Sunday, November 29, 2015

11 of my 'betes lifestyle HACKS!

These are my diabetes hacks. Or if you prefer, the tricks to how I "get by" with my treatments.

1. Sharpie Marker. This one I recently wrote a post about. It's how I "remember" that I've taken my Lantus (or not taken it yet) without relying on a stupid smart phone app. It may seem archaic and simplistic, that's because it is!

2. Listerine strips container. This one is an oldie, but a goody. For on-the-go purposes like cycling and running where I don't want the shake rattle and absolute annoyance of the strips smashing around in the bottle. It's small and convenient. Just remember to point the bottom of the strip down. Too many times pulling them out with sweaty hands renders them useless.

3. Pre-filled syringes. A typical syringe will hold 3 units with the plunger cap on. Ideal for the odd high BG when I'm out exercising and I don't want my insulin to get fucked up by the elements. Let's face it, here in Canada we get both ends of extreme temperature. 3units is way more than enough. Sometimes I'll carry two syringes if I'm out for the whole day on my bike and I'll be stopping to eat. I can still inject 1 or 2 units at a time and leave the rest for later. I learned this trick from my good friend Missy.

4. Half-inserted test strip trick. I wake up to my beeg alarm every single night at around 1:30am. Often again at 4 or 5am. Before I go to bed I set up the meter with the strip half inserted so all I have to do when I'm groggy and asleep is stab my finger, push it the rest of the way in and hit the light button. No fumbling and dropping shit all over the place. It's such a well oiled machine that most mornings I look over surprised because I don't remember testing. Now, having the wherewithal to know what to do with that number in the middle of the night is an entirely different story. So many times I say, "must shove some raisins into my....." back asleep. Then wake up deathly low a few hours later.

5. Pen cartridges instead of vials. I don't trust the insulin pen. It's still a mechanical injection device and that means it too can fail! I know this because it's given me problems in the past. It's also too big to fit in my case. A typical 10ml vial would last me many months but with a 28-day shelf life it's a waste of money and insulin. So I use the pen cartridges. Bonus? No need to inject air into them! I also feel less bad if I freeze, cook or smash one.

6. Lancets. This one I mentioned awhile back also. I keep my lancets in the same spot as my strips. When I grab a new bottle often on my way out the door I quickly throw a fresh lancet in there. That way at some point in the next couple days I'll switch out my lancet.

7. The infamous Scully parachute landing! I blogged about this years ago. I just searched my whole blog but couldn't find it so I gave up. I still stand by this method. When I am high, like really high. Like 16+mmol/l (280mg/dl+) high I will take a rage bolus of about 4 units. Back in the insulin pump days that would have read more like 8-10units for the same result! It's too much but I do it on purpose. I knowingly over-dose. In my mind my bg comes down quicker with more insulin on board. If you know me, you know highs are my nemesis and I'd always much rather be low. Whether it actually comes down faster or not, I don't care. So I wait until it starts dropping rapidly and then just when the time is right I'll eat something for a soft gradual landing. Tankage-free. Like the way a skydiver comes down in a parachute.

8. Dex (glucose tablet) container in my car. Seems so common sense but I only just started doing this. I have a convenient cup holder in the door of my car. Glucose tabs are resistant to heat and freezing. Again, Canadaland temperature extremes! I often need glucose when I'm out and about and this means the small container of dex in my purse doesn't get depleted as much. In return it means I don't replace the purse dex as often which is key because I eat the purse dex and forget to replace them. Thus leaving me in a shitty situation way more than I like.

9. Honey. This is by no means a hack or a trick or anything. It's just how I treat the super lows. Or the lows that come with nausea. Or the rapidly falling lows. Honey is easy to swallow and packs a wicked carby punch. The only problem is that it often makes me gag and it's so fucking expensive.

10. Freezies! Like the #9 above, these have a purpose sometimes. Obviously timing has to be accurate as in I have to be not SUPER low. More fun than a juice box but the same amount of carbs. Added bonus: comes with an ice cream headache!

11. Advil and Zofran. Another old topic but an important one for those hellish low hangovers that I get so bad.


  1. Did I just submit a half-formed comment? I hope not. What I meant to say was this:

    I just read something from someone else about preferring lows to highs, and I thought it was so brave to admit publicly. Aren't we supposed to live in fear of lows instead of highs? With lows we are, I think in my training at least, to fear death with a low but with a high just think, "treat and move on." But with a low---especially if you're watching specifically for it---with a Dexcom even---WHO CARES? Eat the honey. With a high you're messed up for the rest of the ding-dong day. Sometimes. In my experience.

    Thank you for these wonderful tips. I need one of those Listerines.

    1. I got no half submitted comment. sweet!
      yeah I always prefer lows. I can treat them much quicker. The symptoms are more severe and it FEELS like you're dying but highs are a much more awful experience. I think because I want to murder anyone that tries to talk to me when I'm high. I fear DKA more than I fear passing out from a low.
      Maybe also because I've never had a dangerous low experience. Never been hospitalized or needed glucagon or any help whatsoever. Perhaps I should fear them more but experience tells me not to.

  2. Lows seem easier for us to correct. Highs can take hours or a day to turn around. Joe doesn't seem to mind the highs though. He hates a bad low.

  3. I would always prefer to treat a low than a high. It's faster, easier, and more delicious.

  4. I've definitely done the prefilled syringe hack, especially when I'm riding my bike and will be away from my regular stash of D-supplies.

    (I prefer highs to lows... if I have to pick.)

  5. #4 - What a great idea!
    #7 - I will try this - maybe in a few minutes
    #8 - I did not know that they don't freeze


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