I imagine all people with chronic illness have a complex relationship with the medications they need to survive. From the time of my diagnosis with type 1 diabetes I’ve felt grateful that I live in a place and a time where insulin is easily available, knowing that without it I would have died.
But gratefulness doesn’t sum up the way I feel towards my medication. I have found that I actually have very specific feelings towards the brands and companies that make the medications and devices I use. For example, before I started on the pump I was frustrated with my Lantus insulin. I had started taking it because my doctor thought it would help me control my nighttime blood sugar levels. I think it helped a bit, but I never found the correct dose and I always felt frustrated with myself and with Lantus.
When I went on the pump, almost three months ago, my doctor asked me which insulin I wanted to use in my pump, Sanofi’s Apidra (which I was already using in a pen) or Novo Nordisk’s Novorapid (Novolog insulin is marketed outside the US under the name Novorapid) .
I immediately said: “Novorapid”.
The decision was based on nothing but feelings I had developed towards Sanofi because of my frustration with Lantus insulin.
I’ve learned that pumpers also have feelings about their pumps which usually translate into brand loyalty or frustration with the makers of their pumps.
All of this occurred to me when Jessica and I were walking past the pharmacy near our home just as a truck pulled up and parked. The truck said Novolog in giant letters and for some strange reason this made me happy.
“Jess, look, it’s the Novolog truck!” I said.
“Novolog truck!” Jess said. “But where’s that cute little blue Novo Nordisk bull logo? Why is the Novolog truck green and white?”
“Maybe there’s another Novolog,” I said.
“Another Novolog? How dare they!”
Jess was joking, but I could sense in her voice that she was feeling protective of our Novolog.
“We need a picture,” I said.
Jess and I approached the truck. The driver stared at us. I felt silly and tried to explain myself to him, flashing my pump as I said, “I have type 1 diabetes.” He gave me a WTF look and continued to unload the truck.
After the picture taking Jess and I joked about how lucky we were that it wasn’t the real Novolog truck. “A rapid insulin truck,” I said, “we’d never have been fast enough to take its picture.”