My first night with insulin

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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!




About Gabriel...

...diagnosed with manic depression when I was nineteen, for the next 14-years I lived without treatment or a recovery plan. I've been homeless, one time I graduated college, I've won awards for reporting on Internet privacy issues, and a weekly humour column. In 2002 I finally hit bottom and found help. It's now 2022, and I have an 8-year old son, and a 12-year old son... I’m usually about six feet tall, and I'm pretty sure I screwed up my book deal. I mostly blog at
This entry was posted in crazy people with no pants, Diabetes, Disability, Health, Living With Depression, Living With Manic Depression, Mental Health and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to My first night with insulin

  1. G. I’m hoping for you!!!! ❤

  2. skylark says:

    Way to go!! 🙂

  3. Bromac says:

    Good Luck! Glad to hear you’ve gotten the process started. Here’s to quick health and recovery!

  4. zoom says:

    Excellent! Better late than never. I hope you feel good soon.

    • Gabriel... says:

      Thanks zoom… a side effect of the insulin bringing me down into the ‘normal’ range is supposed to be an increased level of energy, or at least a decreased level of lethargy. So I might be able to drop the Wellbutrin from my list of medications.

  5. thordora says:

    Finally!!! So glad!

    Try making ice tea with lemon maybe-will take awhile to find a good mix since we’re all so used to making the crap with the sugar crystals, but might be a good break? If you like tea :p

    My father finally went to the hospital after over 30 years of not going, and we found a dead gall bladder, high blood pressure and diabetes…so I’m glad to hear those replacement products are yummy, since I know he’ll eventually want a treat.

    Glad you have it, finally!

    • Gabriel... says:

      Thanks Thor. First shot, no change in the numbers, but I expected that. It’s coming.

      Tell your dad to stay away from the “Boost” line of meal replacement drinks. I swear there are little chunks in each bottle. Nasty. The chocolate Glucerna stuff tastes like pudding, the vanilla is like cookie dough, and do not store the MRE bars in the fridge.Once they’re cold it’s like biting into a crowbar.

      I’ve tried the tea, but I’m just too lazy and thirsty to wait for it to cool down. I always thought I was doing it wrong, because the process seemed to take forever — boil, brew, shove into fridge, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, add ice, lemon and drink (20GOTO10). There are times when I down 1.89L of powdered “juice” in less than a minute. I can’t brew tea that fast… I don’t think anyone in India can brew tea that fast.

      Congratulations on your dad finally getting to the hospital. My step-father’s father spent his entire life afraid of hospitals — he was old school rural French, so the only way out of a hospital, he believed, was to die. Turned out he was kind of right.

      Old people. They’re funny like that.

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