Top 3 Dirty Habits of Type 1 Diabetics
We all have bad habits. Nail biting, knuckle cracking, procrastinating, the list is endless. But having diabetes welcomes a whole new plethora of bad habits to develop. And because we are human, we tend to get caught up in them at some point in our life.
1. Over-Pricking: It's easy to develop favorites. We get comfortable and become creatures of habit. In diabetes this reveals itself in over-pricking. Myself and almost every diabetic I know have a favorite one or two fingers that they prick. While this may not sound problematic, after awhile our favorite fingertips develop calluses that make our skin as thick as leather and start to lose feeling. Although there are ten fingertips in front of us, years of using the same fingers cause us to forget to use another one each time we test. One effective way to combat this is taking a moment before you test and thinking--what am I doing here? Am I about to use my pointer finger for the thousandth time? This might be more difficult than it sounds, but your poor pinky needs a break. Try leaving a little note in your test kit if memory fails to serve.
2. Test Strip Hoarding: This habit in particular drives my mom insane. Part of it makes sense--when you test and you're not around a garbage can, what are you supposed to do with the used strip?? Put it back in the meter case, of course. However, several days of classes and thirty test strips later, things start to get a little gross. After a while of test strip hoarding, my own habit started to bother me. It's pretty embarrassing when you're in the middle of class and try to discretely test, and strips covered in your blood fall on the floor around you. Not to mention it kind of repels people. I would say you will most likely grow out of this phase if you're still in it. If not, make cleaning out your meter part of your regular cleaning routine.
3. Easy Bolus Overload: Despite my best efforts, I am still guilty of this habit. Every pumper who's discovered the easy bolus option on their pump has found that they never even need to look at their pump to give insulin. Just a few clicks, and boom! All done. Not only that, but rounding up to the nearest .5 unit is good enough for every meal coverage. This habit tends to get ugly because ratios change, and you find that you're eyeballing your easy bolus even though the math is now more complex--for example, going from a 10 ratio to an 8 ratio. We tend to just guess, based off of how many beeps we hear, what amount of insulin to take for certain foods. Three beeps for a bowl of chips. Four for ice cream. And sometimes this works--sometimes we do have a good grasp of how much insulin we need for our regular snacks without even looking. But sometimes, easy bolus is just a shortcut that stops us from testing, seeing how much active insulin we have on board, etc. I've found that sometimes my easy bolus is way off, or I didn't need it because of the huge amount of insulin I had on board. It's always good to test to see where you're at, and calculate how much your bolus really should be
Bad habits are inevitable, but they're also possible to overcome. If you have a dirty diabetic habit, don't fret. We've all been there. Once it starts to affect your well being though, make sure you take steps to combat it.