What to do When You Forget Your Insulin

Updated: Sep 19, 2018

Last Wednesday morning I was happily perched on the LUAS en route to work. It was my third day at my new job and I had already settled into a nice little routine. Up at 7, out the door by 8 and on the LUAS at ten past, to beat the morning rush. I had my lunch packed from the night before and my new notebook in the bag. I've probably never felt so assembled in my whole entire life. However, that lovely, rare feeling of being prepared and organised was soon snatched away from me. I had forgotten not only my insulin, but my entire bag full of my diabetes bits.

Type 1 Diabetes

For those who aren’t diabetic, the best comparison would be realising you’ve forgotten your mum’s birthday but with ten times the amount of dread and fear. Anyway, I naturally started panicking. I had forgotten my insulin before, but this time was different. I had a 9-5 day of work ahead of me and no one to drop it into me. I google searched my options and the results sent my stress levels through the roof. The only advice that I found was to either starve myself all day, or eat and disregard my sugar levels. Both pieces of advice were absolutely useless and dangerous.

If I didn’t eat all day I would have zero energy, be unable to concentrate and risk having a low blood sugar level from skipping a meal. Even if I didn’t have a low, I’d be left with the horrible prospect of having one and not being able to check. The second option was an automatic no-go for me. I feel exhausted and drained with a high blood sugar for one hour, never mind eight. So, I came to the conclusion that I’d just have to figure out something myself. This is what I did.

Type 1 Diabetes

Firstly, I walked. I have an hour lunch break and I walked for twenty minutes of it. This was to ensure that if my blood sugar was a little higher than average already, it would go down to a healthy level. Next, I ate. The one thing that I had to accept was that if I ate that day I would have to sacrifice a tasty lunch for a practical one. So I went to the food section in Dunnes Stores, got a salad box and filled it with boiled eggs. I also took apart my wrap that I had made the night before and picked out the tuna from it. Most food shops have a salad counter with boiled eggs available, but if not I would advise to just buy a tin of tuna or a packet of pre-cooked chicken. Protein won’t make a significant impact on blood sugar levels so the best choice is a bland source of protein that’s easy to eat. Energy levels need to be prioritised over taste buds!! I then continued walking after eating so that if the proteins and fats did increase my sugar levels slightly, they would decrease again.

When I arrived home, my blood sugar was 7.0 and I have never been so proud of myself. Everybody is different and I realise that just because this worked for me it may not work as well for every diabetic. However, I wanted to share this as an idea to help anyone who is faced with the same dilemma some day. Starving yourself or sacrificing your healthy blood sugar levels are not the only options if you forget your insulin!

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