After 32 years and a couple of weeks of Type 1 I’ve decided it’s time to face the fact that my ‘thing’ isn’t going to just disappear so I’d better work with it rather than against it and get myself sorted.
HBa1C’s for the last ‘as far as I can remember’ have floated around ten with yearly discussions with the GP nurse about how I promise to try harder and occasionally do but frequently don’t. Anyway this year I’ve got referred to the dreaded Consultant who I’m sure will give me a similar lecture to the ones I got when I was 8, 9, 10, 11 etc
I’ll get on to the main subject in a minute but hope you don’t mind me using this moment for a braindump.
DAFNE – strikes me as a fantastic thing but the week out of work is a huge problem for me at the moment so going back to basic counting of lines and frees (some terms for the older readers) and more frequent testing appears to be a way forward.
Pumps have been thought about purely by myself but I’m not certain it can give me a greater control than I’m currently getting with my four a day injections and my wonderful Novopen 4 – I love and am still stroking it fondly Oh and the threat of “You’ll never come near me wearing that!” from my otherwise supportive wife has an impact.
Exercise does make a difference – a few years ago I convinced myself to run a marathon and fours years later I managed to get in. The training for that improved my control significantly although I’m not sure if that was to do with the exercise or the closer monitoring needed for all the (haphazard) training. I MUST get out again but it always seems too cold / wet / sunny / hot etc to persuade me to get my trainers on.
Now you’d think after three decades I’d have the basics understood and accepted. Heck, it took me nearly twenty years to realise why the longacting (I believe it’s fashionably called basal now) was cloudy – I just thought it was so you could visibly tell the difference! However, I always struggle with instructions from kit manufacturers. So my big question is (and well done for still reading this ramble): does everyone else change their pen needle after every injection? I’ll confess each of my needles lasts a few days and my accu-chek skin piercer goes round the drum a few times before I feel the need to change. Am I committing an ungodly sin or are my memories of multiple injections from an increasingly blunt needle on a glass syringe tainting my view somewhat? – And there’s another memory; did anyone else have a metal gun type device that held the glass syringe before firing it into the skin circa 1980?
I’d love to know I’m not the only one who has to squirm a little every time the nurse says “Are you sure you don’t need some more needles?”
I’m done now, feel free to return to more sensible posts now I’ve had my bit of therapy ?
I grew up in the days of lines and frees, but DAFNE does build on that quite a lot. It’s a bit like being taught how to actually drive the car you’ve been bumping along in for the last few decades, it does make the journey a lot smoother. I’d say it’s worth a week off work.
Hi Dave welcome! Yes I remember that bloody awful steel gun! My Dad felt it was necessary for all of my family to try it out so Mum, Dad and sister had a go before expecting me to use it! God it was so painful. Do you still have yours? The Science museum had a lot of info on diabetes which I showed my children with glee a few years ago. However, they didn’t have the dreaded gun. In fact that has been why I prefer to lancet myself and have only just after 3 years of having the pump actually started to use a firing device. My fingers tips could be a lot better really if I used cleaner lancets but I don’t like sharp ones they hurt! Counting carbs the old fashioned way @ Alison Lines are no different to exchanges/ portions and whatever the correct terminology is these days. I still use lines (sorry I’m not that old ! My auntie told me that black lines were carbs and red ones were free? ) I remember 10g carb rather than 15g. Daphne or UCair (support at Poole hosp) is a great way to meet other like minded diabetics. It is worth it especially if you’d like a pump.
Katherine, lines/exchanges etc are all the same (personally I changed years ago to just calculating by actual grams of carbohydrate, I find it simpler), but I found DAFNE to be much more than that. It goes deeper into helping you work out the ratio of how much insulin you need for how many carbs or to lower your BG by a set amount. Looking at how you deal with different things like exercise, eating out, sickness, alcohol etc. The concept is the same as the old lines way of working, but I found the teaching to be far more indepth which is why it can still be really useful even if you understand the basics.
Dafne (although they dont call it that here in Cov) was definitely worth doing – they actually did it one day a week for a month here rather than a whole week – so that you could go away each week and try out what youd learnt, then go back and discuss. Very helpful, even after 30+ years (especially so, I’d say, as it rereshed all the stuff I kind of remembered and corrected a few things – like that animal proteins maybe ‘free’ but they do actually raise your blood sugar by raising insulin resistance – something I then went and found out by accident, but at least knew why it was happening!)
