Insulin is not a cure, but it is quite the magical substance. Every single day, my body fails to produce its own insulin. And every day, I am able to supplement my physiological failures with some nice, cool synthetic hormones. Mmmm, delicious.
I’m very careful with my insulin supply. I have the little white boxes neatly lined up in the fridge like my army of miracles. I take careful note of the expiration dates and I always reorder on time. One time, while I was in college, I dropped my last bottle of Humalog on the floor and it shattered into a million pieces. I drove 2 hours to the closest 24 hour CVS to purchase a bottle out of pocket.
I’m dedicated to the stuff.
Which is why this past weekend surprised even me.
Chris and I went home to Rhode Island for the weekend to visit grandparents and hang out with our friends. A few of my College Roommates (there were seven of us) were heading to Narragansett Beach for some sandy shore festivities and I was running late (per usual) in joining up.
“I’m about twenty minutes away.” The first sip of my iced coffee and a quick half-unit bolus on the pump as I waited at the stop light on Route 1 South.
“We are already at the beach. Just park at the hotel and meet us down here.”
Drove like a maniac to the hotel. Tossed the car into a spot, hung the parking pass in the mirror, and chucked my overnight bag (complete with change of clothes for later and all my medical supplies) into the trunk of the Jetta.
My navy blue Jetta with black interior. The one parked in the hot, hot July sun, no shade in sight.
Stupid girl. Not thinking…
I spent all day on the beach without thinking much about my car. There were other things to concentrate on, like trying not to kick sand up on other people’s blankets, playing in the Atlantic Ocean, and making sure my bathing suit didn’t suffer the consequences of the rough surf.
A day on the beach laughing and talking and making plans for that Saturday night. Around four o’clock, we walked back to the hotel and started calling dibs on who would shower first.
“I just have to grab my bag.” I popped the trunk and retrieved my overnight bag. The zipper was hot to the touch. I still didn’t make the connection.
In the hotel room, I noticed that my pump site was completely sticky from sunscreen, sand and salt water. I could barely get the infusion set to reconnect to the site. Luckily, being ever-paranoid, I had the Quick-serter, a back-up infusion set and a bottle of insulin tucked neatly into my overnight bag.
A nice, steaming hot bottle of insulin.
Oh for crying out loud.
Almost a brand new bottle and I had cooked it. Even worse, I didn’t have enough insulin left in the pump cartridge to freestyle for the rest of the night – the reservoir had to be changed.
“Moron,” I muttered to myself, sticking the bottle of insulin into the hotel fridge, hoping that the insulin would be magically useable if I just made it cold once more. After a cold shower, I took the bottle from the fridge and began priming the pump.
“That wasn’t in your car all day, was it?” one of my Roommates asked.
“Yeah.” I rubbed the IV prep on my thigh and waved my hand at it to dry it off.
“Is it still going to work?” Roommate looked concerned.
“Here’s hoping…” Inserted the site, fixed-primed, and took a preemptive correction bolus. “I’m 155 mg/dl now. If my bloodsugar comes down, we’re back in business.”
“Otherwise you’re driving two hours to that CVS again, right?”
“Right.” Flashed a hopeful grin.
About twenty minutes later, my bloodsugar eased down to a tight 100 mg/gl and my night of Fancy Dinner and drinks at the Coast Guard House was saved.
Was this a fluke? Shouldn’t this bottle be considered “ineffective” and tossed? Why is it still working, to this day?? Has anyone else had their insulin supply survive an unfortunate turn of events?
Faithful Readers, insulin is a magical substance. Not only does it sustain my life and keep my body running properly, it can also apparently sustain prolonged exposure to high temperatures. It’s definitely not a cure, but it is tough stuff.