770

November 18, 2007

In the last fourteen months I have administered roughly 770 insulin shots. Our cat, Nekko, is diabetic and as such requires twice daily shots to survive.

At first I wasn't very good at giving her the shots. The terribly brief instruction I was given, before brining her home from the hospital, did nothing to allay my fears about the whole thing. There are some cats who are cuddly, pick-me-up-and-hold-me cats. Nekko is not one of those. In fact, after picking her up she will avoid you for several days. Not good behavior if you need to inject her every 12-hours.

The first month after she was diagnosed I was lucky to administer one shot a day. The doctor, rightfully so, admonished me that she had to get her shots every 12 hours. Insulin isn't a drug that builds up in your system, there's no saturation to fall back on if you miss a dosage. Insulin is a hormone that the body requires and isn't something that can be stored. It would be weeks before I hit upon the idea of blocking most of the space under the bed, where she liked to hide, so that I could reach her there for her shots. And it has only been in the weeks since our move this summer, that she has allowed me to give her shots while she was stretched out on the couch in our home office.

Beginning late last October and continuing through today, I have given her a shot twice a day, every day, except when were were out of town. On those occasions she has spent time at the vet's, being boarded and having them administer her injections.

I am happy to say that her blood sugar levels are much better than when she first was diagnosed. She was ketonic in September 2006, with a blood sugar count approaching 400. While normal is somewhere around 100, we've been successful in keeping her under 200, in the 160 range, for some time now. The vet says that given her age this is a good maintenance level for her. Cats respond to human insulin replacement therapy, but sometimes unpredictably so. We keep a close watch on her to gauge whether or not she is over or under reacting to her shots.

In the three months that we've lived in the townhouse she has been out more, and playful more than in a long time. I think she feels better - she certainly looks and acts better.

I hope to administer thousands more shots in her lifetime, one every twelve hours.

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Mark H. Nichols

I am a husband, cellist, code prole, nerd, technologist, and all around good guy living and working in fly-over country. You should follow me on Twitter.