A Brand-New Bottle of My Insulin Went Missing

Meagan Esler Who Has Type 1 Diabetes

| Jul 10, 2011

As I write this, my nineteen-year-old son is in the intensive care unit because of a heroin addiction. He is trying to stop, and the withdrawal is wreaking havoc. His body is bruised and battered beyond belief.

Last night we spent hours in the hospital, stroking his hair and talking to him as he lay there unconscious. He never knew we were there. There was an occasional tremor or eyebrow raise, and his heart rate would increase, but he never woke up.

(I should clarify that while I fully consider him my son, he is technically my stepson. I raised him since he was seven, so we pretty much leave the "step" out of it. His biological mother was an addict. She has been out of the picture since he was young.)

As a type 1 diabetic, I take five or six shots a day. I cannot imagine why people use needles if they don't have to, how they can take a beautiful healthy body and damage it.

A couple of years ago, a brand-new bottle of my insulin went missing from the refrigerator door's butter compartment. I always use the bottles in the order that the pharmacy numbered them, and as I went to the fridge to get one, I noticed that they were out of sequence. "Weird," I thought, "I must have grabbed the wrong one last time."

I didn't give it much more thought until a short time later, when my son moved out. I was cleaning his room and packing the last of his things when I discovered the purple snap-off cap to a bottle of Humalog insulin. Whenever I open a new bottle, I break the tab off the top and toss it in the garbage along with the instructions and tear strip to the box. I haven't ever opened a bottle and kept the tab.

Why would my son take a bottle of insulin? Curiosity, I suppose. It's beyond dangerous for someone without diabetes to inject insulin. It could, in fact, easily kill him. Perhaps he thought that since I act kind of drunk if my blood sugars go too low, that he could get the same effect if he tried it. Thankfully, I believe he got scared and decided against it. We never found the actual vial.

My son fell in with the wrong crowd in high school and became hooked on anything he could get his hands on, anything that would cause some sort of high. Teenage drug use has become so common. Prescription drugs seem to be the choice of most teens, which in turn, usually lead to illegal drug use. We warned our son about drugs many times. We simply never thought to speak to him about the things we considered medically necessary and safe.

I never thought to lock up my insulin. It would be really difficult actually, since a three-month supply needs to be refrigerated. All the cold medicine, pain relievers, and prescription meds remained locked away from my troubled teen, but who'd have thought to watch my insulin?

I'm praying for a new life for my son. Rather, I suppose I'm praying for his old life back, for the happy, sweet boy we used to know, before drugs.


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Categories: Prescription Meds/Drugs, Blood Sugar, Diabetes, Diabetes, Heroin Addiction, Insulin, Intensive Care, Low Blood Sugar, Teenagers, Type 1 Issues

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Posted by Anonymous on 11 July 2011

Sending prayers, Meagan!

Posted by surgical-blog on 11 July 2011

Oh very sad story. i hope your son will recover soon.

Posted by Anonymous on 12 July 2011

Hi Meagan. I'm so sorry to hear your son is going through this awful thing in life. I pray he gets better soon, and stays clean, so that he may enjoy the rest of his life.
Scary thing, never thought to lock up my insulin either.

Posted by Anonymous on 12 July 2011

My niece just delivered a baby, most certainly on heroin..WHY WHY WHY..my heart goes out to you and your family, you have my prayers

Posted by Anonymous on 14 July 2011

I am so sorry for you and your son. I can hear the love through the words you have chosen to describe this situation. I did have a thought. Would your son have emptied the bottle of insulin and possibly replaced that with another drug of choice? That way he would not have been questioned should he be pulled over, etc. I hope this is not the case, but as you stated it causes you now to almost count your bottles in the frig. I will add your family to my prayers in hopes that your son comes out of this and makes good and healthy choices for himself in the future. God bless you all.

Posted by Anonymous on 14 July 2011

heart goes out to your fam for everything it is facing. Your love will carry you all thru, and your reaching out will help those of us w/our own teens who are taking the road away from happiness.
Cecelia in Colorado.

Posted by Anonymous on 14 July 2011

I just said a prayer for your beautiful son. I have two children with T1 diabetes --- one has dabbled in drugs and alcohol. He is 22 now, seems to be doing a little better, but I know what you are going through. It is really, really difficult to see a loved one destroy his body. Will continue to pray for you, your son, and your family.

Posted by Anonymous on 14 July 2011

I too pray for you and your family. I had a family member who was addicted to heroin and many other drugs. At about your sons age this person experienced a similar situation and made a full recovery. When I say full, I mean FULL. He turned his life around, married, and he and his wife adopted children. They have a healthy and beautiful family. I wish the same for your son. Keep the faith:-)

Posted by Anonymous on 15 July 2011

Your son's story is for sure a sad one, but i believe that who ever brought him to life will help him thru it, with your help and the help of God he will make it. From the city of God Jerusalem we raise our prayers and supports to you and your son, may God bless you all.

Posted by Anonymous on 15 July 2011

As a Type 1 diabetic and recovering alcoholic I hear these diseases compared in the rooms of AA all the time. Both can kill a person quickly without the necessary help and medication. My 17 year old daughter now has 2 1/2 years of recovery after alot of work and help from many of us who understand addiction. Please use this time to find and get your support group together. You can fight for your stepson's life even if he won't. My experience tells me that an addict without a spiritual program surrounded by other addicts in recovery, is like a diabetic without insulin.

Posted by Anonymous on 15 July 2011

My heart and prayers go out to you and for you and your family. I too have spent time in the emergency room and in the ICU with my son is is an addict and has type 1 diabetes. I can only say never let go, never give up and always believe that there is a higher power to whom we can turn.

Posted by ibdd on 16 July 2011

Thank you for sharing this sad story. It is good your son has such a loving family to help him. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. We pray for a full recovery from these horrible drugs our children and friends and family are falling prey to. God be with you.

Posted by Chris Archer on 16 July 2011

Very sorry to read your story. I'm a type 1 who is far too casual about syringes. I'll pray for him and you and your entire family at church tommorow. Christ be with you.

Posted by Anonymous on 17 July 2011

First thing I thought when I heard heroin is that he took the vial of insulin to show a pharmacy that "yes, indeed I am Diabetic and need to buy syringes from you for my insulin, see I have it right here"...something to think about, maybe never know for sure

Posted by Anonymous on 21 August 2011

Have you considered seeing a psychiatrist, a psychologist or social worker? Help, effective help, is available. If your son won't go by himself, or with you, go yourself to get some helpful insights on how to deal with this situation. Professional counseling has helped me. Don't let prejudice against mental health become an obstacle to empowerment.

Posted by Anonymous on 18 September 2014

I'm a caregiver. I have client who are diabetic. We have a small metal lockbox on the fridge were we store insulin.

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