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