Friday, May 16, 2014

D-Blog Week Day 5 - Diabetes Life Hacks

It's day five already in D-Blog Week. It's going by way too fast!

Today we are supposed to talk about the fun or interesting tricks we have discovered along the way that make our diabetes management a little easier.

No medical advice of course.

Just little stuff we've figured out.

1. I love the thigh thing. That little black leg holster that I use when I'm wearing a dress and want to hide my pump. It sits 3/4 of the way up my thigh, the pump is tucked in, I can remote bolus as needed and no one is the wiser.

Tip: it does NOT work so well if you are wearing nylons. I did that a few weekends ago when I needed to be all dressed up. Instead of looking all ladylike in my outfit, I looked rather gauche as I tried to surreptitiously hike up my 'holster' every two minutes as it slid down my nylon-covered leg. It took away from my ability to look classy while offering friends glasses of champagne and plates of hors d'oeuvres. So don't wear it over nylons. And yes, it does come with a clip that is supposed to help secure it to your underwear. If anyone can figure out how to make that work while wearing nylons, let me know.

2. I have a rule that every time I wake up in the night to use 'the ladies', I must check my blood sugar. I've learned enough times that when I wake up at night, there is often a reason. Highs, lows, climbing, dropping. Sometimes I really just need to use the ladies but, for the extra 15 seconds it takes to check, it's worth it to avoid problems later. So I check. Problem is that I use a glucometer that does not light up in the right places. I can see the screen quite well but I cannot see the test strip and certainly can't line up the blood drop with the tip of the test strip without making a bloody mess (ha!).

Tip: I turn on my pump light and use that to light up the test strip. Put test strip in glucometer, prick finger, squeeze finger, turn on pump light, aim blood drop at test strip, blood is sucked in, glucometer beeps and pump light goes out. Easy peasy.

3. I have a waterproof pump now but it wasn't always that way. I also have Dexter who is not exactly waterproof. On long runs that are often sweaty and sometimes rainy, and during triathlons when everything I'm wearing is soaked through from the swim, I have learned to waterproof my not so waterproof equipment.

Tip: Before long runs, before rainy runs and certainly before triathlons, non-waterproof pumps can be wrapped in two layers of saran wrap and then tucked into a ziplock bag in order to protect it from the elements. Dexter is also a ziplock bag kinda traveller. Those little snack-sized bags are just perfect for fitting diabetes paraphernalia.

4. Glucometers freeze in cold weather. Long runs in the winter used to mean that I could not test my blood sugar for, sometimes, several hours.

Tip: carry the glucometer and test strips as close to your body as possible. If still frozen when you go to use it, use the ol' trick of putting it between your thighs and squeezing tight. It's just about the warmest part of the body, especially while running, so it only take a few seconds to warm that puppy up enough to test. It falls in the category of 'not particularly classy' but runners do all sorts of bizarre and not so classy things so no one even looks twice.

5. Electrolytes are a great thing to have during long periods of exercise. Many people bring electrolyte drinks with them on long runs and bike rides and sip as needed. Unfortunately, the drinks usually have a lot of carbs which is fine when the diabetes gods are behaving but not so fine when they're not. I have learned the hard way that carrying a water belt loaded down with liquid that you can't actually drink because you're high is the very definition of frustrating. Not to mention dehydration-inducing.

Tip: use an electrolyte drink that does not contain any carbs (ex. Nuun). Carry a solid form of electrolyte (ex Edisks) that you can take as needed or not take as needed. That way you can drink when you want to, not just when the diabetes gods tell you that you can.

Links to other people's tips and tricks can be found here


  1. When I'm wearing fancy dresses, I opt for thigh-high pantyhose and just stick my pump in the thigh band. It's not as uncomfortable as you would think.

    Putting Dex in a ziploc is a good idea. I'm getting one in the next week-ish and that is a useful one!

  2. Ah, saran wrap and a zip lock is a great tip for my non-waterproof pump! I'm going to give that at try this summer. A few months after I started pumping I had my pump in my bra while out dancing and the sweat killed it. So thanks for this tip!!

  3. Aww, I love your list. You are very considerate to not turn the light on in the middle of the night. I do and my hubby always sleeps through it :-P.

    I've also learned (the hard way) about keeping insulin and test kit/test strips close to my body when it's cold outside. A full day of skiing is fun until you can't tell what your blood sugar is. Thanks for sharing! :)

  4. Excellent list! I can't help you with the nylon thing. (Sorry!) But I'll say this about keeping my glucometer warm. When it's cold and I'm running and I know I want to test soon, I slip my glucometer into my glove and hold it for a minute or two; that usually has it nice and warm for when I'm ready to test.

  5. I've just signed up to walk a 4 miler for the first time. Can you give me any advice on the type of waist pack I should use to carry my glucometer, water, phone & snacks in? Thanks in advance, Janie