The terrible smell

By | 10 July, 2012

After yet another diabetes related bed sheet incident I am now starting to think that diabetes and sheets are simply incompatible bedfellows. This time there was no visible problem, no massacre-like blood stains or mysterious slime. Oh no, this time it was the smell. Thankfully not the smell of my toes rotting off or my kidneys frying, but stil not a fragrance I like to have around the house.

I’m sitting on my bed (which I’d only changed the day before) getting ready to change my infusion set. I have no concerns about blood spots getting on the sheets because the set I’m removing is on the top of my thigh. If I remove a set from my buttocks while sitting on the cream duvet, I can almost guarantee it’ll bleed and leave tiny red marks on the duvet. But my mind is clear of such concerns today.

I fill the reservoir with insulin and squirt a bit back into the bottle to remove some air bubbles. Then I draw a bit more insulin into the reservoir to make sure it’s full. Then I get a bit carried away and pull the plunger completely out of reservoir, emptying 300 units of insulin all over me and the bed in the process.

I don’t tend to notice the smell of insulin any more. Apparently 300 units is enough to cure my olfactory fatigue. I can confirm that it stinks. I finish the set change and naively mop up the insulin thinking that’ll sort the problem. Afterall, despite probably being enough to kill 4 ShootUp readers should we split it between us and inject it all at once, 300 units isn’t really very much. It’s just a few spoonfuls.  

Having washed my hands, I return to the cleaned up bedroom. The smell is overpowering and showing no sign of abating. I strip the bed and resign myself to having to wash the sheets. I also change my clothes. I carry on with my day, but there’s a lingering smell wherever I go. Even with clean clothes on, I still stink. I take a shower. I start planning what we can have for dinner that’ll overpower the insulin smell – curry and garlic perhaps?

The husband comes in. By now the house is full of wet washing because the British summer monsoon is raging outside. But that doesn’t really matter, because there’s no hope of smelling the washing over the overwhelming stench of insulin. From the way the husband recoiled as he crossed the front doorstep, I guess the smell is still pretty powerful. We open all the windows and go to the pub.

Thankfully the smell seems to have gone now, but I’ve learned my lesson. From now on all insulin will be stored in a safe box in the garden shed and only used when wearing full safety gear.

11 thoughts on “The terrible smell

  1. Tim

    Aside from eejit plunger-related mistakes, this is another advantage of pumps. I was always unpopular in the pub when doing air shots with my old pen. After a few pints I would be somewhat more enthusiastic about the quantity and volume of said air shots – usually resulting in someone’s glass being covered in stinky insulin. What fun!

  2. Peter Childs

    Why don’t the pump’s take the same cartages the pens take, then you could just take the old cartage out and put the new one in no messy movement of insulin, known amount of insulin in infusion set simple?

    But then I’m just a humble pen user currently, Still I’ve got an appointment over possibly getting a pump in September, Is there anything I should do to prepare…….

    1. Alison Post author

      Some pumps do I think, but the Medtronic doesn’t. I prefer being able to fill it up myself – then if I’m somewhere hot I can just put in enough insulin to last 3 days, rather than worry about a full cartridge getting too hot over the week it’d be in the pump.

      Great news that you might be getting a pump. Of course the most important thing you should do to prepare is read our pumping FAQs section http://www.shootuporputup.co.uk/resources/about-diabetes/pumps-faqs/ !

    2. Lesley

      Mine does! I’m on a Roche Spirit Combo, and use Insuman Infusat (because I’m also a DiaPort user). Glass cartridge = easy replacement and fewer bubbles!

      Love this post and all the responses, by the way. Actually made me laugh out loud!

  3. Spikey

    Russian roulette, do I chance pulling down a tiny bit more just to get a couple of more units in it? It’s bad enough when the syringe doesn’t seem to make a seal with the reservoir and you get a few drops on ur hands!!!

  4. lady up north

    We open all the windows and go to the pub.
    Please tell me you either a] closed the windows before you went out or b] have a very fierce burglar-eating dog !

      1. Alison Post author

        Good answer! I was going to say that I was banking on the smell being so vile that it kept them out. But I should probably be honest and say that yes we did close the windows, but that seemed a bit of information that was too dull to bother with. Damn, you now know that I don’t tell you absolutely everything on this blog. My facade of openness has been blown away by your dectective skills @ladyupnorth 🙂

          1. lady up north

            @Tim If you only skim read my reply, surely you would have thought I meant a very fierce burger-eating dog . (Read it again if you don’t spot the difference lol)

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