Bad habits

By | 5 August, 2009

We’re all sensible people here. Well, most of us are.

By that I mean that we all know how we’re supposed to behave as good diabetics. We know that if we’re on MDI we should use a new needle each time we inject and we should rotate our injection sites. If we’re on a pump we should change the cannula every three days.

All of us, regardless of insulin therapy method, should use a new lancet each time we finger prick to test our blood glucose. Which, of course, we do regularly (remembering to throw in the occasional random check to make sure there’s nothing untoward that we’ve missed).

We also know that sharps should be collected and disposed of properly – bloody used needles shouldn’t chucked in the office paper recycling bin because we can’t be bothered taking them home.

We all know this stuff; but, and be honest now, how often do we find ourselves slipping into bad habits? Being late to the party I’ve only been a member of the diabetic club for four years and I’ve noticed more and more that I just can’t be arsed changing my needles all the time and putting a new lancet in just seems a bit too much like hard work.

However, I’ve noticed a pattern and for your benefit I’ve plotted this over time using the hugely scientific method of rough guesswork:

Scientifically generated graph of bad habits over time

As you can see, plotted over time, bad habits do gradually get more frequent; but this is then offset by occasional bouts of guilt. These are brought on by any number of sources – a concerned wife asking about sore-looking eyelids (always a sign of bad BG control with me); a couple of days feeling rough, or just a revitalised determination to manage things well and be top of the class at the next trip to the clinic.

I suppose as long as the bad habits don’t drop beneath a certain level things will be fine. But I wonder if this pattern continues indefinitely – until we get so bad we’re using rusty, three month old needles to inject into our eye as we can’t be bothered moving off the sofa to inject in our blubbery, overweight stomach. I don’t know, maybe some of you old hands can comment.

13 thoughts on “Bad habits

  1. Alison

    The blur on that graph made me check to see if I was high! Bad habits are how you spot the old timers – I always change my lancet when the clocks go forward and back, that way I know its done at least every six months. I try and do it on bank holidays too. Anything more than that is a bonus.

    1. Alison

      Probably Tim. The other time I remember to change it is when I prick my finger and think “Ow!”, that makes me think that maybe a sharper needle would be a good idea.

  2. Mark

    I, too, get lazy with the lancet. Otherwise, I change everything else like clockwork. The OmniPod doesn’t give you a choice. You either change it or it expires. All this said, please get back on the wagon and pull yourself together. Those trips to France will always throw ya. 😀

  3. Ckoei

    I am given 2 needles for every 3ml insulin pen used. Maybe all thrifty Scots emigrated to South Africa and can be held responsible for our tight-fisted Department of Health and the hardness of Dutch Reformed church benches. According to this formula, {Cost(Tim’s needles)-Cost(My needles)= enough money to buy 1/2 a bottle of Balvenie & one and a half sheetcake, every 28 days}, my needle use might be a good habit as far as generating funds for whisky is concerned, (but not conducive to the hepatic wellbeing of former Health Minister, Manto Tshabalala Msimang).

    Speaking of witch, maybe dirty needles are seen as a way to draw the Immune System’s attention away from one’s own glandular cells (in the same way that garlic is supposed to tell the IS to tear the AIDS-virus asunder*). Tim, those puffy eyes of yours is due to autoimmune Grave’s opthalmopathy … clean needling is a bad habit !

    *Bad Science

  4. Tim

    @Mark Yeah, I’m really not too bad in actual fact.

    Interestingly I did find my sugers in France going a bit high in the evenings. Turns out the pastis (, of which I was drinking gallons turned out to have quite a lot of sugar syrup in it. Oops!

    Once I had worked that out I just shoved more insulin in and kept at the pastis. Lovely stuff! 🙂

  5. Tim

    Ckoei :

    I am given 2 needles for every 3ml insulin pen used.

    Is that all? Bloody hell!

    But, yeah, blame the Scots – we couldn’t have all been great innovators (just think: anasthesia, television, telephone, roads and the deep fried Mars Bars) – we must have exported some crap too. 😉

  6. Ckoei

    @Mark Do your fingertips show any sign of the Pepperpot Phenomenon (small, black spots)? I’m still busy with the pack of lancets that came with my archaic Accu-Chek Active in 2005, and I was wondering if PP only occurred on the fingers of those who replaced their lancet once a year? (I’m a non-Pythonesque Pepperpot & proud of it)

  7. Angie

    I went on a DAFNE course a couple of months ago, and you could tell the old timers from the newbies by how often they changed their needles and lancets!

    Being an old timer, I’m like Alison – I change my lancet when it hurts or I can’t get blood out. 😉 I try to change my needles once a day, but sometimes I forget…

  8. Mark

    @ckoei Indeed I do have the lovely blackspots! I haven’t tried moving to testing on my arms, though…

  9. Sam Clifford

    I have PP and I try and change every time I finish a pot of test strips – doesnt always happen then. I also find when I use a new lancet I’m shocked by how sharp it is


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