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 still 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. After all, despite probably being enough to kill 4 Shoot Up 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.