#DBlog Week Day 5 — Life Hacks

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Share the (non-medical) tips and tricks that help your  in the day-to-day management of diabetes.  Tell us everything from clothing modifications, serving size/carb counting tricks to the tried and true Dexcom-in-a-glass trick or the “secret” to turning on a Medtronic pump’s backlight when not on the home-screen.

How about how to hide your Dexcom so you don’t hear it?  Cuz that little mother is very, very, effective.

My mom once woke me up when I left it upstairs and she kept hearing from her room on the other side of the house.  I’m not allowed to leave it out overnight now.  I put it in a wool sock, stuffed in my closet, with the door shut.  If I don’t I have a night spent with one ear cocked, no lows, and no sleep.

It’s funny, I really don’t have any tips or tricks.  My carb counting is atrocious (a combination of SWAGing and ignoring high carb counts).  Like I said earlier, I usually hide my Dexcom at night not make it louder.

A lot of the way I do things is out of laziness, not cleverness.  i.e. because I don’t struggle with scarring (yet), I fill up my pump to its maximum and let it run out before I change the site (about 4-5 days).  This drives the nurses I see up the wall, but my numbers don’t rise and I’d rather not change it every three days if I can help it.

I wear my Dexcom on my arm because 1) my waist is really tired of carrying things, and 2) it’s the only place that doesn’t regularly get bumped in the course of my job.  Legs? Forget about it, out before mid-shift.  Waist?  I carry so much there and am constantly bending, straightening, not to mention how high the pants I wear are.  Arms seem to be out of the way, most of the time I don’t even feel it.

Traveling.  Let’s talk about traveling.

1) Don’t offer.  Really, don’t.  If they don’t say anything about the assortment of needles and medical equipment in your carry-on don’t make them look at you twice when you cry out, “I’m a diabetic, that’s why I carry tiny needles and vials of medication.  Please don’t bother me!” Dollars to cents they’ll bother you.

2) If you’re on a pump, refuse the full-body scan, but refuse it like a normal person, i.e. “I’d like to refuse”.  No mess, no fuss.  Be prepared for awkward, but not everybody needs to know why you refused.  At that point they will ask about your pump so tell them what it is, that’s it.  It’s like in court, answer the question and don’t give them material with which to question you further.

3) Don’t immediately question their job or tell them how to do it. “I’m allowed to carry all this so you can’t stop me” or “I’m wearing an insulin pump so you can’t make me go through the full-body scan”. When a person is approached in that haughty, a little bit defensive, and bothersome way, chances are they will respond in kind, and honey, they can make your life a mini hell.

Of course, if you are challenged be ready to support your legality with a Dr.’s note, TSA guidelines, etc.  But do it in a non-threatening, calm manner and clearly communicate (in non-diabetic speak) what each item is they are questioning.  I promise, coming from someone who deals with crazy people all day, a soft, quiet answer is very unexpected and pleasant.  You have the power to defuse a tense situation with your body language, tone, and word choice.

Now these are relevant to older diabetics, traveling on their own, who are old enough to answer the questions when they are presented.  I don’t have a diabetic child, so I cannot speak to those unique struggles when traveling.  I have just found that the less impact you make initially will get you through the line quicker and with less hassle.

I’ve also come to understand that I will be awkwardly patted down in public.  It’s cool, no biggie.


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