As a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service employee, Mallory Lorge is one of 800,000 federal workers who have been without a paycheck since the longest partial government shutdown in U.S. history started back on December 22.
According to WTVR, the diabetic furloughed federal employee opened up during CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 about being forced to ration her insulin because she feared accumulating debt more than she feared dying.
“I thought, no end in sight for the shutdown. I can’t afford an ambulance bill. I can’t afford to go to the emergency room right now, because I know there’s more bills coming our way,” Lorge explained.
Mallory revealed that she had just three vials of insulin left when the shutdown started. She recalled panicking and making the decision to skip injections to make sure she didn’t run out of insulin before the shutdown ended. She also recalled reassuring herself “the shutdown will end.”
With no end of the government shutdown in the foreseeable future, Lorge opened up about continuing to panic as she puts off using what little insulin she has as much as possible because she can’t afford paying for anymore right now.
“This last weekend, I didn’t use my insulin pump at all. I just took it off cause I was so frightened about what little insulin we did have left, and we couldn’t afford the $300 co-pay to buy any more,” she continued to explain.
During the conversation with Cooper, Mallory admitted to checking her blood sugar levels one evening and noticing the numbers were just shy of being three times higher than what they should be. The numbers were so high she was at risk for both a diabetic coma and ketoacidosis.
“Yes. That was my choice that day and nobody knew. My family didn’t know. My husband didn’t even know that I was rationing. I went to bed and just hoped I’d wake up,” she revealed after Cooper asked her if she really thought gambling with her life and not going to the hospital was the best decision.
During the interview, she also opened up about a myth spreading that government workers were comparing the shutdown to being on a vacation. She described the comparison as “heartbreaking” as she couldn’t think of a single one of her co-workers who would describe the stress of not having a paycheck and not knowing when the next one will come as “a good time.”
WTVR reports that after news of her situation broke, strangers have come forward to offer her their excess insulin to help her get through the shutdown without risking her life any further. Some have also taken to a GoFundMe campaign to raise the necessary funds for her to continue to purchase her medication during the shutdown.