100 Things…for Having Fun

helen-may-1114-150x150I have previously mentioned that I try to keep up to date on news about diabetes such as the latest research (and snails that use insulin as a weapon). In addition, I usually have a question or two at my annual diabetes review. However, as I consider my diabetes a personal matter, I rarely spend time with other people with diabetes – and when I do, I quickly move on to other, more interesting  topics. So I forget that the people with the most knowledge about diabetes are not the scientists or the nurses or the insulin pump manufacturers. The people who know most about diabetes are those who live with it 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks of the year, … other people with diabetes who eat, travel, exercise, work, study, have relationships and live with diabetes.

I have just been reading the Diabetes UK publication “100 things I wish I’d known about living with Diabetes”. It’s written by these people who have diabetes or live with people with diabetes. It includes tips from people I have heard of like Si King (half of the Hairy Bikers), Philip Schofield and Chris Pennell (Worcester Warriors and England); it has tips from people I have never heard of; it has tips from people aged 19 to 79; people with Type 1, Type 2 and gestational diabetes; people with diabetes and parents and partners of people with diabetes. Basically, it has tips from all sorts of people who live with diabetes.

Twelve years after my initial diagnosis, continuous reading about diabetes and pushing myself (and the diabetes) into many experiences, I am not so arrogant to think that I know everything but I certainly learnt some new tips and ideas:

  • I love the idea of the “snack challenge”: putting as many foods on your plate that add up to 10 grams of carbs. I think I may use this technique next time I have to attend a buffet. It’s much easier to count portions of ten than 7 + 16 + 23 + 5 + 7 + … I may even extend this to giving myself a dose for 70 grams of carbs and then finding my seven foods to eat as I chat to friends and colleagues.
  • And whilst I’m at my buffet, I may also follow the tip that “Having diabetes doesn’t mean you have to stop drinking completely”. OK, I knew that bit. But I hadn’t stopped to think which drinks had the least impact on my BG. Sounds like finding out which alcoholic drinks impact my BG most is another thing I need to check out. And not just as an excuse for a few nights out .. because I know “not stop drinking completely” is a polite way of saying “drink in moderation”.
  • When I read the tip to “look up the local word for “carbohydrate” before you travel”, I realised I’ll have to go on holiday to try this buffet with my chosen beverage in a foreign land.
  • Then the holiday theme continued with the tip to “bolus your basal rate every hour and keep it in your beach bag” instead of sitting around the pool with my ugly insulin pump attached to me. (I may have mentioned that I find the pump big and ugly.) Actually, I am not much of a poolside gal (I get bored) but I can see myself wanting to spend a few hours on some water-based activity where I don’t want to get tangled up in the tube from my pump.
  • I may round off this holiday with an evening dressing up and want to hide my pump. I have fashioned a garter-type affair for attaching it to my leg but it sometimes slips. So I could return to my childhood and ask my mother to “sew a pocket into the inside of her child’s clothing to hold my insulin pump.” Or I could translate tip this into a more grown-up one and do it myself: not all the “Tips for Parents” are only applicable to parents.

OK, so I have selected the tips above around the theme of having fun and, hopefully, shown diabetes is not a barrier to fun. But the book covers all areas of life with diabetes including the boring (but essential) stuff such as driving and diets and exams.

I recommend it: not just for people with diabetes but people without diabetes who need a bit of education.

And it’s free!

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