I’m talking here about everyday diabetes disasters. Not the major disasters resulting from thirty years of neglect which lead to blindness, legs being chopped off and an early and entirely unfulfilling meeting with Grim Reaper. To quote KT Turnstall, I’m talking about the “miniature disasters and minor catastrophes” that dog us diabetics and lead to loud exclamations of “FFS!” from all around these sceptred isles every day.
5. The Squirter
A rare but devastating phenomena in which you hit a small artery when finger pricking or injecting. This results in a fine squirt of blood coating either a) your freshly ironed white shirt b) your face – making you look like an extra from the Evil Dead series of films. Neither is ideal.
4. The Sudden Stop
You hear your trendy polished-chrome stove-top kettle whistling from the kitchen so you rush in to take it off the boil. Or at least you try to. You come to a sudden and disorienting stop as your pump infusion set gets tangled in the kitchen door handle.
I’m not sure what they put in the glue on infusion sets, but it’s capable of stopping twelve stone of quickly moving diabetic in its tracks. They should use it to stop landing planes on aircraft carriers dagnabit!
3. The Hypo Cure Drought
Being good diabetics we have caches of our favourite hypo cures stashed around the place in case of unexpected hypoglycaemia. Of course, these run out from time to time and it’s crushingly inevitable that when your blood glucose is hovering around 1.6, you’re sweaty and entirely befuddled that you find your cache consists of an empty Lucozade bottle and some discarded Fruit Pastille wrappers. Gah!
2. Out of Date Strips
Like most diabetics I have a huge store of spare lancets, test strips, needles, ketone strips, sets, pump reservoirs and so on and so on. While I get through some of these bits of kit fairly quickly, some will languish in the back of my cupboard until the day they are needed.
Perhaps I need strips for a spare meter after my main meter’s battery has run out or something equally inane. It is, of course, at this point that the spare meter moodily points out your test strips are eight months out of date and it refuses to give you a BG reading! This usually results in said meter being hurled from a high window. Entirely deserved!
1. Running out of Insulin
It’s a Friday night and you’ve had a long day at work, but you’ve got to rush out straight away to a distant relative’s birthday party. If you don’t go to Cousin Ivy’s bash you’ll be disowned and disinherited. A family three line whip.
With astounding predictability you’re in such a rush you forget to check your supplies, assuming you’ve got plenty of Lantus or Humalog to last the night. Arriving at Ivy’s place you find the world’s biggest and carborific buffet in front of you and only 3½ units of insulin to see you through the night. “No trifle please, I’ll just stick to the salad thanks”.
So there we have it; those are my top five – what are yours?