Nose Dive!

Well, for the second time in three years I did something really stupid.

Okay, so I do really stupid things everyday, but this one was exceptionally, really stupid.

I tested after my shift last night while the bartender coming on shift was double counting the cash drawer that soon would be his responsibility. I was a bit high and thought, “2u of Novolog should do it…”

I then remembered that it was just a little after 9pm and I needed my 10u of Lantus.


I reached in my purse and my A.D.D. brain crossed the two pieces of information.

I then proceeded to draw 10u of Novolog and shot up. The instant my thumb released the from the plunger… my heart… sank.

Did I just do what I think I did?

I twist the vial sitting on the counter so I could take a second look at the label.

D*&N IT! I DID! I crossed my units with the type. I’m headed for a trip down the black hole!

I yell to my co-worker to give me ALL of the orange juice in the cooler… NOW!!!

The next two hours were a very painful jet plane nose dive to the bottom and back up… and-down-and-up-and-down until I finally leveled out.

I stayed at work so I could be around people. As my numbers plummeted, I calmly filled out a sheet of paper, critical info, instructions for paramedics, keys/personal items/laptop/and dog to my co-worker and thought how lonely, small, and helpless it made me feel.

“If I drop, call 9-1-1 and give them this paper… then take my things and do this/that…”

I could feel my coworker and neighborhood friends building a silent moat and pulling up the drawbridge. I maintained my calm and kept a nonchalant, instructive stance to ease their discomfort, but I could feel their own fear… she’s fallible… and none of us are getting any younger… that could be me.

It was a very scary, humbling, lonely, yet not alone, experience. But I’m also not stupid, I’m thankful I caught the mistake when I released the plunger and could drive my recovery with me wits about me.

The same thing happened 18 months ago. A friend caught it while I was barreling past a 35 reading… THAT was EXTREMELY painful and the world was starting to go black around me… I was lucky that my friend was experienced… otherwise it would have been a trip to the E.R. So, I moved my Lantus to the bottom shelf and the Novolog to the top shelf to keep from mixing them up again.

It is such an easy, easy mistake to make. And I have perfect eye sight. How do older people with ailing sight keep from making this mistake? Does anyone have any tricks to the trade? What about those who are blind? Are there brail versions of vials? It seems so many people take this combination, it would be great if one of the bottles were square instead of round. Or, if the label background was a different color or the font and layout were different.

Has anyone else had this problem?

I am no longer in MDI’s, but I did that before. And I lived alone. Basically I made myself sick by drinking Mt. Dew. :slight_smile: And called a friend to let them know what happened so they could call me back to check on me.
It’s scary.

You’re not the only one. I read a message on TuD less than a month ago by someone who did the same thing (I forget who, otherwise I’d link to it). I think the reason they made the Lantus bottle taller and narrower was to avoid that kind of thing, but it doesn’t seem to work.

Fortunately, I never mixed Novolog with Lantus; that’s one of the unintended benefits of using a pen for short-acting and a syringe/vial for long-acting insulin. But what I have done is mix my evening and morning dose. My doctor had split my Lantus into twice a day, not equal doses. I know the feeling of pushing in the plunger and then being stricken by fear – did I just inject 15 units instead of 5? Only there’s really no way to know for sure.

Or sometimes, Lantus had become such second-nature to me that I forgot if I took it that night, or feared I might have done it twice.

“The instant my thumb released the from the plunger… my heart… sank.”

I know the feeling.

Yes, there is a GREAT trick of the trade. I don’t remember what they’re called, but there are specially shaped rubber tops for your insulin vials that I saw recently on an accessories website (don’t remember which one). They are like a red square top for one and a blue hexagon for the other or something. Sorry I don’t have more details. But I thought it was ingenious. I never made that mistake when on MDI but I have a friend - a T1 veteran of over 30 years - who recently had that happen. She said she and her husband had a DVD marathon and ate pizza and juice all night after that!

LOL done it… jiminy christmas, I think I invented this game… not quite the way you played it last night, but sure, been there done that before. Massive over doing for “short acting” insulin buys the equivelent soda/food(s)…

Not close to a litre of soda ever before but have one around here someplace if it ever happens again. No harm, no foul… don’t make a habit of it… You should work out some ritual, a specific ritual that will avoid this one, if possible.

Know lots of poeple who’ve done this one.

Yep, done that also. I took more of Apidra, thinking it was the Lantus dose. Like you, realized it immediately as my heart sunk to my toes. Starting shaking for fear of what would happen as I raced towards the fridge for orange juice.

Since that incident, I put bright red nail polish on the Apidra bottle. I also just started keeping the Lantus in the fridge since finding out it’s so delicate.

