On 11th January 1922, Leonard Thompson, a 14 Year old boy with diabetes at Toronto General Hospital, was given the 1st insulin injection. Yes, this is the day when insulin was used for the first time to treat diabetes in human beings.

During the clinical tests at the University of Toronto, an injection of Bovine or Beef insulin was administered to Leonard Thompson by Endocrinologists Fredrick Banting, who was doing research on extracting insulin from the pancreas.

Read the brief History of Diabetes

The injection was so impure that the boy suffered a severe allergic reaction and further injections were cancelled. Moreover, further work improved the extract and on 23rd January, second injection of purified Ox pancreas extract was administered which was successful. By year 1923, the insulin had become widely available, saving countless lives around the world.

My first insulin shot

“Why me? The first question came to mind when I was diagnosed with Diabetes. I got nervous about getting injections or medical tests and scared about how diabetes will affect future health” Madhumita was sharing her story of a 1st insulin shot. “I have had times when the challenges felt like too much, but I try to stay positive and look for workarounds. There is always another way” she added.

Emotions with first insulin injection;

  1. Denial: The patient denies insulin shots once the doctor advises them. Many-a-time, there are many myths and misunderstandings related to insulin.
  2. Hopelessness: Many patients show the inability to cope with Insulin treatment. They feel guilty of the needle pricks. They shy away of the injections.
  3. Anxiety and Distress: These are often encountered during this phase. The patient lands up in stress, fear, worry, etc. Sometimes, needle phobia could be an obstacle to taking injections.
  4. Anger or hatred: Furious behaviour on diagnosis of diabetes or over insulin injections.

Some common queries about insulin initiation;

  1. What if I didn’t react like others to insulin?
  2. Would it be painless or with severe pain?
  3. How many pricks a day?
  4. Any other substitute or replacement to insulin prick?
  5. I heard that insulin causes hypoglycemia. What if I observe it at midnight?
  6. My neighbor is on oral drugs. Am I failed?
  7. Would it lead to weight gain?
  8. Will my life revolve around insulin? A social stigma.
  9. Is it an option of last resort?

The insulin initiation creates a complex variety of emotions in persons with diabetes. The motivation is required for these patients to accept, initiate, and adhere to Insulin therapy.

Reference: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.guv

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