Diabetes Dreaming by Helen May


Helen MayI am happy to leave the house without make-up on. I don’t mind getting mucky. Getting a red face does not stop me exercising in public. However, I also like to dress well. I like to coordinate my shoes, my clothes and my jewellery. I am a little disappointed when I see myself in the mirror with wayward hair or a spot on my nose. My image may not define me but my choice of clothes, jewellery and hair style, reflect my personality. This is probably why I dislike being told what to wear. At school, I disliked wearing a uniform. At our Christmas Black-tie dinner, I wore a (fake) leather jacket. Despite regularly visiting customers, I do not own a suit.

The impact of these choices is small: I have a reputation of being an individual with a twinge of rebel in my blood. Theses choices do not affect my family, my position in the community or my health.

… Or do they? My desire for “unique elegance” is one of the reasons I do not wear a medicare bracelet. I do not spend all my time with people who know I have diabetes. So, if I was taken ill, there is no reason for a paramedic to know about my condition. Despite knowing this, I do not publish that I have diabetes.

You don’t need to spend long with me to realise there’s something medically different about me. I do not hide when I inject or test my blood sugar. Actually, you may miss the blood testing. I always test at night and first thing in the morning. Most days, I’ll test at least once between times. But, let’s face it, testing is a pain. Not physically: my finger tips are used to the daily battering from a lancet so the days of digital bruising are many years behind me. The pain is the faff of washing my hands, digging out the kit, finding somewhere to put it down as I insert the test strips and prick my finger, waiting for the results and making sure I don’t get blood everywhere as I put it all away.

I had not thought about my mismanagement of these two diabetes tasks as having one solution until this week. It started when I read about Max Domi, a professional ice hockey player with diabetes who has overcome the problem of a medicare bracelet with a diabetes tattoo. It’s a nice idea but I don’t have any tattoos and I am not sure whether I could endure the pain.

Then, I read about some research in San Diego where they are looking to replace finger pricking with a “tattoo-like sensor”. This is where the Diabetes Dream in the title of this post comes in: wouldn’t it be great to have a sensor to test blood sugar which also acts as a diabetes medicare alert? I could have different colour sensors to match my shoes!

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