The more dBloggers I encounter the more I get to thinking about all the little things I do as a diabetic. I don't know anyone with diabetes. A few of the nurses I have worked with had Type 2, but that's a totally different animal. I met friends at camp with Type 1 when I was little, but of course we've all lost touch. Plus, I never knew them in their day-to-day life. I've never seen anyone but me go through the day-to-day antics of diabetes management. I've managed to solve small problems in my own way. I vent about stuff to my husband. But lately I've been forced to wonder, is all this normal? Do any other diabetics out there do stuff the way I do it? Do they think the same thoughts? I started wondering about my habits, my musings, my rantings and ramblings. And I was curious if I was alone these crazy thoughts, habits and notions or if other diabetics out there shared them. Here goes nuthin':
1. From almost the time I was diagnosed, I lick my fingers after testing my sugar. I never bothered scrambling for napkins, gauze, alcohol wipes or whatever. I test too often for that nonsense and my purse is full enough without adding more supplies to it. So I just lick and go. Some people I run into who don't know me have commented that this is gross but I do it anyway. I also hate using alcohol. So I don't. I don't swab my insulin bottles or my sites before I inject. And I've never once had an issue.
2. I carry around my supplies in a baggie. I know they have fancy-schmancy, handy-dandy kits that hold meters, strips, insulin vials, alcohol wipes, etc. But they are huge and I've never found them that handy or dandy. So I found the smallest meter imaginable and I stick my syringes and insulin in a snack baggy (those half-sized ones) and throw it all in my purse. I'm always curious how other diabetics haul their supplies around. But baggies have always worked best for me.
3. I also store my syringes at home in a cup on my desk next to my office supplies. It amuses me to have them out like that. And I like that when I put them in my Florida cup the orange caps coordinate with the blue cup to make Gator colors!
4. I have always used the butter compartment to store my insulin in the fridge. Throughout childhood and college and with every new roommate, I stake out the butter compartment in every fridge I've ever used. They know it's mine and that's where my insulin goes. It makes the most sense! It's enclosed and easy to access with no chance of spillage from other food stuffs. Although, I have on occasion opened the compartment door with a vial poised right against it, sending the vial crashing to the kitchen floor. Sheesh. There go shards of glass, insulin and money down the tubes. Not to mention stinky-insulin-smelling-floor. But for the most part the the butter compartment has served me well. I use the butter in the tubs anyway.
5. Sometimes, when I'm super low my mouth, chin and tongue gets all numb and tingly. This weirds me out because I've been diabetic for years but this symptom didn't emerge until college. The first time it happened my roommate (Ashlee) and I were in the grocery store and I got low. I grabbed a drink for a quick fix but as I was drinking I noticed this numb, tingling sensation in my lower lip and tongue. It was super weird. I mentioned it to Ashlee offhand but she didn't seem too terribly interested. ("Uh, okay?") But as we were walking around I kept biting my lip, sticking my tongue out, rolling it around, dragging my lips and tongue across my teeth, poking my chin with my finger, making all-around funny faces. Can you tell I was very distracted by this sensation?!? Finally, Ashlee started looking at me like I was nuts. She grabbed my arm and clamped her hand over my mouth. She told me I looked like a mental patient and proceeded to mime back my actions to me. We both broke out in fits of laughter in the middle of Publix. Eventually the tingling went away. But I still get this symptom every so often with my lows. I've always thought it was strange.
6. I think I'm the only diabetic who was on the pump and kinda hated it. I'm seriously met with shock and awe when I tell people I hated the pump. It didn't start out that way. I was on the pump for over 5 years and, sure, my blood sugars improved initially but now I can do the same thing with injections without the tubing, the tangling, the stupid alarms and the itchy sites that get yanked out by clumsy me and stupid door handles. It felt so freeing to be able to wear clothing without pockets. To shower and swim without worrying that the adhesive on my site will peel off. And sleeping or doing other ::ahem:: activities in bed without getting tangled in tubing!! Plus, those catheter needles were friggin' huge back in the day. Ouch! I love me my 31G short, ultra-fine needles. :-) Not to mention having to carry around all those supplies. I like that I have my meter, my strips, syringes and insulin and I'm in business. If I were still on the pump, I'd have to add extra tubing, batteries, Tegaderm, new site equipment, extra cartridges and needles/plungers to go with it. Not cool. Oh! And can I just tell you how many times I dropped that damn thing on my toe!?!?
7. Okay, this is the one I probably feel worst about. Because I'm worried it will sound like I'm being judge-y towards other diabetics. But as a kid, when I told people I was diabetic I never really had to think about what people thought of me, it was obvious I was Type 1 . But as I've grown older, I've started to get paranoid when people find out I'm diabetic. Most people think that adults who have diabetes are either super old or have it because they are overweight. So I always wonder, what do people think when they find out I'm diabetic? Do they think I'm Type 2? I usually try to squeeze into the conversation that I've had it since I was 8 and I'm a juvenile diabetic. (Good one, Layne. Very subtle.) And I'm usually thinking the whole time in my head, don't judge me!! I didn't do this to myself!! I couldn't help it! Sure I'd love to lose 10 pounds but those 10 pounds didn't make me diabetic. I'm Type 1, dangit!! Of course there are some Type 2-ers that can't help it either. Just sayin' I'm not a fan of being labeled and I get weird if I think someone my be labeling me "Type 2" becuase there are all sorts of connotations to being Type 2 that just aren't good.
So those are a few of my crazy thoughts and deeds as a diabetic. And if anyone out there finds them not so crazy after all, feel free to leave some comment-love to reassure me of my sanity! And for those of you out there who are my friends and know me in "real life:" Sorry if I grossed you out with my finger-pricks and shots at the dinner table but I know you love me anyway. :-)
In the end, it really doesn't matter if anyone thinks like me or does things like me. Those without diabetes really don't have any room to criticize how someone with diabetes chooses to live their life. Those of us with diabetes probably all understand how important our little habits are because they make us sane. They help us get through the day and are the ways we've found to make this disease a tiny bit easier to live with.
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