The contrary diabetic

By | 30 March, 2012
It's a cat and mouse together. It's contrary. Geddit?

It’s a cat and mouse together. It’s contrary. Geddit?

Having set out clear and logical rules for my body to abide by when it comes to diabetes (which are in reality about as effective as trying to teach an amoeba to tapdance but never mind) it is unfortunate that my mind doesn’t apply similar logic. These are genuine things that I catch myself doing, for no good reason at all.

  • When treating a low, if one of the three fruit pastilles taken out of the pack is black, that one will be eaten last. If the next fruit pastille in the pack is black, the low will be treated with four fruit pastilles. This is obviously the most valuable way to spend your time when you’re a three.
  • I am drawn to people with dodgy islet cells. Despite hating shows like Britain Has Losers and the YFactor, I will develop a passing interest in any contestant highlighted in the press has having a broken pancreas. Despite living oop north, I supported Tottenham Hotspur for many years because of a certain diabetic Gary Mabbutt. And despite being a little out of the boy band target audience age range, my ears do prick up at any mention of the Jonas Brothers because one of them (and I’m never sure which) is pancreatically challenged.
  • Any low blood sugar that occurs within 2 hours of the time set for the alarm to go off will be ignored for a while in the hope that it will go away and let me sleep. This never works, but I never learn.
  • Despite raving about how pumps are easy to hide and no one need know that you’re wearing one, I am almost physically unable to talk about my pump and CGM without showing them to you. Thereby blowing my own cover.
  • I would rather not have a drink than have to bolus for a sugary soft drink. But beer is always bolusworthy.
  • I like to be at the forefront of diabetes treatment, looking at the latest developments in pumps, CGM and other wizardry. But the thought of replacing ye olde blood glucose meter with the latest gadget holds little appeal.
  • I will sometimes look at what my pump bolus wizard recommends and decide to override it for no reason I can put my finger on. The scientific data to support this approach is lacking to say the least
  • I rarely record my own diabetes results, but any test results from the Dr will be dutifully recorded on a spreadsheet.
  • I deal with the day to day stuff and nonsense of diabetic life pretty well, but any mention of how much extra junk I have to carry when I travel prompts a disproportionately impassioned response.
  • In my mind, my little finger is the cleanest of all my fingers. If I can’t wash my hands before a blood test, I will always test my little finger, having first rubbed it vigorously on my jeans. This is an obviously foolproof method of removing muck when I don’t have access to water.

If I was one of the pancreatically-privileged, I’d definitely be starting a campaign called “Diabetics are even more difficult than diabetes”. Please tell me it isn’t just me.

12 thoughts on “The contrary diabetic

  1. Tim

    Ha ha ha! I think I do all of these too – especially the 06.30am lows, they can wait until 07.30am to be treated. And, no, it doesn’t work for me either!

    I also do the little finger thing – last weekend I was covered in sawdust and paint but did I wash my hands when I tested? No, just a bit of spit on the finger and a wipe on filthy jeans and away we go!

    1. Alison Post author

      I can never decide whether its better to lick or not – in my head, if I’m high, surely licking will just add sugary saliva to the already revolting mixture of mud/paint/dust/muck off jeans on my fingers and make the already probably pointless blood test even more so. But instinctively, it does feel right to lick your finger to make it cleaner. Obviously research is needed in this area to better support diabetic types who are too lazy to seek out a tap.

      1. lizz

        I use down the side of any finger I think must be cleaner because I can’t recall having used it to open a door, press lights to cross the road, stroke the dog etc. Probably very unscientific too. I brace myself with the same thought each time – I’ve never had an infection in a finger prick.

  2. Steve Miles

    Nice start to a Friday – always enjoy your jottings!

    Had a suprised temporary mechanic sorting my car before a run a a race circuit last weekend. He was armed with tyre gauges, spanners, tape and quick emergency repair kit – but was confused when requested to run back and get sugar from the race trailer for the driver! The packets of splendour he brought were not much use either!

    Adrenaline soon raises your levels when on track

    1. Alison Post author

      Why thank you @smiles

      I love the logic of bringing artificial sweetener to treat a hypo.

  3. Megs

    @Alison, I’m with you on those apart from the colour preference for fruit pastilles, mine just have to pass the fluff free test.

    I regularly override the bolus wizard as if it is interferring in my superb control – why do I waste battery getting it to calculate?

    I seem to have a reflex action to lift my top and show my cgm/ pump to any interested/captive audience I may find myself discussing diabetes with or explaining why I am producing a bleeping alarm.

    1. Alison Post author

      Yet another important area of research – is involuntary flashing in public a previously unidentified side effect of CGM/pump use?

      1. lizz

        All of the above. Perhaps there is some sort of diabetes gene that includes the above reflex actions?

        I press my trousers to show the bumps of my pump catheter and sensor (I mean, it’s positively revolting, now I think about it, and probably makes people retch) and often reach under my clothes to fetch my pump from where it hangs on its bra pouch, flashing my perfect and flat stomach at the same time. OMG, I am a flasher! Thanks, Alison, for drawing my attention to this aberrant behaviour!

  4. Rohan

    The little figner one 1,000,000% It totally keeps out of the dirt on it’s own autopilot for precisely that reason, EVERYONE knows that! It’s part of getting diabetes – your pancreas shuts down and your little finger starts avoiding dirt…

  5. lizz

    For some reason or other, I have no pricks on my middle finger. It sticks out further than the others, you see. It’s probably dirtier for that reason.

  6. leanne mulholland

    I actually laughed out loud at the last one….I always think my little finger never touches anything i eat and so opt for it when hand washing isnt an option or i just cant muster the energy to walk to the sink. I often hope alcohol gel has special sugar melting powers at work and use that instead whilst also opting for the pinkie.

  7. Peter Childs

    I was always taught that you should always use the side of your finger……

    Several reasons were given back 25 years ago when I developed diabetes, not sure I remember all of these correctly…..

    * Better blood supply to the side of the fingers so you’ll get a better sample amount.
    * There are less nerves so it will heart less
    * There are less nerves so you are less likely to damage them.

    I’ve never had an infection from blood test sample wholes either and I hardly ever can be bothered to find a tap. I’m not sure if the dirt has effected the results I’m sure it has but probably not by enough to make a difference. I wonder if its possible to be hypo after just eating a doughnut or if it matters anyway 🙂


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