Giving yourself insulin shots doesn’t have to hurt.
“You usually give yourself a shot on your stomach or your thighs, and it’s not that sensitive,” says Williams. “I actually think the finger prick when you test your blood sugar hurts much more, because your fingers are more sensitive.”
If the initial prick bothers you, Williams has learned a trick from going to the dentist. “Jiggle your skin just a bit as you put the needle in,” she says. “My dentist would do this when giving me Novocain, and it made the shot much less painful.”
If you’re using a pen syringe, as many people do, Williams advises taking it easy on the force. “Sometimes the syringes stick a little and you have to force them a bit, and you don’t realize you’re pushing so hard,” she says. “I used to think, ‘Hey, where’d I get that bruise on my leg from?’ Now I hold onto the bottom of the syringe as I press down so I don’t push too hard.”
Transporting insulin is easier than you think.
For a long time, Williams thought she had to keep all her insulin refrigerated, even the vial she was using at that time. “I was shooting it into my skin cold, which was uncomfortable!” she recalls.
But then she found out that only the extra vials of insulin have to be refrigerated. “You can keep your open vial at room temperature. Just don’t let it get excessively hot,” Williams says. “That was nice to realize. Now when I go to the yarn store, I just stick the vial and syringe into my pocketbook, or I keep it at the side of my desk when I’m working on the computer so I don’t have to run to the refrigerator.”
Saul notes that even going out to dinner with your insulin is easier these days. “With the insulin pens we have now, injecting is very easy and can even be discreetly done at the dinner table.”
Flying with insulin is usually not a problem, Saul says. “The TSA has become educated about this subject.” To be safe, however, she advises carrying a “travel letter” from your doctor with you whenever you must go through airport security with your insulin.
Practice good insulin management.
“You need to understand the action time of your insulin,” Saul explains. “For example, rapid-acting insulins start acting in about 10 to15 minutes. They peak in about two hours, and last about four hours in the body. So it’s important not to take additional injections to correct your blood sugar during that time.” Familiarize yourself with when you need to take your specific type of insulin, when it will start to work, what its peak times are, and how long one dose of insulin will last.