The nurse at the diabetic clinic was finally able to find my family doctor, and he finally faxed a prescription for insulin to my pharmacist, and now I’ll finally have the opportunity to get better.
From the appointment when my doctor agreed insulin would be appropriate, until today when I picked up my injection pen and other cool paraphernalia, it took four months to get to this point. I know it’s nitpicking, but if my doctor hadn’t gone on vacation, if my nurse hadn’t gone off on her vacation, if my doctor had sane operating hours, I would have been on insulin six weeks ago.
If I had done what I was supposed to do I probably would have been on insulin last year. Or, if I had done what was really necessary, I would have exercised more after high school, and stayed away from the junk food.
Regardless. Tonight’s my first night on insulin.
They’re starting me off on a once-per-night shot of Lantus, an insulin product manufactured by Sanofi-Aventis. The dose is 10 units, and it increases by two units every other day. The goal is to have my blood sugar levels at, or very close to, normal. Which is 4-7 on my blood sugar meter.
As of two minutes ago I’m a 23.9, which is about twice the number where they start to look at you like you’re retarded.
The dose is basically based on weight, which I have a lot of, so by late September they’ll probably jump me to the 100 units level. They want to do this slowly. Because my numbers have been so ridiculously high for so very long, they believe any quick dip in my numbers will essentially leave me a drooling idiot.
Basically, if I hit 10 mmol/L tomorrow morning, which would be high for anyone else, I’d have all the symptoms of crashing, or hypoglycemia — “shakiness, anxiety, nervousness, palpitations, tachycardia, sweating, pallor, coldness, clamminess, fatigue, weakness, apathy, lethargy, coma” (Wiki).
So… fun fun fun. I don’t mind needles at all. I used to take photos of the needle in my arm when the nurses were taking blood for my lithium levels, and they were never out of focus.
At $107 per prescription the insulin itself is surprisingly expensive. The Ontario Disability Support Program covers the full cost, except for the $2 dispensing fee. The needles are free, the pen and even the meter and test strips are free as well.
There’s a large amount of free swag when you’re diabetic. The clinic offered me a huge amount of Glucerna products today as well — mostly snack bars and meal replacement drinks. Which are pretty frigging good. I took a box load during the previous appointment, so I felt too weird having them hook me up again. Maybe next time.
The injecting pen itself is very Star Trek. It has a cartridge that pops in and out, and which lasts a few days, and it comes with a really cool carrying case. I also have to start wearing my MedicAlert bracelet full time.
I stopped subscribing to their fairly expensive service almost immediately after they sent my the bracelet. I’m not entirely sure why having my “records” in their mainframe is so vital. All the paramedic has to do is look at the bracelet and it says “Type-2 Diabetes”… what else does he need?
The clinic wants my to stay on the Glyburide for now, but I’ll be off it in the autumn. I might be on the Metformin for the rest of my life (yay gene therapy!).
I also have to change my eating habits. I’ve done fairly well over the past 2.5 weeks to clean up a little. I’m down from 4L (a gallon) of diet pop a day (I know), to a small can every other day. And I cut my milk consumption in half. Basically milk is no longer a snack, it’s only for meals.
I’ve substituted everything for Crystal Light packets. They’re $3 for a small box, the package says the ten individual packets are good for 10L (three gallons) of juice, but I find it tastes better at 2L per packet. So that’s 20L of whatever it is in the packets for the cost of 4L of pop.
I found the CL on my own, but the diabetic clinic highly recommends the product. There’s really no nutritional value to them at all, but for a diabetic it beats the B-Jesus out of pop, and high sugar drinks.
I still drink a lot, because the diabetes makes me so frigging thirsty, but now it’s water with a silly colour and some taste.
Anyway. According to the nurse at the clinic I shouldn’t notice a difference either physically or in my blood sugar numbers until my dose ramps up a little.
Mentally, however, I feel pretty good about getting this recovery kick started.
…it all seems a little more urgent at the moment since my left foot has blown up like a balloon, and won’t come back down, and my right foot feels like it’s breaking all over again whenever I walk over uneven ground. Come on gene therapy!