Only being diagnosed five years ago, I have no idea what you’re banging on about old-timers!
Welcome to Shoot Up Dave! I agree with what they’ve said above – DAFNE is a Good Thing. I never did a formal DAFNE course as I was essentially taught it all when I was first diagnosed. I just don’t know how anyone could get resonable control without it.
If you can’t get the time off work for it, there’s an online version somewhere. I’ve forgotton the URL, but I find it and post back. It might be a useful start.
Anyway good luck with improving your control. My motivation for doing it is not to please doctors but to feel well as much as possible. Woo yay!
Well that’s a relief. I didn’t even dare mention injecting through clothes – I thought that might be one bad habit too far!
Katherine, I believe the ‘gun’ is still in a box in a cupboard somewhere at my parents and I’m always tempted when I come across a much younger diabetic to go for it and say “Look at that; you think you’ve got it hard. Pfft”
On a flip side to all of this of course I now appreciate as a father of two small children how incredibly frightening it must have been for my parents to see their little angel (well, in my eyes I was perfect) have to go through so much life-changing change and the po’s and per’s always there to catch them out – and a grandparent suggesting to my mother it was her fault for giving me too much chocolate before I was diagnosed wouldn’t have helped.
Dafne (although I think it the male version should be called Des) does have incredible, almost evangelical, feedback but I’m not sure if the local hospital offer any version of it so for now lines, tests (blood not urine that showed if you were high a couple of hours ago) and counting those carbs seems like a good step in the right direction.
Thanks for all the feedback it is very interesting to hear a non-medical practitioner viewpoint. And yes, I’ve occasionally come across nurses and doctors who have said they are too but still they don’t seem to live in my world of ups and downs.
Sorry to disappoint Dave, but DAFNE already has a brother called DESMOND, he’s the equivalent for Type 2 diabetes. I’m more interested in DAVID which was a research project invented by a few of us in a bar once – Drinking Alcohol ;
As an inexperienced and lowly T2, all I can say @seasiderdave, is not to listen to this bunch of raving masochists! Change your needle for every injection, and your lancet for every test! Don’t risk driving disease into your delicate digits, or barging bacteria into your bared belly; you know it makes sense! I get through a box of needles and a box of lancets each month, though I do double up on the NovoRapid injections by dialling up a second dose without removing the needle from my tortured tum.
Just as an aside @mustard, I’ve found the Accu-Chek FastClix digit dagger to be much more gentle than most, about 75% pain free, much better than the old style one
@annette, don’t mention insulin resistance to me, I’ve just progressed from ox killing dosages of insulin to quantities capable of murdering hippopotamuses (hippopotomi?) or a small to medium elephant.
@seasiderdave and @mustard, yes, I had one of those gun things too! It was kept in a very cheerful black cardboard box.
To be fair, it did serve a purpose because injecting yourself with the needles that came with those steel & glass syringes was not what anyone could call insignificant! It could take forever to pluck up the courage to jab one of those needles into yourself without the gun! Those needles were bl**dy thick, not always very sharp, and therefore *always* bl**dy painful ! Even with the gun, about 90% of injections hurt like hell!
I will always remember being amazed, when I started to use plastic syringes with their relatively thin needles, at the relative lack of pain.
I had an uncle who was a GP who supplied me with my first plastic syringes which he got as samples from a sales rep. It was a few years before my own GP was able to prescribe plastic syringes. I was diagnosed in February 1971 (just before my 10th birthday, which I spent in hospital, so I have recently “celebrated” my 40th anniversary!) so I would guess that it must have been about 1978 (?) before I got my first “legitimate” plastic syringes?
I had lines/exchanges and and a painful autolet finger pricker to use on the 2 minute bm test strips.. ah, those were the days..! When I got my first Novopen you had to pay for pen needles, so I only changed them with a new cartridge, and lancets only get changed these days with a new gadget purchase.. so every 3 years or so?! quite normal I think for an old salt..) and as for DAVID, I’ve been doing it for years!! The pump is my friend for life now (I hope) or until I move up the transplant list?!
That’s the one. And as @nigho said it was needed to avoid the very real pain of injecting with the big glass syringes and significant needles that I remember my parents sterilising by boiling in a pan. I also remember the black box and I’ve stored it somewhere in the house and hope to find again soon.
So who remembers the small chemistry set of test tubes, fizzing tablets and colour charts (was blue good?) that were involved in urine testing for sugar?
