Diabetes Hacks


It’s Day 5 of Diabetes Blog Week, and today’s prompt is titled “Tips and Tricks.” Inspired by an OzDOC chat a few weeks ago, I thought I’d go with “Diabetes Hacks.” Anyhow, here is today’s prompt:

Let’s round out the week by sharing our best diabetes tips and diabetes tricks. From how you organize supplies to how you manage gear on the go/vacation (beach, or skiing, or whatever). From how you keep track of prescription numbers to how you remember to get your orders refilled. How about any “unconventional” diabetes practices, or ways to make diabetes work for YOU (not necessarily how the doctors say to do it!). There’s always something we can learn from each other. (Remember though, please no medical advice or dangerous suggestions.)

I used to live by the motto that “nothing will ever happen to me.” Historically, I’ve packed as lightly as possible when heading out with diabetes. My meter has often been replaced with a blind guess. A wallet will subsidise hypo treatments on the road. Meanwhile, my Medic Alert bracelet spends hardly any time on my hand.

The biggest problem for me, is trying to figure out where to put it all. I hate carrying crap around, especially when there’s a good chance I won’t even need it. I hate bulky things in my pockets, weighing my shorts down. I can’t stand overstuffed jeans, or having things in my hands. The same policy applies to anything not related to diabetes.

Slowly but surely, I do feel that I am becoming more organised. I am starting to think more long term, and the possibility of the unexpected happening. In fact, I’m not even sure that I recognise myself anymore!

During insulin pump training on Tuesday (posts to come next week), my diabetes educator raised the idea of having a backup plan. Coming off basic injections, I have been quite worried about being so reliant on one device to do everything for me. I’ve been mulling over scenarios in my head where I might have to inject Lantus and go back to Multiple Daily Injections temporarily.

Traditional me would have nodded and shrugged the idea off. Instead, I reached over to my bag and pulled out my contingency pack in front of Gwen. I had a contingency pack after one day with an insulin pump! It was one of my most proud, and so-unlike-me diabetes moments. It’s nice to know that backup is there.

My favourite hack, as Ashley witnessed first hand last week, are my test strip containers. Taking the time to count out skittles in the midst of a hypo has been frustrating over the years. I often lose count of whether I’ve eaten 5 skittles or 7, and am left guessing. Other times, I am just desperate to cram the sugar into my mouth.

Nowadays, I have collections of empty test strip containers ready to go on my desk. I fill them with 10 skittles each, and I know that’s 11g of carbs per container. They’re super easy to carry around with me when I’m heading out, and saves me the pain of bringing the whole bag with me. I can stash them in my desk drawer, my bag and in my locker at work. If I’m struck down by a hypo, I can easily just shove a whole container into my mouth without even thinking about it. They also worked nicely as sharps containers in Sydney last week!

My favourite item of clothing, without a doubt, is my Lost Highway jacket. It’s got plenty of pockets where I can easily cloak my insulin pens, meter, hypo containers, as well as all of my non-diabetes stuff. Even during the Summer, I’m guilty of brining it along to a party and holding it in my hand the whole time! Sadly, it’s in the wash today, so this old Instagram photo will have to do.

Behind the scenes look at my jacket. Spot the insulin pen. 💉 #DOCtober #diabetes

A photo posted by Frank (@franksita) on


To read other posts related to today’s prompt, click here.

10 thoughts on “Diabetes Hacks

  1. I remember freaking out when I saw you emptying the contents of your test strip tub out of the corner of my eye. I thought ‘WHY IS FRANK EATING TEST STRIPS!’ before I realised your clever hack. haha!

    I love that you have a jacket that doubles as your ‘man-bag’. This is why women always have giant handbags! Even then, I’m still guilty of not carrying around a spare site. Although now I have one in the drawer at work.

  2. I carry a BroSac. i figure a coat that doubles as a bag is way to practical or something like that?

    I referred your blog to the TUDiabetes blog page for the week of May 16, 2016.

  3. What a great tip for the Skittles!! I love treating lows with Skittles, usually I stock up at Halloween when they have the small packs but your way makes it so I can eat them year round 🙂

  4. Love the test strip hack!

    and coats with pockets. In Europe I carried everything in the oversized pockets of my jacket – including bottles of soft drink for hypos.

  5. I always carry a massive purse filled to the brim with supplies I “might” need–I usually don’t, but I feel better being prepared! The skittles trick is a great idea, and a good way to reuse old test strip bottles. 🙂

  6. Women definitely have it easier with diabetes because of purses.

    I like the test strip vial trick and will give it a try. I’ll have to decorate them so I don’t find myself low with a vial of real test strips in my pocket…

  7. Great idea for your containers. My son has confiscated several of mine to hold quarters and his collections in general. Too funny about your friend seeing you out of the corner of her eye trying to “eat” test strips. I used to abhor idea of carrying a purse too but over the years (expecially after having to carry a diaper bag) the purse has been something I’ve just had to surrender to.

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