Counting Clicks

I like to count. I do it all the time and although it’s not always intentional, it’s also not always voluntary. For example, if a train is going by, I will count how many cars it has. If I hear a clock bell chiming, I will always count the number of times it rings, even if I know what time it is. I don’t know why I do this, but that’s just the way my mind works.

So when I take an insulin injection using an insulin pen, I like to count the units as they go in. That is, until I changed insurance and needed to switch from Novolog Flexpen to the Humalog “Kwikpen.”  This was the first time I noticed that my counting had become a problem – because I am frustrated that I can no longer do it. And so, I do not like the Kwikpen.

Besides the “creative” (aka, trademark-able) spelling, my main problem with the Humalog Kwikpen is that I can no longer count the clicks unit-by-unit. I know, I don’t need to do this, as I have already dialed up the dose I intend to take. Even so, I miss the click-click-click of insulin delivery.

Why did Lilly change to this pen design? I’m not entirely sure. I suspect people wanted something more subtle and didn’t like the noise made by the previous click-by-unit pens. But I don’t like estimating how much insulin has gone in and how much is left to be injected.

In addition to that, I prefer to inject pretty slowly. While I’ll usually rip a band-aide right off, I’m a little slower when it comes to needles. I like to think that by injecting insulin slowly, I can take part of the sting away from the insulin going in, or at least, that it will spread out the stinging feeling so it’s not an all-at-once intensity. But there is less control with the Kwikpen and I don’t feel there is an ability to inject quite so slowly. I guess the idea is that it goes faster. Or, I mean, “kwiker.”

At the end of the injection, I invariably press the plunger button a few more times – not because I think there is more insulin to dispense, but because I don’t feel anything has signified a the hard, defined stop that other insulin pens have. For me this signifies that the injection is final. Instead, I can smush the plunger button up and down for no reason until I’ve convinced myself that the injection is complete.

Above all, I miss counting the clicks. As sad as it sounds, I like to do the math in my mind, “one, two, three, four, three more units to go!” I don’t know what I do this, but it’s comforting somehow. Maybe it provides the illusion of control. Maybe I just like doing math to keep me from getting bored. Am I the only one who does this? I don’t know. But it continues to bother me that I can’t count the clicks as I’m injecting with the Kwikpen.

It all comes down to this sad little image that is the absolute extent of my digital editing skills:

And no matter how much I try to convince myself, that need to count things is not translating to obsessively counting carbohydrates…