Spring Cleaning – Diabetes Style

Ah, spring. My favorite season. Breathe in that pollen-laden, asthma-attack-inducing breeze. Mmm.

Spring is here!

Seriously, though, I love spring. Despite the lethargy from having some sort of cold/allergies/sinus infection this past week, I am thrilled to have some 60 degree weather and a little more daylight in my life. A few months of hibernation has made me cranky and, let’s face it, a little bit discombobulated. There’s a reason why it’s called “spring cleaning.” Time to get organized.

But where to start? I decided I need to be better about checking my blood sugars, so in order to get more into the habit I’ve got to make it so that I have no good excuse for not checking. Here’s a quick run-down of how I aim to do that.

1. Take stock. How much diabetes crap do I actually have?

LOOK at all that crap!

I’ve accumulated a lot of stuff over the past few years…some of it useful, some of it not. The advantage to having a lot of diabetes supplies is, of course, that I have a pharmacy essentially at my fingertips. What, you may ask, fills my handy diabetes drawer? Three glucometers, alcohol swabs, one box of pen needles, one baggie mixed with unused freebie needles and lancets, a few boxes of test strips, an A1C self-test, a glucagon injection, and a box of insulin syringes (which I also never use since I don’t take long-acting insulin). I reckon this is a pretty typical collection of goodies for a diabetic, but since I only use a few of these items regularly, it’s about time I thinned out that hoard.

2. What stuff will I actually use and how will I put it to use?

I like things low, low, looooow maintenance. Checking my blood sugar regularly means having the supplies to do it on hand all the time and just having the bare essentials. I have to be “locked and loaded” for every situation, but I’d rather not be toting around my entire drawer. It’s a good thing I somehow have three glucometers (note: I’m NOT advertising for OneTouch Ultra…I have no preference for any type of meter, this was just a default choice), because that means I can stash them in convenient places where I can’t avoid or forget them. Each glucometer case has handy pockets for storing needles, alcohol swabs, test strips, etc., so that stuff is good to go too. Case in point: late at night or early in the morning I sometimes avoid checking my sugars because I’m tired and don’t want to have to go searching for my meter (or maybe I wake up disoriented from a middle-of-the-night low). One of my spare glucometers and test strips now has a home in my bedside table drawer. Problem solved!

Now I don't have to search for my meter at night!

My second spare glucometer is a teeny little one which is more convenient for nights out on the town when I don’t want to carry around my mega-purse. I also stash some glucose tabs in that purse for occasions when I might be having a couple of drinks, since alcohol tends to induce hypoglycemia in insulin-dependent diabetics if you’re not careful. I have to be over prepapred for those sort of situations and check my sugar at least once an hour. On a related note, one thing I’ve been meaning to try (since booze can make one a tad forgetful…) is saving an alarm on my phone or watch before going out to remind myself to check. I don’t recommend these tips for others – only a doctor can tell you how much or how little alcohol consumption you’re allowed.

Purple to match my dancin' shoes!

My third glucomter, obviously, comes with me wherever I go in my behemoth bag. Sorry folks, you don’t get a picture of Big Bertha. It’s too shameful. At least now I’ll have no excuse for not keeping up with checking even when Big Bertha somehow manages to detach from my hip.

3. Wait a minute…am I missing something?

There are a few things I could actually add to my diabetes care kit to make checking my blood sugar more convenient. One of my glucometers is somehow missing a finger pricker (techincal term?)…need to get one of those. Extra batteries is another must-have. A log to write down my sugar readings and notes should at least accompany my bedside glucometer and the one I carry around in Big Bertha. What good is all the pain of testing your sugar if you don’t even write down your readings??? I don’t know, but I sometimes get lazy anyway and don’t take the extra step.

The simple act of checking one’s blood sugar can become a major pain in the rear end when you’re constantly on the go. Sometimes, though, taking the time to do a little organization can get you one step closer to keeping up with the pace of a busy life while staying dhappy 🙂

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One thought on “Spring Cleaning – Diabetes Style

  1. it’s like carrying around a diaper bag for yourself, huh?? 🙂

    i have a suggestion for you…can you write a post sometime about what all of these things do and why you have to use them (for us noobs 🙂 )? i’m not terribly familiar with the procedures that diabetics have to do all the time or why they’re all necessary. it would be interesting to hear that from you!

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