Thursday, June 26, 2008

Typical Advice? Bah!

Reading another blogger's post about what shoes she wears made me think about the ways I flout conventional diabetic advice.

1. I wear what shoes I want to, particularly open toed shoes and flip-flops, all the time in warm weather. I never wear shoes that are uncomfortable, but that's because I walk a lot and pain is annoying. It's not because of my fears of cuts healing slowly. And inside the house I am often barefoot. Outside, I am not, but that's because I stepped on a slug when I was a child (two years pre-diagnosis) and it grossed me out.

2. Along the footwear lines, I love getting pedicures. At those low-cost, there's-one-on-every-city-corner nail shops. I don't bring my own equipment. I think these shops do a better, longer-lasting job than high end salons do. And I've never gotten an infection from one. Ever.

3. I haven't changed a lancet in months. Probably close to a year.

4. I eat what I want and bolus accordingly. If my sugar is high two hours later, I bolus again to bring it down.

5. I eat Life Savers (and now juice boxes) to treat reactions instead of GlucoTabs. Those things are just nasty.

6. I've reused a pump reservoir and carry a used reservoir needle in my meter bag in case the insulin in my pump goes low and I am away from home. I'd rather just fill a reservoir with insulin quickly than have to change out the whole set while out of the house. I did that once while in a restaurant with a friend. It took forever for my tubing to fill with insulin and my friend thought I'd died in the bathroom because it took me probably ten or 15 minutes to do the whole infusion set change, along with filling a reservoir.

7. I carry a recycled insulin syringe as well, for the same reasons.

8. I can't remember when I last used an alcohol swab to clean my finger before testing my blood. And I always lick my finger afterwards.

9. I don't change my pump batteries the second they beep that they're low. I've been able to get two more days' worth of pumping out of them after the first low-battery alarm goes off.

10. I've tested my blood sugar while driving (though usually while stopped at a stop sign or a red light, and always with my eye on the road. I test my sugar blindfolded if I had to). I've also tested while standing in line to order a sandwich somewhere, while on public transportation, while on the elliptical trainer, and just about anywhere else I can carry it. And I gave myself an injection once while on the New York subway.

I can't think of anything else off the top of my head. The flip side is that I've never gotten any kind of skin infection from reusing my supplies. My A1c is admirable. I feel pretty good most of the time, and I don't resent equipment meltdowns or refilling issues when I am out doing something. And whatever bacteria is floating around is probably strengthening my immune system, since I don't usually get sick.

I think taking care of the bigger picture, by making sure glucose levels are where they should be and that nutritionally, I'm eating the things I am supposed to be eating most of the time, is a better way to live than stressing about every last iota of detail. So what if I haven't changed a lancet in months? My sugars are usually pretty good.

How do YOU flout conventional diabetic advice?


George said...

The lancet thing no doubt. I wait until the lancet is bent before I change it! :)

reservoir reuse happens for me.

I have used life savers for lows which makes me say "It's not just a clever name!" but I do actually like Orange (and only ORange) glucose tabs.

No alcohol swabs ever and I always lick.

I checked my BG while driving yesterday.

We are a lot alike.

Kassie said...

just curious - is your old minimed still working? or did you upgrade?

Lyrehca said...

Yep, Kassie, the 508 is still working. It's pure laziness that has prevented me from upgrading my pump. So there's another rebel behavior: not upgrading my pump automatically after four years' time.

jpnairn said...

I keep a tube of glucose tablets (Orange of course. The other flavors are blecch.) in my pocket all the time, but if I have access to anything else, I go for "real" food, often vending machine candy. I'd rather not "waste" the low eating a glucose tab.

I never use an alcohol swab for anything.

It's funny how attached I was to things like that decades ago, and now I just don't bother.
This laziness may have actually started when one of my endos told me her diabetic father gave himself his shots right through his clothing.

Or it might have started years before.
I kept meticulous records for the first few months after diagnosis, until the nurse at my doctors' office expressed awe and amazement at the logs I brought in.
I haven't been that motivated to keep records since.

I generally use the same lancet until my brother, who's type 2, asks to use my meter. Then I change it out.