Hi Desiree. Some times I dont remember if have taked my lantus at nigth… and start to asking every body at home if they see my self taking one or two shots … its frustrating thraing to remember and be no sure about… I haven find a trick yet… for my it dificult to mix lantus with humalog because the vials are diferent lantus is tinni and humalog is a little fat…
Tha only thing that come to my imagination is use one yellow ticker on your lantus vial and one red ticker in your novo fast acting one.
and the most importan is check your sugar frecuently and take extra cheks if you compensate with extra fast acting insulin. One recomendation that works for me its never compensate if you last shot was in less than 3 hours …

When I was taking injections, I used to keep a big rubber band wrapped around my rapid acting insulin. It was a tactile and visual reminder that it wasn’t the long acting insulin.

I know the feeling… there is only so much orange juice/pop a body can consume in one sitting!

I used to have the pen/vial combination and it certainly was easier to keep from confusing the two

Thanks, Melissa. I’ll Google it… I’m sure it will turn up somewhere.

Ritual… for me, that is what is so hard about this disease.

I’m the least ritualistic person I know. Not irresponsible or scatter-brained, just used to a fast paced life style. I’ve been trying to pare down my workload and slow down my life…

It is, at least, a big challenge.

What is behind the delicate nature of Lantus? I still have so much to learn…

I do the same sometimes… and typically get five different answers if I ask five people around me. lol!

I think I’ll develop some sort of portable, wearable write-on/wipe-off board. That way I can log what I’ve done and wear it on my forearm for my senior moments.

I’m a pumper now but did that many,many times before I got on the pump!! Your not alone in this! Just remember we’re human and as humans we make alot of mistakes! It’s great that you had things ready for the parameditcs so if something happened they knew what to do for you and you had enough where with all to know you had made the mistake and informed those around you what had happened. I read your and Cara’s commits about constantly drinking grinks to bring yourselves up. Done that one too plus went through all the cabnits and ate everything I could get my hands on to stop from falling just to wake up in the ER and then the lovely Dr there saying I needed to eat before I was sent home!!! Don’t you just love that rollercoaster after you do something like that,low then high,then low then high again!! That gets my LAST nerve!!! One other thing I have a glucon kit which when that happens I use to bring myself back up. Have you talked to your dr about getting one…Well make that 2 one for at home that you can leave in the fridge at home and another to put in a frige at work or another thing I do is if I know there’s no fridge where I’m going I just drop it in my purse and tell everyone around me how to mix up the liquid and gloucoes in it and make sure they don’t feel like they can’t give me a shot. I tell them that the low could kill me but the shot won’t it may in the long run save my life. They really get the pic when I start to seize and foam at the mouth! HA!!

Don’t beat yourself up; we’ve all done “stupid” things that we knew as soon as we did it, but couldn’t take back. I wear a pump and have done things like counted my carbs wrong and taken way too much insulin, forgotten to bolus for a meal, etc. The fortunate thing is you realized your mistake right away and did all the right things:)

Wow you acted great after a simple mistake and recovered! Way to go! What really frustrates me is that there are many of us suffering with this sort of crap - all the time. I know I have even endangerd the life of our son due to low a blood sugar I had while driving! I really do not think it has to be this way. I am tired of the BS from pharmecuticals that they are working on a cure. It is time! Seems like the med giants are living like it is ok to have to deal with this (profit in testing supplies and diabetes supplies?) and I am tired and ready for a cure. Anyone else?

PS thanks for letting me vent.

Thanks for reminding us that those of us who are (now) pumpers aren’t immune to dumb mistakes! There are quite a few times when I meant to tell my pump that my blood sugar is 115, but instead input that I was having 115 carbs! Fortunately, the Minimed gives me a chance to verify that I really want to give myself 15 units of insulin, and if I overlook that, it so slow in delivering it that I’ve got plenty of time to abort the delivery.

I have truley ejoyed all the responses you have recieved. I just reviewed them with my husband who now travels the majority of the time. We have gone through so much of that, before the pump. And even a few times since. I could tell you stories. I have 2 very responsible kids who are now 24 and 26. And there are times even now I will call at night and say check with me in the morning. Your friends and co works are all the right kind of people to be around. Lucky you. You at least had a advance warning… Being alone makes you more aware of what is going on. When Dick is home I seem to have laspes . I know it is just because I know I do not have to be on guard. Should do that all the time, but its nice to share the load sometimes. Hang in there. Don’t worry it just makes all of us human. Thank you so much for sharing

Thank you for your kind words. You are right, the people around you make a difference.

So, oddly, do my pets.

My first severely serious low (which today is the single serious scary number I’ve reached, thank goodness!) was in the wee hours of the morning. My cat pounced on me until I woke up. I thought he was bugging me to go out or feed him. When I got up, I fell to the floor. I barely crawled to the fridge for juice, but made a point to test first. I was 3 months into T1 and my blood sugar was 29 and felt like I was falling farther, fast… I wanted to know what number to associate with that awful, painful feeling.

An insane amount of orange juice brought me back up to level out. Once I leveled out, the cat curled at my feet and fell confidently asleep.

My puppy is the same way… only she seems to notice both my highs and lows… it is strange. She is so smart at 4 months that I’m seriously considering training her to be my own service dog. LOL!