Still life with insulin part two: Needles make the outfit

My Type Two retired professor friend bequeathed me this brooch and twenty-five others, all silver, all exquisite. She’s not dying but she’s probably closer to it than I am.


Then again, I’m more diabetic than she is.


At her age you would think diabetes is just something else in the mix but it’s a bigger deal than that. She dreads the finger-sticks. She asks how often I do it. I do it a lot. I tell her to rotate which finger so the pads don’t turn hard and spotted.

Her ring fingers each have a diamond ring from Tiffany & Co. in Chicago, where she has shopped every Christmastime of her adult life. Some of the brooches are from Tiffany’s. Some are from Memphis, Scotland, Washington. She loves them but she doesn’t need them any more. Now that she’s retired, she no longer wears navy blue pantsuits with pins that say, “I’ve been elsewhere. I’m here at this university on the prairie, wearing this pantsuit, but don’t make the mistake of thinking I stay here at Christmastime.”

She’s hoping I can give the pins some new life. I’m doing my best, trying to make them work with my style.

i'm trying

I’m Type One and I recently quit the insulin pump — my pancreas ex vivo — and went back to needles. You would think multiple daily injections would be more cumbersome than a pump but not really. Needles are classic and versatile. Needles are simple and sleek. They leave marks, but you’re going to get that. Even with sterling Christian Dior from Tiffany’s, you’re going to get that.


Many thanks to LeeAnn Thill’s VIAL Project for the prompt. Thanks also to Scott for cutting me out of the duct tape.

One comment on “Still life with insulin part two: Needles make the outfit

  1. allyswan says:

    Yes, and I get this. They bring me people with insulin orders that frighten me. I don’t know them. (What’s going to happen after I give that much Novolog?)

    Mostly, I don’t know their diabetes, and they aren’t able to be part of the conversation. So there I am, screaming in a deaf ear, “DRINK THIS. YOUR SUGAR IS TOO LOW. YOU HAVE TO EAT!” Obligingly, he shakes off sleep and drinks milk and munches on a sandwich. And then when the poor guy sleeps, I sneak in again to check his blood sugar one more time before I leave. It was 44 before. Now it’s 131. I can go home and not worry.

    How you do this around the clock, I cannot imagine. love, Val

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