@ckoei – good grief, Cecile, how did you find that? Yes that was it; I’d forgotten it was called a “Palmer Injector” and yes, that was the black box it came in. Attractive isn’t it? The date range they give of 1955-1965 is way off though! I wasn’t diagnosed until 1971 and my parents got mine brand new. And according to their profiles @mustard & @seasiderdave weren’t diagnosed until 1976 and 1979 respectively so they must have been available after 1965.
@seasiderdave – yes, blue was 0% – good – and orange was >2% – bad – with a ;
Along with that “boiling in a pan”, did you lot (or your parents) have to sharpen your needles with “pumice stones”? With advent of plastic syringes, at least you could use them (the stones) to scrub your heels…that Palmer piece could only be useful if you wanted to get rid of Robert Mugabe
I remember speaking to a lady in the waiting room at my 3monthlies a while ago, and she assured me that ever since diagnosis in the early 1960s, she’s used plastic syringes with teeny needles (reputedly capable of fitting inside the bores of the biggies that came with the glass syringes…ouch!)
@ckoei – No, definitely no needle sharpening for me, not even any syringe boiling. To ensure syringe (& needle) sterility, I had what was supposed to be a system for travelling with your injection kit, but because it was so compact, convenient and hassle free, I used it continuously. (prepare for yet another trip down diabetes technology memory lane)
It consisted of a dull silver-coloured metal box (aluminium I suspect) about 25mm x 80mm x 120mm with a hinged lid. Inside that was a white plastic insert with cut outs for storing your insulin bottles, needles and a grey plastic tube that contained your syringe (with needle attached if required) and enough surgical spirit to kill any bacteria within a half mile radius. This meant that as long as you kept the surgical spirit topped-up, you had a ;
@ckoei, @Nig and @seasiderdave The Palmer gun really looked its most appealing when the glass and steel syringe where in place. James Bond had nothing on us and our smart device! Boiling of equipment was on a weekly basis and then housed in an old fashioned glass butter dish sited on the top shelf of the fridge reeking of surgical spirit. My father hated everything to do with diabetes and managed to secure a delivery of plastic syringes and needles for me(all used just the once!) up until the delights of the Novopen.
I loved my chemistry set especially when it bubbled over the top. Good job we don’t relyon it now!
Wander chocolate (German with butterfly print on it from Boots) Heavenly almost as good as a Wispa bar!!!! Back in the 70’s Boots products were pretty awful (as is now) but they sold the wonderful German chocolate and for a while fresca?? A bit like 7 up/ Lilt but better. Where has it gone? and why?
my food was always weighed on salter scales so we knew by sight !!!!!!!!!!! how much carb I was having. I still weigh things now a days and yes I still get it wrong when out ! The joys of being able to adjust with the pump!
I still weigh things too. I also have a (very) small set of electronic scales I carry in my handbag. Not for everyday type use, one meal a bit off I can deal with, but when I’m on holiday, a full week of not knowing if I’m counting right makes me uncomfortable. I also still have the jug my Mum bought that measured exactly 7 fluid oz of milk ( = 10g CHO) that I had every morning for breakfast. (I dont carry the jug around, its just a useful size.)
@nigho I’m sure plastic syringes for me only came in for me in the 80s. I was definitely at least 5 (1980) when using the glass version. Looking back now and also looking at my two young children I can only imagine the horror my parents had trying to stab a small arm or leg with such a relatively large blunt needle.
@mustard Years of ‘diabetic chocolate’ from Boots at Easter from well meaning rellies from Boots still conjures up memories of the taste of sorbitol. Yak! Don’t remember the Fresca but I do remember One-Cal as a predecessor of the now common no sugar options.
@annette Scale carrying is something I’m obviously in need of doing! On the plus side with all technological breakthroughs something as simple as nutritional infor on the back of packages is pretty darn useful – ie. a recent shaky session near my local co-op meant I quickly nipped in for some sugar boost. My preferred drink of choice (coke) was ridiculously expensive so I perused the juices fridge. Co-Op Healthy Smoothie was on offer although I was concerned at the word healthy in the title might reduce the carbs. I quick flick of the carton showed 14.7g per 100ml. 14.7!!!! It took a few reads to compute as my brain obviously wasn’t working at it’s best at the time. Bought, drank and my mind returned to sanity pretty quickly although I’m still baffled now as to how that can be marketed as healthy when it contains (using their words) 41% of the RDA of sugar.