Dave’s story appeared in the final report of the Advisory Council on the Implementation of Pharmacare, A Prescription for Canada: Achieving Pharmacare for All

I’m type 1 diabetic and a full-time electrician.

If you think being an electrician keeps you busy, try being one who has to watch his diet, exertion level, hydration and sugar levels, all at the same time as wiring a building—safely. There are often long hours, long days and long weeks. Not ideal conditions for a diabetic.

The company I originally worked for did offer group benefits, but their small size meant that it wouldn’t cover treatments for my diabetes. I could see their point, but it was a hard pill to swallow (pun intended).

So, until recently, I paid full cost out-of-pocket. Like most diabetics who face such resource limits, I found ways to “stretch” things a bit: reusing supplies, skipping doses and testing.

Was it ideal? No way! I worried that if I was working a long-shift before a paycheque and stretching things, I might get confused or black-out and cause serious damage to myself.

I'm much more lucky now. I work as an electrician for the government so now I have benefits. The job is also a lot more predictable which makes controlling my diabetes that much less difficult.

But I wonder about others who are still in the same boat I was. I don’t understand why access to medication doesn’t work like our access to doctors or hospitals.