Bad habits

By | 17 September, 2010
A diabetic is punished by their DSN for re-using a needle

A diabetic is punished by their DSN for re-using a needle

I used to be a good diabetic. After my diagnosis five years ago I did all the things good diabetics were supposed to.

Such things included changing needles every time I injected, changing my finger pricking lancet every time I check my blood glucose (something my beloved co-writer gently took the piss out of the first time we met up in Edinburgh). From time to time I also commit the heinous act of injecting through clothing. Except, of course, unless I’m wear a crisp dress shirt and dinner jacket – that just ends in disaster every time. Red blood spots on your white shirt – hardly the thing to do in polite society.

These bad habits develop over time and they all come down to laziness. I don’t know about you, but I check my blood glucose about 6, 7 or 8 times a day and inject probably about 5 or 6 times. When I changed my lancet and needles every time I used one I had to carry around enough supplies to last a day or two or three. Said supplies therefore required a bigger case and therefore a bigger man bag. We all like a good man bag but carting round a 70 litre rucksack of supplies is a step too far.

I’ve now gone all minimalist and have a small black pencil case (from Paperchase, don’t you know) to carry about my kit and so I just don’t have room to cart around a tonne of paraphernalia. I really just can’t be bothered lugging so much stuff around every day of my life, so I break best-practice and develop bad habits.

Looking at it objectively there are bad habits and bad habits. Not changing a lancet is perhaps not ideal but I don’t think it presents a major risk. Ditto changing needles. My fingers might be a bit more pepper-potty because of using a slightly more blunt lancet but, hey, life struggles on.

However, really bad habits, such as not bothering to check blood glucose or inject properly bring you into a whole new level of naughtiness and pain. Given that I’m quite fond of my sight, legs, kidneys, etc., I’m content to slip into some bad habits but certainly not down into the depths of true diabetic negligence.

15 thoughts on “Bad habits

  1. Mike

    If you are minimalist, then I have no idea what I’m am as you saw for yourself.. Pockets or else!! 【ツ】
    A decent pair of combat trousers are what is required (for me that is)..

  2. Rohan

    The caption for that picture nearly had me choking on my lunch! xD

    I’m with you on the bad habits though – changing lancet EVERY time you check glucose is just ridiculous. Ok, I probably go too far the other way out of laziness (It’s been at least two weeks since I last changed lancets!), but my fingers usually let me know if I’ve gone really too far.

    I usually go minimalist too – depending on how long away from home I can get away with jacket pockets for a couple of days if I really want…

  3. Tim Post author

    @mikeinspain – I’ve gone more minimalist since we last met up; but not quite to your standards yet 🙂

  4. Tim Post author

    @rohan – glad you liked the piccy. If anyone’s interested it’s by William-Adolphe Bouguereau and is called Dante and Virgil in Hell. Dante being the DSN and Virgil the diabetic, obviously.

  5. Mike

    @tim Glad to hear it! 🙂

    Now if we are punished for re-using then I not sure if there is anything left of me! 🙁

  6. Cecile

    Our local diabetic dominators and -trices aren’t such a pain in the neck – they prescribe an unspecified number of needles, for which the pharmacists give you anything from 1 – 3 per 3ml pen…on average, I can use each needle up to 38 times. Lancets I change when they start to withdraw into their plastic hilts (though it wouldn’t be trouble to change, just a simple turn of the Accu-Chek Multiclix cylinder…)

  7. Hairy Gnome

    Sounds like serious self abuse to me! I’ve seen magnified pictures of used needles and it’s not pretty, quite apart from the infection risks. I may be an old fuddy-duddy, but there’s no element of masochism in my make up thank you very much! Every poke and prick means new sharps for me.

  8. Annette A

    I used to reuse, until the DSN told me of a pateint she had who re-used constantly, through jeans etc. He rang her up in panic one day to say that the needle end had broken off in his leg as he injected, what should he do?’ She told him to go to casualty and they X-rayed it, but decided it was not going to hurt him, so they left it there. That alone made me change my needle everytime I injected.

  9. Cecile

    That very same nasty-nurse-narrative was doled out on a previous clinic visit (though here it was in stomach, and hubby’s wife managed to remove it with squeeze&tweeze)…and here the nurses themselves tell you to reuse, so if there’s any needly mishaps, it’ll be honour among thieves. In 16 years of reuse, I’ve never had an infection; pain I associate with nicking a nerve – which I’ve done with newbies & oldies alike.

  10. katherine cromwell

    When it hurts change the needle! I’ve never gone through clothes I like to see where needle going and when I was little you had to get the angle right because of the longer needles. Sometimes your skin would burn so you’d have to blow on it. I wouldn’t want to use a cannula again though!

  11. Sam

    As I sit here at 2.45 in the morning, feeding my gorgeous, delicious 2 week old baby boy – I thought I’d catch up on my fave blog! For me its amazing how my diabetes life has changed in the last 2 weeks. Thankfully an obsessive level of control throughout my pregnancy with an HBa1C of 5 meant that my baby was born without any complications at all. This only happened through serious hard work, testing at a minimum of 12 times a day and lugging about a ton of diabetes paraphernalia around.

    Now its a very different story, I chuck my meter and some dextrose in the baby’s changing bag and test about 5 times a day – and the crazy thing about it all . . . My levels are fine!

    Once things settle down, I will write something about the highs and very, very lows (usually about 1.2!) of my pregnancy.

    1. gramps

      good for you! this is very encouraging for me as i have a 12 year old grand daughter with type 1 and i had come to think that having a child (if she ever felt the need) would be out of the cards for her. so now i can let my somewhat constricted and troubled mind open up a bit and see that “there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamed of in my philosophy”.

  12. Tim Post author

    @samclifford – Hi! Nice to hear from you again and very glad all is going well with levels and parenthood! Congratulations to all three of you!

  13. Hairy Gnome

    Well… I suppose as hobbies go, baby-making is as good as any… 😀 Congratulations Sam, Sam’s little helper and the Samlet!


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