18w, 1dDiabetic Bronies
So. It had come to this.
She stood in her bathroom, looking at the supplies neatly arranged in front of her. A box of pre-packaged alcohol swabs. A big red container with a yellow and red sticker on it, warning of its contents—or, more accurately, the contents it was about to receive. A big bag of long and narrow cylinders, orange on one end, white on the other.
And an innocuous-looking little glass bottle with a bright orange top, filled with a milky fluid. Ponulin 70/30.
She’d heard all the potential horrors of her condition: nerve damage, kidney failure, blindness. Done her very best to avoid this day. Moderating her sugar intake as best she could, even though having Sugarcube Corner right there had made it hard. Getting exercise on a regular basis … well, as regular as she could manage, what with one thing and another. Taking the pills, first white, then white and green, then white and green and brown.
But her numbers kept going up. 125 became 150 became 200. 7.8 became 8.2 became 10.3. And finally Doctor Sticker had made it official: she needed to start taking insulin.
She looked up at the bathroom mirror. Blue eyes met violet, and they both smiled. At least her friend was here for her; she didn’t know if she could have managed this alone.
“Okay, just follow the list,” her friend said. Twilight was good at following lists.
Step one. Wash hooves and gather supplies. To expose plunger, twist white cap to break seal, then pull off.
“Doesn’t this count as two or three steps?” she wondered. Her friend just smiled and shook her head.
“You’re stalling,” her friend said. It was true.
Step two. Wipe top of insulin bottle with an alcohol swab. If you are taking cloudy insulin, roll the bottle between your hooves until it is uniformly cloudy. Never shake a bottle of insulin.
She blinked, taking another look at the Ponulin bottle as she cleaned it. “It says ‘shake carefully’. Why would it say ‘shake carefully’ if you’re not supposed to shake it at all?”
“Doctor Sticker said it was okay if you shook it, remember?” her friend said. That made it two to one. She picked the bottle up gingerly and gave it itty bitty shakes for a moment, until her friend, sighing, took it away from her and began shaking with more vigor, though still gently.
“I’ve been doing this for a few years now, okay?” her friend said. “It’s really not that big a deal.”
She couldn’t help but be nervous, but nonetheless she offered a smile, taking the bottle back.
Step three. To expose needle, twist orange cap, then pull straight off, being careful not to bend the needle or let needle touch anything. Done. The needle was surprisingly thin. Her blood-testing lancets were bigger, and they didn’t have to put anything into her body.
Step four. Pull plunger down to let desired units of air into syringe. You need air in the syringe equal to the amount of insulin you will take. It was tricky getting the plunger at just the right spot, even with Twilight’s magic helping out, but she managed.
Step five. Push needle through the center of rubber top of insulin bottle and push plunger down completely. There was a little white circle in the center of the orange top, and sure enough, the needle went right through it.
Step six. Leave needle in the insulin bottle. Carefully turn bottle and syringe upside down, so the bottle is on top. She watched the little bubble of air in the bottle rise, the insulin hiding the needle completely.
Step seven. Pull plunger down slowly, aligning the thin black line of plunger with desired number of units on the syringe. “You should put a little extra in at first,” her friend suggested, and she nervously complied.
Step eight. If air bubbles appear in syringe, push plunger down, injecting insulin back into vial and redraw insulin to desired number of units. That was why she’d drawn some extra, she supposed, clearing the air from the top of the syringe. Pull syringe out of bottle. There was no sign of a hole in the rubber once she’d done so. The tip of the needle glistened with a tiny cloudy drop.
Step nine. Clean a small area of skin with an alcohol swab. Let alcohol dry completely before injecting. The nurse had said she didn’t need to do that if she was injecting in her stomach, but she did it anyway. The coolness of the swab was soothing, and she needed some soothing.
Step ten. It was a long one, so she read it all the way through.
Hold syringe like a pencil. Done.
Pinch up your skin. A bit awkward, but done.
Push the needle quickly through the skin.
She looked nervously at her friend, needle hovering just over her stomach, near her thigh.
“Just a hop, skip, and a—” Pinkie said. The needle went in.
And it didn’t hurt. Okay, it hurt maybe a tiny little bit, but the lancets hurt way worse than that. It felt more like she was poking herself with a pin than actually sticking one into her. She wouldn’t even be sure it was in there if not for feeling the body of the syringe bumping up against her.
Push the insulin in with the plunger. She felt a brief cool sensation. The bottle’s packaging had said she didn’t need to keep it in the fridge now that she’d used it once, so hopefully next time would be even more comfortable.
Pull the needle out of your skin. Destroy and dispose of needle safely, following your local ordinances. Use syringe only once. She put the caps on the syringe, orange and white, then dropped it into the sharps container.
Twilight Sparkle and Pinkie Pie shared a smile of relief. It had been one thing for her friend to tell her that diabetes wasn’t the end of the world. It had been another to learn for herself that insulin was just another thing to add to her daily routine.
“You can handle this by yourself next time, right?” her friend asked.
She smiled and nodded, then swept her friend into a hug. “Thanks, Twilight. That was super duper scary! But I feel like a silly filly now that I’ve actually done it.”
Twilight smiled a bit awkwardly, but put a foreleg around Pinkie and returned the hug. “I felt the same way my first time,” she admitted. The look Pinkie gave her on drawing back told her this was not exactly a surprise.
“Well, I better take my pills now,” Pinkie said, pouring a glass of water, then washing down the pills. White, green, brown … and blue. “You know, you really should talk to Doctor Sticker about your anxiety,” she added. “The sertraline’s really helped me!”
Twilight fidgeted. “… I’ll think about it,” she said.