I Smell Insulin

“Hey, hey, wake up,” Brad whispered, gently shaking me. “Come on, wake up.”

My eyelids felt glued shut and my head was heavy with sleep. It’s gotta be 3 in the morning, why is he waking me up? I finally got one eyelid to open and pulled my face barely out of my pillow and groggily asked, “What?”

“I smell insulin and I know your blood sugar is high,” he said. “Do you need to change your pod?” I swear it took me a good 30 seconds to process this.

I felt around my nightstand and got my phone, it was 11:39 pm, not 3 am as I had expected. I must have just drifted into a REM cycle when Brad came to bed and smelled insulin. I didn’t really register what the number on my Dexcom was, so I grabbed my PDM off the nightstand, sorted out a test strip, put it in the slot upside down, took it out and turned it over, put it back in and pricked my finger. I got the blood drop on the strip and managed to smear blood on the PDM case.

Meanwhile, I have not said another word to my husband beyond a groggy “What?” and he’s leaning over me. “I heard your temp basal turn off and you’ve been high for most of the evening. I really smell insulin. Do you smell it?” he asks as my PDM shows 221. This was lower than when I went to bed, but not much. I had been fighting a high most of the evening. It’d been a stressful night.

“Should you change your pod?” Brad asked me again. I laid my head back on my pillow and thought about it. I checked my PDM screen, my pod was due to expire the next day.

“Yes,” I finally responded with great effort. “I’ll change it.”

“Do you have everything you need up here?” he asked. I said yes, my pods are in the closet just outside of our bedroom. I climbed out of bed, got a pod from the close, grabbed my PDM and diabetes bag and went into the bathroom. As I started to fill the syringe, I realized that I only had about 30 units in my insulin vial and I need 175 to fill a pod. Ugh. I trudged downstairs to the fridge to retrieve a new vial. Apparently, Brad offered to go get it, but his offer didn’t register to me.

I finished my pod change and climbed back into bed with the old pod still on and fell back to sleep. When I woke up at 161 the next morning, the pile of pod change trash on the bathroom counter and the extra pod still stuck to me reminded me that it hadn’t been a dream.

I’ve been feeling a bit apathetic about my diabetes lately. I want to have good numbers, all the time and in range. But I don’t want to think about it, I don’t want to be vigilant. I’m dreading pod and sensor changes lately because they are just a hassle.

It’s a bad attitude to have and I should not have gone to bed running that high without setting an alarm to wake up and treat again. But I was tired. Not just physically sleepy but emotionally exhausted and mentally fatigued, by this disease, by my professional life, by things happening in my personal life and beyond. I need a vacation, too bad diabetes has to come along for the ride.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go change my bed sheets. They smell like bandaids.


3 thoughts on “I Smell Insulin

  1. Well written Rachel. It sucks sometimes (more often than not) but we trudge through….everyday….because we have to. Hope your day gets better from here 🙂

  2. I sort of like the insulin smell, precisely because it is so disgusting. Sheryl can smell that stuff from yesterday. As for me I am sort of immune to it. I hope you thanked your husband. It is good to have someone who has our back. (sometimes)

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