Memory Monday: Cloudy and Clear

One Monday per month, I’ll take a trip down memory lane and reflect on how much diabetes technology, education, and stigma has changed over the years. Remember when…

…it was a thing to mix insulin?

Yup, I’m referring to the days of cloudy and clear insulins – also known as NPH and Regular, respectively (insert corny Neil Patrick Harris joke here). Oh, you don’t know what I’m talking about? This is going back at least 15 years, probably more like 20, to when short-acting and long-acting insulins needed to be mixed in order to avoid having to take two separate shots. I only vaguely remember mixing my insulins, but here’s what sticks out in my memory about the process:

  • It was always “clear before cloudy” – the Regular insulin had to be drawn up in the syringe first to avoid getting any of the cloudy insulin into the clear vial.
  • The cloudy insulin needed to be rolled between the hands before inserting a syringe into it…I can’t remember why. Maybe to help bring it to room temperature, or make sure it was adequately mixed?
I definitely do not miss the days of filling these bad boys with two different kinds of insulin.
  • Drawing the insulins into a single syringe was nerve-wracking as hell. Precision was everything.
  • Air bubbles! They ruined everything!

I certainly don’t miss the tedious process of having to draw up insulin in such a careful, precise manner. If only I’d known how much easier an insulin pump would make my life sooner…

…but I guess that just makes me appreciate my pump more.



One thought on “Memory Monday: Cloudy and Clear

  1. You were right with the second one. Rolling the bottle is to mix the crystals into the liquid evenly. If I remember right those crystals are some kind of coating to slow the absorption of the insulin. You were not supposed to shake it since you would get air bubbles in the liquid (like foam). Ah the good old days, I did that for many years before I finally got a real doctor (endo) instead of my family doc micro managing it. Didn’t care much for the fact he thought he could fix anything. He took care of Mom before she passed and he was trying to run her diabetes, congestive heart failure, kidney issues, high blood pressure, and everything else that came along as a general practitioner. My next doctor didn’t even look at my sugar levels but sent me to endo in Lincoln (much bigger town north of here) the first day. I love the fact he only deals with things he feels confident he can handle or I’m going to a specialist. I love this man. lol People have been talking about insulin prices on twitter and this falls into that sphere of info. My Novolin (Novo Nordisk NPH) cost about 1/2 what the Novolog (Novo Nordisk Humolog eqiv) does. Why? Doesn’t it make sense that the insulin one has to assume is harder to make (time release) would be more expensive. But then it get used less. My Novolog is $272 a bottle but Novolin is only $135. I use at least 2 bottles of Novolog to every bottle of Novolin. Means I pay them a lot more for the daily must have insulin than the can get by in pinch without insulin. Greed?


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