Preparing my family for a diabetes emergency is a weight off my mind – by Katie Collins

When it comes to Type 1 diabetes, I’m still very new to it all. It was just over 2 years ago when I got my official diagnosis at the age of 35. I very quickly realised that not only was I a wife, new mother and photographer – I needed to be my own medical expert too.

Day to day I’m the one who knows how I bolus for pizza, what my go-to snacks are, how I treat hypos and what my carb to insulin ratios are. But I also realised recently that I haven’t really written this information down clearly or properly shared it with my family. Which isn’t a problem most of the time, until you get a nasty bug or virus and can’t think straight.

Before I did the DAFNE course I got a sickness bug TWICE, was pregnant at the time and ended up in A&E as I’d been showing Ketones. It was a Saturday night (on both occasions) and the diabetes unit of my hospital was closed. I felt snoozy, sick and just generally not myself. I needed someone to help manage my diabetes for me. I was only in for a matter of hours luckily and after some IV fluids went home to rest.

Over the next few days I got myself organised. I decided to write down all my Type 1 facts and figures and email it to my husband and parents. I started on a pump a few months back so I’ve recently dug out the list, updated it and sent it out again. So here’s what I’ve included:

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My Diabetes – Important information

  • Name
  • NHS Number
  • Hospital name and Hospital number
  • Diabetes specialist nurse and number
  • Emergency contact

My Facts and Figures

  • My current insulin to carb ratio for the pump
  • My Basal rate on the pump
  • My previous doses of Novarapid and Levemir – in case I needed to switch to pens.
  • A list of non-carb snacks that I like
  • My preferred hypo treatment
  • My latest Hba1c
  • Info on where my insulin kit is kept
  • My blood sugar targets
  • My diabetes team contacts
  • Instructions on what to do if a serious hypo occurs

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Type 1 is 24/7. But I immediately felt like a weight had been lifted off me by just sharing this information with someone else.

Useful pages on our website
What is diabetes – the basics
Friends and family are welcome to call our Helpline
What to do if someone has a hypo
Low carb snacks
Letting people know you have diabetes – guides for young people

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