The Many Hats of a Diabetic – by Helen May

I am qualified as an electronic engineer. I have in the past done software engineering, project management and sales. In my spare time, I am a climber, a baker and a dressmaker. Before I had diabetes, I had many hats. I feel diabetes has added more headgear to my hat cupboard.

There’s the nursing hat that needs to keep an eye on injection and cannula sites; there’s the mechanical engineering hat that needs to put together the parts every time I change a set for my pump; there’s the chemist hat who needs to draw up new insulin into my cartridge on each set change; there’s the waste management coordinator hat who sorts the recycling, sharps and rubbish; there’s the dietician hat who needs to count the carbohydrates in every meal; the tester hat that takes regular blood glucose readings; the data input clerk hat who enters the carb count and blood glucose reading for every pump; there’s the procurement hat who needs to keep an eye on my insulin, pump, test strip and dextrose supplies and make sure I have enough in stock; and there’s the data analyst hat that needs to review trends and adjust my management accordingly.

Whilst I might not be wearing all these hats at the same time, they never get a chance to get dusty in the cupboard. I have to bring all my hats with me when I go on holiday or on a business trip; I have to carry a few hats with me on a night out; I have to wear one or two of my diabetes hats under my career hat when I am working; I even have to wear these hats when I am unwell.

As I am recovering from my recent surgery, the data analyst hat has spent a lot of time on my head. My blood glucose has been higher than usual. This is maybe because my body is needing extra sugar to repair itself; maybe because my body is less efficient using insulin because I am not exercising; it maybe a result of the extra scar tissue around my surgery wounds which are close to my cannula sites; or it maybe because my pump is not working properly.

On this occasion, I suspect it is all four. The first two may be obvious but I have just noticed there is a crack in my pump. This is a “known problem” that I have been warned about. However, I thought I was being careful. There never seems to be a good time for breakages to happen but it feels as if this is one of the worst.

Not to worry, I’ve made a call to the manufacturers, whilst wearing my Support Engineer hat, and a new pump is on its way. Meanwhile, I grab my data input hat to transfer the settings from my old to new pump; I grab my mechanical engineering hat to remove the battery from my old pump; I grab my waste management coordinator hat to be ready to dispose of the old pump; and I ensure my data analyst hat is close by to check the results from the new pump.

I enjoy variety in my life but it wasn’t until I started writing this post that I realised how much variety diabetes brings.

And I nearly forgot to mention by blogger hat.

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