Hello everyone, and welcome back to the next exciting installment in the “So, You Think You Know Diabetes?” series. Yes, I did say series. There are so many different topics to cover on this very serious illness, that this is going to be a very long, and hopefully informative series. Now, there are several topics that I have alluded to, or touched upon during the course of the first post, but here’s one that we can directly relate to with this post:
That’s right. A Type 1’s lifeblood. Well, so to speak. Obviously, it’s not blood. But it’s pretty gosh darn important. As we covered last time, Type 1 Diabetics don’t have the ability to produce enough, if any at all, insulin to help cover their intake of simple and complex sugars. But, things don’t have to be simple, now do they? Of course not! There are four different types of insulin that can be prescribed to a diabetic based on their needs.
- Rapid-acting: When they mean quick, they mean quick. It starts working in about 15 minutes after injection, and has a duration of 2-4 hours.
- Short-acting: This one take a little bit longer to start working, with a 30 minute wait after injection, and has a total duration of 3-6 hours.
- Intermediate-acting: I haven’t heard about this one, but that’s probably because it takes so long to work. It doesn’t start working until 2-4 hours after injecting, and 12-18 hours before it passes through your system.
- Long-acting: Now, this one is different, because it lasts for quite a while, and it releases insulin throughout the day. I know that, at least in the case of Beth, she does this at night, and will do a rapid-acting one throughout the day during meals.
Complicated yet? There’s also an insulin that has just made it’s way onto the market within the last year or so. It’s an inhale-able one that is even faster acting than the rapid-acting one, and it’s supposed to be used in concurrence with a long-acting insulin.
Then, there’s the delivery system. Primarily, there are one of two options that a diabetic can choose for their delivery system. One is using vials and syringes. The other is by a piece of machinery that called a pump, which acts like an artificial pancreas. Now, Beth didn’t use a pump, so I’m not keen on the ins and outs of the care, maintenance and overall function of the various pieces for the pump. But, I do think that the pump is a useful piece of hardware that all diabetics should look into, if not to save themselves a little bit of the hassle that comes with vials and syringes.
Lastly, I’ve got a couple of personal anecdotes that should give you insight into the world of a diabetic, at least through the eyes of a non-diabetic anyway.
The first one should serve as a reminder to both diabetics and their non-diabetic friends/partners to grab their insulin. Beth and I were traveling from her town to mine during Christmas break I believe. Somehow, in the course of our packing to get out the door, we forgot to grab her insulin. Now, it’s not necessarily the end of the world, but it does makes things pretty difficult when her blood sugar was climbing to dangerously high levels, and the only thing that my parents had to bring her sugar down was cinnamon. Thankfully, this was at a point in time where she was still on her dad’s insurance, so it only took a couple of phone calls to get some more insulin in at a nearby pharmacy the next day.
The second one is a lot more scarier. So, I was in town visiting over the summer, and we were out and about doing some of the late night festivities in the next town over. I’m not sure why she decided to grab both of her insulin, but the boxes were in her purse. Now, if you just look down at them from the top, the two boxes looked identical. See where I’m going here. When we got back to the place she was staying, she grabbed out a box from her purse and went to do her insulin for the night. Immediately after she did it (partially due to the fact that it was one of a quick-acting variety), she started to feel…off. Once she realized that she did the wrong insulin, we started to panic. Thankfully, Fate and Lady Luck were both smiling on us that night. I happened to have a bottle of Gatorade that she proceeded to chug as we made our way to the hospital…which was a block away. The ER staff was incredible in their response, and the crisis eventually was averted.
So, in short, make sure that you know the differences in the types of insulin, to grab the correct insulin no matter how many times you have to ask “which one is it again”, and, above all else, make sure you grab the insulin to begin with. That’s all I’ve got for this write up. Tune in next time for another adventure into the world of diabetes through the eyes of a non-diabetic. Until next time, I am the Baumeister, and I have been…obediently yours.