I have two rapid acting insulin pens that I use. The first one sits on my desk at home, beside my blood glucose meter and my phone. I use it with my breakfast, my dinner, my snacks that I shouldn’t be having and for any corrections inbetween. The second one normally accompanies me on my travels. If I’m going to work, it usually sits in my satchel amongst my other clutter. If I’m going out, it’s normally stashed in my jeans or jacket pocket. I use the travel pen less than the home pen, but it probably cops the bigger-than-normal insulin doses from eating out and going overboard at parties.
Every time my home pen runs out, I’ll replace it with my travel pen. And I’ll replace my travel pen with a brand new pen. I swap them so that my insulin pen will always run out at home, where I have a spare stash of insulin sitting in the fridge, rather than on my travels. I know it sounds like a confusing system, but it works for me.
Ever since I returned home from my holidays in July, I’ve only been using the one pen for both home and travel. I’ve had to remember to grab my insulin pen in the morning to take to work, rather than it just already being in my bag. I’ve had to go searching for my insulin pen in my bag or in my jeans when I get home, rather than it already just being on my desk. In all of these weeks, did it ever occur to me that I was making life harder for myself? In all of these weeks, did it ever occur to me that I could just re-employ that second pen? Nope. Or maybe I just couldn’t be bothered doing it.
Last Tuesday night, I noticed that my insulin pen was nearly empty. Too lazy to replace the cartridge then and there, I told myself I’d deal with it tomorrow morning. And I didn’t give it another thought. That was, until after I’d eaten my lunch the following day at work. I was in the locker room, ready to dial up the pen, when I noticed once again that the cartridge was almost empty. My stomach sank. I hoped that there would be enough there to cover my lunch. Even more stupidly, I primed the pen without even thinking about what I was doing. I dialled up my dose of 5 units, stuck it in and pushed. It was cut short. I had managed only 1.5 units of the 5 that I needed.
Thankfully, I’d only had a Burgen bread sandwich and a Muesli bar for lunch. I only had an hour left until knock off time at 3pm. And I live very close to work. Under any other curcumstances, I would have headed home immediately (okay, I probably should have headed home immediately). But under those circumstances, I thought I would be okay to last out the rest of the day. I hadn’t eaten anything ridiculous. And I was just over an hour away from getting my insulin.
My mind was preoccupied for much of my last hour at work. I left at 3pm on the dot, bolted through the door at home and headed straight to the fridge to grab a spare insulin cartridge. It was the first time in five years that anything like this had ever happened. And quite honestly, I was disappointed in myself.
It didn’t take me long to get that second insulin pen out of retirement and back into the workforce at Frank’s diabetes. And I know that I’ll never let it happen again.