Type 1 which is not covered here in BC, so I'd be shocked if they don't cover insulin and other basics. You will have to buy some things out of pocket (perhaps pen needles and alcohol swabs), but that stuff shouldn't cost $400/month.

If your son's lack of provincial coverage has to do with him working outside the country or something like that, then that's a decision he'll have to work around. Here in BC if you are out of the country for more than six months you lose coverage, but I've known people who have worked around this by coming home for a month every six months and such. If he really can't work around it, and his job really has no coverage, well ... is a job worth dying for?

Good luck. Your son is lucky to have made it eight months without insulin. I get sick if I'm off the pump for four or five hours!

Not having health insurance is not an acceptable reason to go without insulin for 8 months. Without it, he will die, and if he is t1 and has gone for 8 months without insulin it is pretty amazing that he is still alive. Most of us couldn’t go 8 days without it. Do whatever it takes. There are plenty of options to look into for how to access insulin at a more affordable rate… What is not an option is just waiting around for it to resolve itself or putting it off until tomorrow.

How long a person can go without insulin varies based on individual needs, activity levels, food intake, water consumption, and a lot of other factors. You can get cheap insulin at Walmart. You can also try a low carb diet.

Walmart sells insulin in the US for about $25/bottle. Disposable syringes can for the most part be safely reused by the same person as long as none of the insulin from the used syringe goes back into the vial. Then generic BG meters can be found online or at Walmart.

Back to the original question, even if you live for a while, going without managed blood glucose levels like that does long term damage to the body. If your son wants to work and stay off disability over the long term, he needs to do whatever it takes to get on insulin and mange his BG.

I agree with the others...check out walmart brand (ReliOn). Here in the US, Regular and NPH are $25/bottle each. Walmart also sells 50 strips for about $9. Not sure how often he needs to test, but he should be able to work with those for less than $100/mo, maybe $50. Most of us have had to improvise with diabetes care in the poor times of our lives. When he gets to the end of the month, if there is insulin still in the vial, it should still work, just maybe not as efficiently. It still lowers bg, though.

Someone in my home town constantly asks for insulin and test strips on Craigslist and then tries to sell it (the idiot uses the same phone number). That person is pretty dishonest, but you or your son might be able to ask for help there to see if someone will give that stuff to you. Also, make sure there are not typos in the medication names, because that makes people like me less likely to give extra that I may have.

I would say he has less than 6 months with no insulin, because the electrolytes get so out of balance with constantly high bg's. He probably lasted 8 months because he started out healty.

Good luck to both of you.

Trillium drug program is really easy to apply for, they ask your household income. If you are boarding it is just your personal income. If you have done your taxes for the previous year it is very simple.

NPH and regular can be purchased cheaply at any pharmacy.

the deductible is 4 percent of your income

Re the question, I think Elizabeth Hughes lasted about 4 years waiting for insulin, the "cure" her family knew was in the works. Then she got it and lived to be 82...

I agree with the others that he needs to get serious about getting what he needs to take care of himself.

I hope this helps ...lots of reading :) page 22 shows what is ceovered in the different provinces /territories ? OR e-mail :
Gabriella Simo
Manager, Advocacy - Ontario
Canadian Diabetes Association
556 Bryne Dr, Unit 4, Barrie, ON L4N 9P6
T: 705-737-3611 ext 22
T: 416-408-7154 (voicemail only)
F: 705-737-4912 1-800-BANTING | Lead. Live. Cure

I'm amazed that your son is still alive after not taking Insulin for 8 months. If you watched the video(3 parts) that Acidrock supplied, you'll notice that the girl Elizabeth lived for about 4 years without insulin. That was only because she hadn't had it long and her parents watched her like a hawk to make sure that she didn't eat much and that she did do her exercises.

Your Type 1 son may still be in the honey-moon phase. The length of duration varies per person. Type 1.5 also comes to mind. Many GP's and some Endo's don't know about it yet.

Your son should be on welfare(Ontario Works) since he has a chronic illness, to help him out. He can still work some and get his meds free or at a lower cost. He is not eligible for disability since Diabetes is not considered a disability. He has to have some major complication from Diabetes first that disables him(I wouldn't recommend that). He can get a tax credit once a year but he needs to see his doctor regularly, get the forms filled out, and look after himself by using Insulin, eating proper meals, testing, etc. Oh if he has another disease, that may get him on disability.

I'm surprised that he was denied help from Trillium because he pays room and board. He still HAS an address. He has to keep trying. Unfortunately I know there are some idiots(Grrr!) who work for the people, in the gov. I was denied disability when I was young. I had 2 little ones, Diabetes, severe RA and other illnesses. My Hubby didn't make much money then. I was denied twice by 2 of those idiots who didn't know their job. The 3rd time my Angel answered the phone and she said, of course I qualify and quickly got me through the process. I've been off of it for many years but we appreciated it when we needed it. "Where there is a will there is a way".

Here are a few sites that he can call and I'm sure that there are more. Some of the info may have changed.

Zoe, Universal Health Care means any Canadian, whether working or not can get a GP, Specialist, operations, tests and treatments without upfront charge. It comes out of the taxes that people pay in Canada. It does not include medications unless they are given while the person is in the hospital or are on a Provincial Program or on Disability or are a Senior Citizen. Sorry about all the ors.

Ok, I'm confused. I admit to ignorance about the Canadian system, but what Jen says and what Terrie says seem to contradict, Jen saying "insulin and test strips are covered" Terrie saying "it does not include medications". Is this a difference between provinces?

i don't understand how a type 1 can go a couple days, even, without insuln..unless he/she still has some beta cell function. if i mess up on my basal shots alone (regardless of any food intake) I can go sky high. Most type 1's on pumps, if they have a bad site, problems with tubing, etc....can have soaring (dangerous) blood sugars within hours, without ever having eaten anything. How can he go this long w/out insulin, is he newly diagnosed - honeymooning? Are you in a position to help him, financially, at all? Does he have an endocrinologist he can get 'samples' from, at least short term?

We don’t have universal pharmacare. Various provinces have various government funded drug programs. The OP is referring to one it is called trillium drug program. It is for people whose prescription costs exceed 4 percent of their income. It is very confusing between province to province especially when it comes to things like pump funding.

And like someone pointed out if you are in need of life sustaining medication in Ontario you need to go to the welfare office and tell them. they will issue you a drug card.

Thanks for the explanation, dexterbear. Yes, it does sound like the bottom line is that the OP can get insulin if he follows through!

I wish the poster would respond ...suggested yesterday to read this link and e-mail page 22 shows what is covered in the different provinces /territories ? OR e-mail :
Gabriella Simo
Manager, Advocacy - Ontario
Canadian Diabetes Association
556 Bryne Dr, Unit 4, Barrie, ON L4N 9P6
T: 705-737-3611 ext 22
T: 416-408-7154 (voicemail only)
F: 705-737-4912 1-800-BANTING | Lead. Live. Cure

Jen, I believe last year someone from BC mentioned that with PharmaCare they pay about $55. a month for it. Is that true?