Friday, 16 May 2014

Diabetes Blog Week 2014 - Day 5 - Diabetes Life Hacks

Diabetes Blog Week 2014 - Day 5 - Diabetes Life Hacks

This week is Diabetes Blog Week.

Each day diabetes bloggers around the world will be writing a blog post on the same topic. You will be able to see who is taking part and what the daily topic is at Bitter Sweet Diabetes.

This is the first year that I have taken part and I've found it extremely challenging. They certainly aren't topics that I would normally choose to tackle, but sometimes it's good to be outside of your comfort zone!

Todays topic: Diabetes Life Hacks

Share the (non-medical) tips and tricks that help you in the day-to-day management of diabetes. Tell us everything from clothing modifications, serving size/carb counting tricks to the tried and true Dexcom-in-a-glass trick or the “secret” to turning on a Medtronic pump’s backlight when not on the home-screen (scroll to the bottom of this post). Please remember to give non-medical advice only!

My response:

I'm a newbie to type 1 diabetes so I don't have many tips to share, but I've made plenty of mistakes! When I make a mistake I look for ways of reducing the chances of it happening again. So here are three things I've learnt to do so far:

Fast and slow acting insulin pens
  • Injecting the wrong kind of insulin

    On a couple of occassions I've injected fast acting insulin when I should have injected slow acting insulin. On one occassion I didn't even realise I'd injected the wrong type and happily went to sleep totally unaware. Thankfully? I woke up an hour later, sweating, shaking and shouting out for hypo treatments and after the biggest "hypo monster" feeding session ever, I settled back to sleep.

    Having had a few horrible experiences like this, usually while I'm tired, away from home, I started to use different coloured pens for the different types of insulin I use and I associated a phrase for each one.

    My slow acting insulin (Levemir) is placed in a blue pen and my fast acting insulin (Apidra) in a silver pen.

    (Ice Cold) Blue - Slow acting
    (Bullet) - Fast acting
My bag of life.
This holds everything I need to stay alive!
  • Leaving the house without my diabetes kit

    I might have had type 1 diabetes for a few years now but it still doesn't stop me leaving the house without my insulin sometimes or worse still, leaving the house with my insulin pen only to find there's only a few units left and beautiful triple chocolate muffin sat in front of me! Enforced carb free (and therefore usually food free) days aren't the best. Although if it does happen it's handy for checking your basal rates :)

    So now I have stores of my equipment everywhere. For example, at work I have a full set of needles, lancets, test strips, a spare bg meter and a catridge of fast acting insulin in the fridge.

    I have also invested in a "bag of life" or man bag to hold all my diabetes kit in one place including a copy of my repeat prescription and insulin passport etc.
  • Leaving insulin in the hotel minibar fridge

    I was on holiday in the arctic circle travelling around Norway and Finland and my last night in Norway before flying to Iceland for a week was in Tromso. In the morning I got up, had breakfast, finished packing my bags and checked out of the hotel. Once the car was loaded with my luggage, I drove to one of the museums before finially driving to the airport to catch a flight via Copenhagen to Keflavik in Iceland where I would spend just over a week before finally flying home.

    Arriving at the airport I located the car hire company I would be returning the car to, started unloading my luggage and finalising the paperwork... and then I realised... I'd left all of my insulin cartridges in the hotel fridge!

    I quickly reloaded the car and drove the not so insignificant distance back to the hotel, praying along the way that my insulin was still in the fridge. Thankfully it was! It was then a mad dash back to the airport, hand over the hire car AGAIN and check in, just in time, for the flight. A somewhat more stressful couple of hours than I'd anticipated at the start of the day!
    This could be a life saver!

    Now when I go travelling from hotel to hotel and country to country I take with me some yellow post-it notes with one word written on them.... INSULIN. I place one of these on the door to my hotel room so I see it when I've leaving the room. I also place one on my luggage bag. Hopefully I will never be in the position again where I have over a week of holiday left and no insulin on me :)