Where oh where has my insulin gone…

October 4, 2006 at 10:59 pm | Posted in The Sweet Life | 10 Comments

I was inspired out of my blogblahs by Dana’s recent post about forgetting to take her insulin with her. I’ve forgotten everything at one point or another in my 21 years of diabetic life – strips, finger-sticker (syringe, paperclip, thumbtack and earring have all served as substitutes), insulin, syringes… you name it. I’ve forgotten to bolus more times than I care to remember, although the pump helps that – no more “oh crap, the insulin is upstairs and I’m downstairs” moments.

A few of my more notable diabetic supply snafus, in chronological order:

  • In high school: Left my loaded syringe on the dining room table, causing my dad to sprint down the hill from our apartment building to catch the express bus as it pulled it away. He ran onto the bus full of commuters waving a syringe. Fortunately, this was pre 9-11.
  • Also in high school: Did a foreign exchange to Honduras, where I lived with a two year old who hated my guts and thought it was funny to throw my insulin bottles whenever I left them out of the fridge. A week before I was supposed to fly back, she broke my last bottle of NPH, causing me to have to seek out Honduran insulin (U40, beef) at a public health clinic.
  • In college, studying abroad in Germany:My friend Clare and I went for a Sunday hike that turned out to be longer than planned. As we frantically tried to figure out how to get back to the small village from which we had started out, I started to have that horrible creeping feeling – my heart racing a little too fast, my feet tripping over non-existent obstecales, beads of sweat forming at my hairline. I whipped out my snacks and ate them. All of them. We kept on. The creeping feeling crept back. I tested. 52. Clare, do you have anything left to eat? No…

    Lost in the woods. Barely speaking the language. Low. And heading lower. Even if we made it back to the village, the odds were slim to none (right, Sarah?) that anything would be open on a Sunday morning.

    And then, like a scene in a movie that leaves you shaking your head and saying, no, no that’s too good to be true, that would never happen, we came into a clearing where a man and two kids were chowing down on a beautiful loaf of brown bread, cheese, jam, and sausage. Haltingly, I explained that I was diabetic and I needed food. Could I buy some bread from them?

    He waved aside our money, and spread a thick layer of jam on a slice of bread for me. Was that enough? Geld, nein nein. Stimmt jetzt? Wollen Sie mehr? We started talking. As it turned out, he and his family lived in the same city where Clare and I were living on our study abroad program. If we stayed and ate lunch with them, we could walk back to the train station together. We had a lovely lunch, played hide and seek with the kids, and were escorted safely home.

  • On the same trip: My baggage was stolen from a locker in the train station in Prague, leaving me with a two day supply of syringes/strips/etc. Spent a week arguing with Czech police, called parents from nurse’s office at U.S. embassy and burst into tears on the phone. Nurse took the phone from my hand and said (at 5:30 am, NYC time), “yes, this is the nurse at the American Embassy in Prague.” My mother claims I took ten years off her life. I went to scary Czech hospital to get horse syringes and my parents DHL’ed supplies to Budapest. Then my baggage mysteriously reappeared in the locker.
  • More recently than I care to admit. Went to conference in Indianapolis and discovered I was sans humalog – at 7pm on a Friday. Begged pharmacist to give me humalog without a prescription.

Other notes on the diabetes front:

I may have found a tolerable endocrinologist. At the very least, I’ve found a CDE who says “shit” a lot and tells me that she thinks I can do better than the endo for whom she works. And gave me the phone number for the doc she recommends.

My blood sugars have sucked ass lately. Sloppy eating and over-conservative bolusing mostly to blame. Sloppy eating and lack of exercise also to blame for weight creeping ever upwards. Sigh.

I feel like my feet have been falling asleep a lot recently. Always when I’m sitting in awkward positions, but it seems like more often than when I sat in similar positions in the past. The doctor tickled my feet about two months ago and I almost kicked her in the nose, so I’m not too nervous, but this is still worrisome. Blood pressure is totally normal, so I don’t think it’s a circulation issue. Sigh squared.


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  1. DB teaches us from the start to be flexible and adaptable and I do believe that you get the grand prize sister!
    I am always losing my lancing device and most recently considered inflicting a paper cut on my thumb to draw blood (never have thought of the earring, though – a great alternative).
    And, hats off to those pharmacists who understand that it’s sometimes necessary to make an exception for us. One time we agreed he’d sell me one syringe without a prescription if I’d take the injection in front of him.

  2. You have the unique ability to write about your health issues in a way that can make me smile and even laugh sometimes. I studied abroad in Italy for a year, and I remember many whacky/desperate situations and stories, so I can only imagine how much whackier and more complicated it must’ve been for you! I hope that your pump continues to make life easier, and that your feet are okay.

  3. I forgot test strips yesterday…so went most of the day without testing…That’s some of the worst that’s happened to me lately! You’ve been a lot of places! I’ve always been to fearful to travel farther than Canada when I’m going abroad

  4. I have learned more about diabetes from you and am so glad to know so much now! Thank you for educating me!

  5. As MN Nice said, DB teaches us to be flexible and adaptable for sure.

    This is a great post about some of the crazy situations we get ourselves into! I often look back on growing up with diabetes, and wonder how in the hell did I survive this long?!

    And a CDE that says “shit” a lot is worth big brownie points in my book.

  6. Can I ask a Dumb Diabetes Question….you say 21 years of having diabetes….I was under the impression one was born with Type 1 and I feel you are over 21….?

  7. Lo is so polite. Yes, sweetie, I’m over 21.

    And no, T1 is not something you’re born with. It comes on at different ages – I was 10 – which is pretty average, but some folks are diagnosed with T1 as adults. Some are diagnosed before their 1st bday, although that’s fairly rare.

    Does that help?

  8. Trying to get things in Germany on a Sunday sucks! And as a tourist, it’s even worse. There are pharmacies that do weekend and night duty, but you need to find them, it’s usually only one open in an area. That could be in your town, or the next 5 in your area. Guarenteed when you need one, it’s the furthest one away!!

    Good thing there are always nice people, wherever you go.

  9. That memory of being lost in Germany while low had such a happy ending, it brought a smile to my face.

  10. I always read your diabetes entries with interest, and yet I rarely comment because it’s not “my world” in the way that infertility is. So let me stop a sec to say “hi,” I’m reading, and I’m, as always, impressed and amazed by what it takes to manage a serious and chronic illness. I can’t even imagine how different life would be…but thanks for giving me a glimpse and the ability to have greater empathy for what it means to be diabetic.–>

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