Friday, July 3, 2015

My Sharpie is my app

I have figured out some bizarre ways to not kill myself with diabetes. Some of my lessons have been picked up from other diabetics and others are my own creation.  This one is mine and for all intents and purposes it’s completely archaic.

In the age of smart phones, apps and technology I have found myself sinking farther and farther away from it. Just yesterday I expressly rolled my eyes at a couple of young ladies using one of those selfie-stick-pole thingies. I called it something like “really stupid”. Okay let’s be honest, I said it was “fucking retarded”. I turned to Ryan and said, “I’m totally gonna be one of those crotchety old ladies that just doesn’t get new things.” I quickly followed that up with, “scratch that, I already am that person.”

The thing I have the most trouble with on injections is not having a record. With the pump I could just go in and see when and how much insulin I took. When you inject, once it’s in your only recollection is your mind. When it’s something you do 8’ish times a day it becomes quite the routine and I find it easy to forget. This mostly pertains to my twice daily Lantus injections. There have been so many times where halfway into the morning I do this fucking jerky squirrel move. I sit up straight out of nowhere, cock my head to the side, look up into the magical ceiling and ask myself, “did I take my Lantus this morning?”

How would I know?

Wait until blood sugars went super wonky? Sometimes they go wonky anyway. Risk it and take a late dose which would then result in a possible double dose? Listen, I’m trying to NOT kill myself here. I find the Lantus to be so routine that I forget I’m even doing it.

I used the reminder app on my phone but the alarm drove me crazy. I wanted something that I could “check off” twice a day but would also send me a little nudge of a reminder without a vibrate or a beep. I played with 3 or 4 apps and alarms before I conceded that technlology just isn’t the way to go for me. This has been the story of my life lately. Sometimes I’m on the move or in my car or fuck.. whatever and the idea of having to unlock my phone and open an app was just far too convoluted for me. Just having the alarm wasn’t enough because there still wasn’t any recording of whether or not I TOOK the insulin.

I toyed with the old school paper and pen idea but it would have to be small enough to fit in my meter case with my syringe and two insulins or there’s no chance I would ever use it. I know me well. I found a mini sharpie marker and started putting a little “x” or happy face on my hand with each lantus injection (twice a day). Since the doses are administered approximately 12 hours apart it was long enough that the marker would wear/wash away but also long enough that I could see it and be reminded should I question my own self.

That didn’t work because Sharpie just doesn’t wash off fast enough and I ended up with marks all over my fucking hands.

So that’s when I came up with this. It sure ain’t perfect but hell, it’s working! I'm only posting this so I can showcase my awesome paint skillz yo.

Saturday and Sunday are the pinky and ring fingers on my other hand.

With my mini Sharpie that fits in my case, I put a wee dot on my finger. Each finger has a day and each day has a morning and an evening. The dots wash off a lot faster and are slightly less obvious. No matter what, I have forced myself to make the dotting a habit. If I chose to one morning not use it then how could I trust myself? It had to be a thing that happened with every single Lantus injection. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve saved my own ass. Sometimes it’s less than 5 minutes later I look around and wonder if I’ve taken my Lantus. The reassuring feeling of looking down and seeing the stupid dot has made my life so much better. It takes the guess work out of it and means that injecting Lantus can go back to being a routine habit I don’t have to think about.


  1. Brilliant! When I was taking Lantus (twice a day, same as you) and kept forgetting if I took it and tried all sorts of ways to remember. I would put a rubber-band around my left wrist after my AM dose and move it to my right wrist after my PM dose, but having it there all day was a pain in the butt. I tried writing on the vial itself with a sharpie, but there's simply not enough room on there, and the marker smudges anyway.

    (Hey Sanofi, how about attaching a calendar to your label so we can mark off when we've used your product -- and know when we've reached the 30-day limit?)

    I agree that apps and reminders are more trouble and more nuisance than they're worth. Some problems can be solved simply and low-tech.

  2. This is great! I always forget whether i took my evening levemir. Ive started this "putting pen horizontally instead of vertically " in my purse after injecting but i like yours way better!!!


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