In February 2020, I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes and about a week later I went on my first post diagnosis outing to witness the spectacle of Thaipusam.  To those of you not familiar with the festival the irony might become apparent by the end of this post.

Like most T1Ds (Type 1 Diabetics) I use an insulin pen to inject insulin into either my arms, legs or stomach (injection sites). These “pens” are about the size of a large fountain pen and have a ratchet at the top to set the dosage and a button to push down to administer the required amount of insulin.

The nib of the pen, so to speak, is the disposable needle.  Needle sizes can range from 4mm to 12mm in length. The length you use depends on your body shape and preference. Combined with the right needle and the proper technique, I can enjoy years of pain-free injecting.  Yippee!  It is key to rotate your insulin injection sites to avoid any of this potential pain.

Thaipusam is a festival celebrated by Hindus of Tamil descent to say thank you to Lord Subramanian, son of Lord Shiva. It usually takes place in late January or early February, depending on the alignment of the sun, moon and planets. This year it was the first week of February.  

During Thaipusam devotees go to different lengths to express their devotion.  Some pierce themselves with needle-like skewers known as vals through their tongues and cheeks.  Others pierce themselves with needles and hooks on their backs and pull large, wheeled carts attached to them.  Their devotion and creativity is truly an amazing and the emotional experience is accompanied by some very very loud Indian boom box music. Many dance their way in the procession on the way to the temple.

Now I have perfected my technique using the correct needle, I don’t feel much pain… though I don’t ever really feel much like dancing afterwards. 

The devotees pierce themselves with needles to seek atonement and be closer to god. I pierce myself with insulin pen needles so that I can delay my meeting with god. 

When I attended the festival, I had to find a discrete area to inject myself because of the crowd but I’m certain no one would have noticed the 4mm needle in my tummy.  

I hope you’re understanding the point of my blog.

Don’t want to needle you but please consider passing my blog on to more people 🙂

Glucose upon publishing: 4.4 mmol/L

7 thoughts on “Thaipusam

  1. Hey, this was interesting… I’d heard of the ritual but never had any clue about anything else. Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

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