If you’ve missed my last few posts, I am currently in San Jose, California attending a diabetes conference at the Johnson & Johnson Diabetes Institute.
Today was jam-packed full of new diabetes knowledge encompassing everything from reimbursement guidelines to pharmaceuticals to motivational interviewing to GIVING MYSELF INJECTIONS!!
That’s right, I gave myself a saline injection just as a diabetic would do if requiring insulin. I know how to teach injections, but I’ve never given myself one before! RD’s traditionally hold a HANDS-OFF role in health care, but this is rapidly changing. The role of the dietitian is quickly broadening to include much more of what I consider to be the “fun stuff”! 😉
[Fact: Some RD’s in progressive teaching hospitals are inserting naso-gastric tubes in patients — a tube inserted up the nose and down through the esophagus and into the stomach for feeding. How cool!]
If you are an RD or RD-to-be, embrace this increasing span of care. These new responsibilities as medical providers ensure you are a top-notch provider and create more autonomy for your profession! Hello, job security and better reimbursement rates!
Anyways, I digress.
We learned a method of injection called the “Daniel Method”. Basically, you gently place the tip of the needle on the cleaned and sanitized entrance site. You take a deep breath and then look down. More times than not, the needle slides right in. If not, a very light pressure will insert the needle. I was telling my husband about this exercise and for those outside the medical world, it is a little bizzare to think about….30 some medical professionals of all shapes and sizes, lifting their shirts/dresses and injecting themselves with…nothing. It’s amazing to me how many nurses, Nurse Practitioners, and Physician Assistants had never injected themselves! I was not alone! Did it hurt? Not a bit! I didn’t even know the needle went in!
THEN we move on to insulin pumps. Insulin pumps are a great tool for insulin-dependent diabetics (type 1 or 2), most commonly seen in type 1 diabetics (usually appearing in young children when diagnosed). The pump entrance is injected and then adhered to the body with a strong tape. There is very small tubing that leads from the entrance site to a small pump that looks just like a beeper, worn traditionally on the waist band of pants and skirts.
I am the first to admit I know very little about insulin pumps as most of the diabetics I work with are 1) type 2 and avoiding insulin at all costs and 2) poor. Insulin pumps are SPENDY! The one you see in these pictures retails for over $6,000!!!
I thought inserting the insulin pump would be painful. Hello, another needle into my fluffy belly!! Again, wrong. Didn’t feel a thing. It’s hanging out down there and other than carrying the pump with me, I have no reminder of it being there. I worked out with the pump, showered with the pump (water-proof!), and slept with the pump. A change, for sure.
When I first inserted the pump, I was mad. Why and how will I be wearing this? Mind you, for the next 24 hours. Can you imagine having one inserted to be with you FOREVER?
Talk about empathy. Empathy I would’ve never felt had I not come to this conference and had this experience. In that moment, I truly understood denial of the disease. And as I type this with sore fingers from testing my blood glucose just 5 times yesterday, I empathize with my patients who test 7 times a day…every day. Because it’s what’s best for their disease management.
Wow, just wow. What an eye-opening, humbling dose of diabetic reality.
And I won’t forget the food… 🙂
We also went to a really nice seafood restaurant for dinner in downtown San Jose (Scott’s, for those in the area). The view of the city was BEAUTIFUL and so was the food! Too bad that in this fine establishment we tested our blood glucose at the table…all 30 of us, and then proceeded to carb-count our meals and enter it in to our pump. You know, so we were sure to get enough saline 😉
I need to head off to day #2…and tonight is dinner with Andrea!
Question: Knowing what I just shared, do you think you could give yourself an injection? Or have you given yourself an injection before?