I frequently check while I'm driving.

I have a few old syringes, who knows how old, in my pump kit.

Anonymous said...

lol - loved this post! i almost felt like i was writing it :)

using a lancet for AT LEAST a yr - yup that's me
never use alcohol, i don't lick though because i hate the taste of blood
often check my bg while driving...
and gotta have my fabulous kate spade 3 inch open-toed stilettos, i don't wear them often though - for the most part i live in ballet flats, flip flops, or birks- all sans socks, of course - i HATE socks :)

Anonymous said...

forgot to add - HATE the orange glucose tabs but LOVE the sour apple flavor - they taste better than almost any candy :)

Anonymous said...

Every single one of these, except reusing the pump reservoir--I've never thought of that but now that you've put the idea in my head....

I've never bothered to wear elastic-free 'diabetic' socks. That's the only additional one I can think of. And I use rocket candies instead of livesavers, which I find too chewy and take too long. Why spend 10x the money on a pack of fancy flavoured sugar cubes, when I can get teh same thing, only much better tasting, for a fraction of the price in a candy store?

Scott K. Johnson said...

Heh! I too do a lot of those same things. Well, all except the open toe shoes and stuff, and maybe the pedicure. :-)

Unknown said...

I love you, Lyrehca! I also read the shoe post and thought, "Good grief, I never think twice about what shoes I'm wearing."

I go barefoot regularly, especially on my parents' farm over gravel and thorns and the like.

I wear high heeled, open-toed shoes.

I use the same lancet for about a month.

I use the same needle for injections until it starts to hurt and then I change it, so it probably lasts a good week if not longer.

I eat what I want, although I do count the carbs of what I'm eating and I always check 2 hours later and inject if I'm high.

Sometimes I'm good about waking up 8 hours after my last injection but sometimes I just ignore that little voice and sleep until I feel ready to wake up, when I check and inject.

And my endo is always happy with my blood sugars, my eyes are fine and my feet seem good.

Oh, and I use snickers for lows! Easy to carry the minis in my handbag.

Unknown said...

And I often check when I'm stopped at the lights, especially in the mornings if I haven't had time to check before leaving home. I even inject sometimes at the lights, and hope that the people in the bus can't see me shooting up right next to them.

Oh yes, and the licking, yup, do that too.

Anonymous said...

Nice post!!
I use starburst candy sometimes to treat lows. They're easy to keep in the side pocket of my meter case because they are individually wrapped.
I think my biggest confession is that I don't always remember to change my site every 3 days. I only change it in the mornings after I shower because I don't want to change it and then go to bed (I've had bad lows happen that way). So it's a timing issue for me.

Anne Findlay said...

I exercise when my BG is over 250 and even much higher than that.

I reuse lancets until I have to poke more than once or twice to draw blood...

But I still don't drink juice even though I could bolus for it. That one has stuck with me. Just doesn't seem worth the sugar.

Anne Findlay said...

by the way, how's the triathlon training going? It sounds like the running is going well! Congrat's on your great zone 3 run. That's a tough place to be! :)

Anonymous said...

I know your post is a few months old, I am just skimming your blog for the first time!

But, I could have written this! I often think I am an atrocious diabetic, but in actual fact I think I have got it down pat. It is about your health fitting in with your life.

I also have great hba1c's, no comlications, type 1 for 22 years, I have had 2 babies (hard hard hard work during pregnancies, but well worth the uncomplicated birth and healthy babies!), I struggled with IF with baby #1 (IVF #3) and had a natural / lucky conception baby #2!

I have chosen not to use the pump, and rather to test and correct (inject) more often. My dr believes it won't improve my hba1c.

I make my nurse cringe when I tell her I test my sugars while driving! But I do too!

I can't wait to read more on your blog!

Unknown said...

I know these posts are all really old..but just seeing them!! Love to see all these comments... as i thought i was the only one who rebelled against all this advice!
only once injecting on a subway.. can subtly do it anywhere if your willing to go through your t'shirt!

only anonymous here because i don't have an account! Im' kirstin from Australia.type 1 for about 25 years now.


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