Breaking the diabetes rules – Andy Broomhead

With a blog, it’s easy to present a certain perception of living with diabetes.  It’s easy to filter out all the stuff that doesn’t go to plan and make it seem like its a walk in the park.  I think we all know it’s anything but easy and I thought this month I’d share a few of the ways I cut corners on things I probably shouldn’t.  I mean, we’re all human right?

Treating a hypo becomes a treat

Hypos are probably the easiest thing to talk.  I definitely don’t always treat with fast acting glucose even though I know it’s the best way to get myself back in the game.  Sometimes, treating a hypo becomes exactly that – a treat.  I’ll grab a biscuit or three, a bowl of cereal (especially for those night time incidents) or whatever’s lying around that looks more delicious than a few glucotabs.

I don’t always retest after 15 minutes like you’re supposed to either.  I often rely on how I feel than resorting to another finger-prick test to tell me what I already know.  And I’m not exactly brilliant at always remembering to carry stuff with me.  I’m lucky that my wife usually has something in her handbag that I can ‘borrow’ but it’s a bit of an abdication of responsibility on my part.

I’m also hopeless at changing things unless they need changing.  I know a few people who have the routine and the discipline to change lancets, needles and cannulas at the prescribed times.  These people should be applauded and celebrated because I have no idea how they manage it!  This post was inspired by my lancet getting momentarily stuck in one of my finger-prick sites – prompting me to actually change it!

A lifetime’s supply of lancets!

When I was using pens, I never got into the habit of changing needles after every use, only switching them when my insulin cartridge ran out.  My selective memory puts that down to not being told to change them at diagnosis (or forgetting because I was trying to take too much in)… but that’s probably not the case.  I’m a little better with cannulas now I’m using a pump – I rarely go beyond 4 days without changing, but I have been known to stretch them out for 6 days at a time.

Treading a dangerous path

One of the other things I’m terrible at is wearing shoes (or, not wearing shoes) although after my exploits in A&E I’m getting a lot better at this.  The thing is, I’m the one who has to “nip and fetch that thing in from the car” or go and put the kitchen bin out.  These things are about 10 steps outside my front door so by my logic, it’s quicker to just go and take a few quick paces on the tarmac and get back inside quickly.

I’m treading a dangerous path with that though because as we all know, one tiny foot injury that goes unnoticed could be catastrophic.  I’m getting a lot better at slipping my trainers on these days.  The extra 10 seconds it takes is definitely worth it.

A few good habits too

I’m not completely lazy and apathetic though *ahem* – I do have a few good habits too!  I do test a useful number of times each day, I do (nearly) always have my tester with me (or a spare close at hand), and it has spare pump batteries inside it too.  I always test before I drive and build in 2 hour breaks on long trips as well (usually to coincide with a Starbucks service station…)

The thing is, diabetes is completely all consuming.  There’s so much to do, so much to remember and it absolutely does take over so much of our lives.  I like to think that rather than cutting corners, I’m finding a nice balance between managing it as well as I can, and being over-run by diabetes 24/7.

Have you got any “rules” that you break that I’ve not mentioned?  (I’m always looking for tips on how to streamline my diabetes management…!)  Let me know in the comments!

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