While my insulin therapy isn’t anything monumental or ground-breaking, it feels relatively unique within my circle of diabetes co-conspirators. Nearly everyone I’ve met that is part of the Wilford Brimley Fan Club uses an insulin pump. For the record, Ginger uses syringes, but you get the point. From what I’ve seen, insulin pens are the back-up, not the go-to. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, it’s just an observation. One riddled with flaws, but it’s my observation.
For those of you that are new to the program, my insulin therapy consists of two insulins – Humalog and Lantus – both delivered through the always-awesome insulin pen. If you want to get specific, my old Humalog pen has a burgundy stripe going up the side, my new Humalog pen is a “KwikPen” and Lantus is delivered through the lovely SoloStar model.
I’m not going to suggest my form of insulin therapy over another, to each their own. If it works for you, that’s great. As of this post, I am relatively pleased with how these toys work for me. I start each day with six unused insulin pen needles in my right pocket and slowly transfer them to my left pocket after each injection. The pens aren’t too awkward to carry in my front pockets, being pens and all, they come equipped with a clip. If only I had a pocket protector designed for insulin pens, surely someone out there has developed such a product. (RIP Lesley Nielson)
Between the three pens, the KwikPen is probably the best as far as actual insulin delivery – you know, their primary purpose in life. The old Humalog pens clicked for each unit you wanted to inject but made no sounds during the actual delivery phase of insulin. Lantus’ SoloStar pens click for each desired unit before delivery and click for each unit during delivery. KwikPens click before delivery but make no noise during delivery.
I stress the clicking before and during delivery because these aren’t syringes. With a syringe you can clearly see what you are injecting and there is no doubt when you have finished your injection. With these pens, there is a little gray area after you think you’ve injected all of your bolus where doubt begins to creep in. “Is that all of it?” If you dial up 10 units, but only inject 7 or 8, problems will arise. I rarely felt confident in my ability to give myself a full injection with the older Humalog pens, and that’s not something I enjoy typing considering how many injections I’ve taken with this stuff. Most of the time I wait until the injection button is completely depressed and then do a silent count to ten. Admittedly, the speed of my count varies upon a variety of factors – mood, pending meal, position of the sun, phase of the moon, number of unread items in my Google Reader – but the point is, I have to wait and even then, it’s never a sure thing.
With the Lantus SoloStar, I get the reassuring ‘tick’ noise for each unit of not-24-hour-lasting insulin being delivered, but I still have to do a silent count before removing the pen needle from the injection site. The audible feedback I get from the SoloStar pen is great, but it still doesn’t guarantee a full dose.
The KwikPen is a little bit better at the full dose thing. The best way to describe how this pen works is by making you watch this video of anti-shut drawers. Watch at the very end when it slow-closes for the last inch or so:
Now imagine that for an insulin pen.
If you get a chance to watch the dose window of a KwikPen, it actually ‘slow closes’ from 1 to 0. As if to say, “Hang on, there’s still work to be done here”, the extra seconds required for the pen to tell me it’s finished make all the difference in my perception of the effectiveness of the pen. Sure, it’s probably doing a splendid (splenda?) job of performing its primary task, but if I don’t have any confidence in my ability to bolus, what’s the point?
Bottom line: I’ve yet to experience the “perfect” insulin pen, but the KwikPen succeeds where its peers (that I have used) failed.