At this time of the year, I like to clean. Not just dusting and mopping, but also purging my home of unnecessary items. Unworn clothes, worn-out shoes, and overwhelming stacks of papers and magazines. The other important area that needs a thorough inventory is my home medical supply stock. I look at my cabinet’s over-the-counter medication expiration dates and I review the prescription meds that are left over from previous illnesses. Do I keep them or toss them? It is amazing how many items, including duplicates, pile up.
Recently, I worked on my medical supply closet, which houses all the items needed for peripheral sticks and port access. I realized that I can discard at least 75 percent of what I have. Now that Caeleb uses Hemlibra (emicizumab-kxwh), I don’t need daily port supplies. Precious room is taken up by 60 cc syringes from the days of a plasma-derived factor. Saline, heparin, dressing change kits, and enough alcohol prep pads to last an eternity await me to begin my inventory.
There is one thing that I am disappointed about. I let some of Caeleb’s unneeded factor sit for more months than I care to admit, and it’s expired now. I let the supply surplus overwhelm me to the point of forgetting the precious factor that sits, waiting to be used by someone in the world.
Unfortunately, there are times when we have a precious commodity, such as expired factor, that sits in our possession, unnoticed because it’s no longer needed. For my family, it is old, unusable, and forgotten. Its value has plummeted because it no longer has an important use in our lives. It takes effort to take inventory and decide what can be discarded or donated. Plus, when it comes to factor, it takes effort to package and ship it to the appropriate place.
Expired product, if stored properly, retains its potency for a long time. If you have expired factor, contact your hemophilia treatment center to ask how to handle it. On the other hand, if you have recently changed medications, have developed an inhibitor and no longer use product, or have product that will expire before it can be used, there is a place to donate.
My good friend, Laurie Kelley, is the mother of a son with hemophilia. Her humanitarian work has taken her all over the world. Her organization, Project SHARE, has made it possible for many with bleeding disorders in underdeveloped countries to receive the factor they desperately need for life-threatening bleeds and surgeries. In the United States, we are fortunate to have access to clotting factor and supplies to the point that we often take for granted our access to lifesaving medication.
Take a moment to visit Project SHARE’s website. Even if you do not have anything to donate, read the stories of those who have received the precious gift of factor. It is always good to remind ourselves of our great fortune in the ability to access what we need.
Note: Hemophilia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Hemophilia News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to hemophilia.