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October 22, 2014
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That Time I Got A Weird Infection... That Was My Own Doing


I want to start by saying that in our twenties, we sometimes do dumb things. I suppose that's true of any age, but our the twenties seem particularly ripe for it. We're sometimes off on our own for the first time, we often feel oddly invincible (even with a serious chronic), we're not all that street wise. We're you know, in our twenties.

Sooooo.... Anyway. In my early twenties, I met a dude who was super nice in the endocrinologist's waiting room and we became instant buddies. Just pals, really, who shared diabetes and a slew of interests. He went to my school, we had passed here and there and just never been formally introduced, he was funny and smart and crazy, into music, and just a generally great time.

Nate was also a little bit of a bad boy. He drank and smoked and occasionally introduced marijuana at parties. His diabetes, all the while, seemed to stay in decent controls. Not a lot of drunk lows (which I'm STILL prone to 20 years later), his a1c rivaled mine - like a full 6 points lower at one point when I was really on the skids, and he seemed to get along pretty great.

I watched him one day do something I'd never seen someone do. He injected his insulin right through the pair of jeans he was wearing.

I balked "Ew.."

"I've been doing it for 14 years, nothing hurt by it." He returned in his usual offhand way.

"Hm..."

About a week later, I was sitting in class, testing under the desk. I was annoyed to see 479 mg/dl cup on the meter. I hadn't done anything to warrant that kind of bloodsugar. Unable to leave the lecture and feeling very boxed in by my desk, I pulled out my syringe and discretely put the needle end through my beautiful acid-washed (it was 1991 folks...) jeans. Nothing hurt by it. Didn't sting or hurt any more than usual. Was really no big deal.

And then... Yes, these twenties bad decision stories always have an AND THEN...

The next day my injection site was an angry red blister. A big one too. It hurt too. And I could see this was probably not going to be good. I thought about popping the blister and going on with my day. But the fever headache nibbling at my temples told me "no way."

Off to health services I went. Where the doctor diagnosed an infection sometimes referred to as "cotton fever." The term is technically incorrect, since cotton fever is usually from heroine being laced with cotton and a chemical in the cotton causing a bad infection.

But anyway, to determine what I had Doctor college kids suck oh my god I hate my job... Asked... "Did you stab yourself with something?"

"Um..." I then sheepishly admitted to putting my insulin syringe through my pants.

"Well that was dumb." He said.

"Yeah, I know..."

Having the site lanced and that tiny piece of cotton removed, plus two courses of IV antibiotics later I was fully healed.

I should have just gotten up and left that lecture.

I should also never have listened to Nate. Sometimes the first time we try something not so smart, we get taught difficult lessons...

But I was in my twenties. That's my excuse. I'm sticking to it.

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Megan Holmes
Megan Holmes Megan was diagnosed in 2009 with Type I. As an RN, she was familiar with the medical side of her diagnosis; learning to be a good patient on the other hand, was and continues to be the challenge of her day to day life.   (Read More)
Michelle Kowalski
Michelle Kowalski Michelle Kowalski, a writer, editor and photography hobbiest living in Phoenix, was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in February 2005. In January 2008, as part of her quest to start on an insulin pump, Michelle learned that she actually has type 1 diabetes.   (Read More)
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