Friday, July 24, 2009

Bad day

So a couple weeks back I did something really stupid. I went to work . . . and left my insulin at home. Yeah, I told you it was stupid. Problem is I don't work in a normal office job where I could just take my lunch break and run home and get it. Nope. I work in a hospital where I can't exactly leave my patients and go home. The best part is that I didn't realize I had done this until after I had eaten lunch. See, I was low before lunch and feeling super shaky, so I decided to eat first and then take my insulin, just to let the food get a little head start. (In the past, when I don't do this, I sometimes feel low forever since my insulin is kicking in before or at the same time as my meal.)

So I head back to work and plan on giving myself a shot once I'm back on the floor. Problem is? No Apidra. I have my Lantus, but not my short-acting insulin, the one I take with meals. Then I remember taking it out of the bag the night before so I could take a correction bolus before bed. I could just picture it sitting on my nightstand, mocking me.

In the past I've worked at hospitals that keep insulin in their medication refrigerators. But my unit is the NICU and babies don't get the same insulin we do, so I would always just walk over to Labor/Delivery or Mother/Baby and draw up what I needed. Everyone knew that I was diabetic, I'd worked there for years . . . no harm, no foul. No such luck at this new job. Someone suggested that I talk to our resident PharmD, maybe she could hook me up with some Humalog or even Regular insulin, just to tide me over. Again, no luck. She did suggest calling the outpatient pharmacy in the hospital (the place where patients who are being discharged can fill their prescriptions before going home). I called them but Apidra is so new, they don't carry it. But they do carry Humalog! Except that to get it I would have to call my old pharmacy, transfer the script, have it filled for hefty price, yadda yadda . . . lotta hoops to jump. Dammit.

At this point, at least 10 nurses had found out what was going on and everyone was scrambling to try to help. One older nurse was even diabetic and took shots! But she used 70/30. Seriously? I don't even remember what the deal with 70/30 is anymore. But at least they were trying to help. Which, while I do appreciate it, also made me feel like the village idiot. Because this lovely incident was they way that most of them found out I had diabetes in the first place. Great impression, right? Then they'd ask how long I'd had it. "Uh, 18 years. . . " I tried to explain no matter how routine something becomes after years of doing it, mistakes are bound to happen. How often do people forget their purses? Or lock their keys in their car? Not often, but when it happens you feel like quite the dumbass.

I finally was at my wits end and decided to just beg the charge nurse to let me just run home to get my insulin. Unfortunately, the unit was particularly busy that day and one of the other nurses had already left because of an emergency with her son. So they really couldn't spare losing another of us. I put one last call into the outpatient pharmacy, just to try to hash out what they could do for me. Turns out they had transferred my prescription and they could get me ONE bottle of Humalog for $25. I was relieved I had options but really annoyed at the idea of paying $25 for one bottle of insulin that I'll never use again. Whatever, I was so over it by this point. My bloodsugar was 439, I felt like absolute shit, not to mention like an idiot and at this point I had put almost 3 hours into this stupid debacle. I was miffed. Even more so when I thought about the fact that I work in a hospital that has tons of insulin available. Just none for me.

So I told the nearby nurses I was walking over to the outpatient pharmacy. It took about 20 minutes roundtrip to go get my insulin and get back. (What can I say? It's a big campus.) At that point I was sweaty, feeling heavy and lethargic and developing and nasty sweet, metallic taste in my mouth. In other words, I was feeling like actual ass. When the person behind the register handed me the bag, I tore it open, drew up my dose and shot up before I even pulled out my wallet to pay. He looked at me like I was some nut-job druggie jonesing for a high. I smiled weakly and apologized.

So, yeah, that was my bad day. And probably what started me thinking about the things I was talking about in my previous post. I mean, who else has to actually go through crap like that? Plus it was the perfect storm of events. On a slow day where we were fully staffed it probably wouldn't have been a big deal to just run home. Annoying, but a hell of a lot less complicated then the 3-hour odyssey that actually took place.

Maybe I should have stood up for myself and just said "Look, I'm diabetic, I left my medication at home and it's an emergency. I'm going to run home and I will be back as soon as I can." I really probably should have. But, to me, it doesn't seem like an emergency. I've been high before. I've even been over 400 before and nothing terrible happens. I feel like crap, then I fix it, then it's over. Then I worry about what havoc it wreaked on my body that I may only find out about in years to come, but that's my paranoia for you. So I just feel like a drama queen trying to convince other people that anything related to my diabetes is an emergency. But after that mess, hopefully, I've learned my lesson and will just stick up for myself and not feel obligated to place my health so low on the totem pole so as not to ruffle any feathers.

Am I the only one stuff like this has happensd to? Any other stories of diabetes-related brainfarts out there? Mad scrambles for supplies? Please share, because I feel dumb.

Don't judge me,


  1. I did the opposite. I left my NovoLog at work. I tore apart my purse when I got home, but no case was to be found. Luckily, I had a spare in the fridge and didn't have to go through the truly annoying hoops you did. But I still can't believe I left it sitting in the middle of my desk. Duh. Now I'm trying to finish two pens at once...

  2. You are NOT dumb - just normal like the rest of us.

  3. Oh gosh, absolutely no judgments here!!! I've had to drive all the way back to work because I left my meter in my desk. When I was on MDIs, my husband made a couple trips back home when we went to my parents house for dinner because I'd forgotten my Novolog. And I took my Lantis several hours late more times than I could count because I went out and forgot to bring it with me.

    Is there a fridge at work where you could stash a spare bottle of Apidra in case of emergency? I ended up keeping a bottle of insulin at my parent's house for that very reason!!

  4. You know, Karen? I thought of keeping a bottle at work but they are just so expensive and once you open them, they are only good for a month. So the idea of keeping a bottle at work that maybe only gets used once or twice and then is thrown away seems like such a waste.

    But I do have a bunch of Humalog left over from before I switched to Apidra. And I had no idea what I was going to do with it. Maybe that would be a good way to "use" it. :-)

  5. Ha. I just posted about this a bit ago, but now I feel stupid complaining - you had to go through way more than I did.