A Diabetes Amnesty Bucket: What Would You Throw Out?


On Tuesday, I had an appointment with my endocrinologist. This was the first appointment since I received the Continuous Glucose Monitor, and, since I was told the CGM was being given out on a trial basis only, I was a little bit worried. Complaints and inconveniences aside, the CGM has been a huge help, and I did not want to lose it because my doctor or whoever he reports to felt the cost was not worth the benefit.

As it turns out, though, my worrying was for naught; my recent HbA1c (5.8!), and the CGM output, passed muster. There was no talk of losing the CGM, and I was very happy with the appointment overall. Having seen good endocrinologists and bad endocrinologists in my 15 years of being a diabetic, I am very grateful that my current doctor is excellent: knowledgeable, sympathetic, and attentive to my care. Plus, he remembers who I am each time– which in Kaiser’s system is not a given.

And as I was leaving the doctor’s office, in a rather chipper mood after the positive appointment, I saw something that I found both hilarious and an oddly appropriate metaphor for what I wish diabetes treatment was like:

An Amnesty Bucket. I had never heard the term before, and according to Google, it is a rare but not unknown phrase. As the sign indicates, an Amnesty Bucket is a receptacle for obsolete and antiquated objects. I imagine this particular bucket, placed as it was in the hallway next to a cabinet of medical goods, was for expired samples and defunct tools.

But boy oh boy, wouldn’t you love to have an Amnesty Bucket for diabetes? For life? You could just put all the old and useless things in there, and someone, some helpful someone, would come through and check it daily to replace the old goods with new, working versions?

Here’s what I would put in my Amnesty Bucket:

  1. Paper-and-pen daily logbooks.
  2. Invasive blood-glucose monitoring kits.
  3. Needles. Any kind, anywhere.
  4. The claim that you can cure Type 1 diabetes with diet, herbal remedies, or less sugar.
  5. The misconception that Type 2 diabetes is just about being overweight.
  6. The fact that a symptom of hyperglycemia is hunger, but part of the treatment is not eating more.
  7. My poor, calloused fingertips.
  8. All the bruised, inflamed, scarred, and otherwise assailed tissue in my abdomen.
  9. All the T-cells in my thymus that are sitting dormant, waiting to attack any new beta cells or related insulin-producing molecules.
  10. My pancreas.

What would you put in an Amnesty Bucket?

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Jane Kokernak
13 years ago

Quarterly iv blood draws, and biannual kidney function/urine tests.
The macular degeneration eye test.
4 oz. juice boxes, carried everywhere.

13 years ago

Great post! I would toss in my Thyroid, too — it’s been getting a free ride for way too long now.

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