|Posted by Ryan on September 29, 2011 at 3:50 PM|
I’ve had 2 incidents of insulin going bad on me in the past few months during my travels. I’d like to share my experiences with this.
Expired insulin is sometimes hard to notice because it wont stop working completely. It will still work, but depending on how spoiled it is, it will be less potent. So it is tough to know if your insulin is bad, or if you just had a bit too much at your last meal.
The first time my insulin went bad I was in Bolivia (see my previous post with my videos from the Puma and Jaguar refuge). The camp I was living on while working here had no electricity, and therefore no refrigeration. I found a small village about 20 minutes away and a nice lady agreed to let me keep my little blue cooler (see above) in her refrigerator which she uses for soft drinks. After a month and a half of working at the camp I left and I retrieved my cooler and a fresh pen. The next couple of days I noticed really bad blood sugar control. A meal that would take 3-5 units of insulin was taking 6-8 units or more, and wasn't very predictable.
I’m guessing this soft drink refrigerator was not kept on all the time. The village was very remote and I imagine they only turned it on when they knew they’d have some business. Also, electricity was very unpredictable, so I’m sure they lost power a few times while my bag was there.
The shop where my insulin was stored
My next stop after Bolivia was Mexico. I decided to stock back up on my supplies there. Buying insulin in Mexico was surprisingly easy. I was able to find cartiriges of humalog at several pharmacies (no prescription needed and pretty cheap. I had a generic reusable pen that fit the cartiges, but I went to the Lilly office in Mexico City and they gave me a new pen for free. I had heard about pens that administer half units (usually aimed for children), I asked for one of these, since it gives me much tighter control of my doses. They had one and gave it to me!