Click for the Diabetes Life Hacks – Friday 5/16 Link List.
Share the (non-medical) tips and tricks that help you 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 (scroll to the bottom of this post). Please remember to give non-medical advice only! (Thank you Rachel of Probably Rachel and Kelley of Below Seven for this topic suggestion.) ~ From Bitter~Sweet Diabetes.
We’ve only been doing this diabetes thing for almost 14 months. Most of the “hacks” I know I learned from other people from the DOC. So I most everything I am going to share in this post are most likely not original ideas, so I don’t get to claim the credit for anything except being the one to pass on the information.
DLH #1 – The Site Change Baggie.
This is one of my favorites and makes like SO simple, especially for the busy family on the go. It will also be VERY handy when we are travelling this summer and Angelina is going to diabetes camp.
This hack is super easy. We get a big box of pump supplies approximately every 3 months. Shortly after that box arrives I clear some space on the table and pull out the supplies. I put one of each item (site, reservoir, skin tac, hollister remover, 2 tegaderms or IV3000) into a small pile. I try to make as many piles at a time as I can easily fit on the table without them mixing together. Then I just take a box of dollar store sandwich zipper baggies and put each pile in one then repeat the process until most of the supplies are bagged up like this. Then I just put all the individual site change bags back into the box the supplies came in and put it in our diabetes supply closet. I keep a small basket of these in our diabetes cart in the living room where we do site changes and refill that basket as needed (it holds about 10 site changes, or roughly enough for 1 month). This works wonderfully also for those times that I get a call from Angelina’s school that something is going on with her site because I can just grab a baggie and go, knowing that I have everything I may need for the site change (except insulin) and won’t lose the wipes or tape in my purse or d-bag. After we do a site change I put the baggies in their own little box in our d-cart and when the next shipment comes I reuse the baggies to cut down on waste.
A note about making these kits: I do not use ALL of the supplies to make baggies. I generally try to keep some supplies lose for those times when maybe you need to replace the tape but the site is still fine, or maybe you get a low reservoir on day 2 and don’t need a new site.
Thanks to my friend Lisa for this idea.
DLH #2 – Opsite Flexifix tape
This stuff is awesome. It does tend to leave a sticky residue like IV3000 (both are made by the same company – Smith & Nephew) but it is so versatile that I don’t really care. We use this primarily with the Dexcom sensors since you are not supposed to put any tape over the actual transmitter. It comes in a 2 inch or 4 inch size and comes on an 11 yard roll. It seems to last forever too. The taller roll in the picture we have been using for almost 4 months, compared to the smaller roll that I just got last week. As you can see, even after 4 months of using it with the Dexcom there is still PLENTY of tape left. The larger size runs around $25-30 on Amazon and the smaller size is about $18-20. I originally bought the larger size thinking I was getting twice as much tape for only a few dollars more, but after doing this for a while I have discovered that it’s really nice to have both. The paper backing and the top clear film that you peel off are both cut in such a way that if you cut the 4″ piece in half it can be difficult to remove the backing before applying it to the skin. If you’re looking to save a few bucks and don’t mind the frustration then it can be done. Either way, this tape lasts forever and is well worth the money.
I also have used this tape for another less diabetes related use (although probably equally as important!) and that is for placing over ID labels on Angelina’s devices. There are waterproof, smudgeproof, yada, yada labels that you can buy (or buy a label maker) but they can get pricy, especially when you think of all the diabetes gadgets you may have. So, I went the kludge way and decided to print my own labels on white address labels. I paid $1 for a pack of 240 address labels, printed, placed on her various devices and cut a piece of flexifix to fit over the top of the paper label to help protect it from moisture, smudging, etc.
DLH #3 – The T1D Card
I haven’t actually used these yet, but I have been working on them. I’m sure most of us have heard tons of (sometimes annoying) questions or statements about diabetes that may not always be true. And sometimes you just don’t want to patiently educate people, or it’s hard to do it without bitterness creeping in. So, I decided to make up T1 Cards to hand to someone when Angelina or I don’t have the time or inclination to inform someone that no, T1 isn’t caused by eating sugar. And that nothing “happened” to her arm… It’s a CGM (and then having to explain what a CGM actually is.) I usually don’t mind explaining or educating others but Angelina is fast approaching that stage in life where she doesn’t want Mom talking to other people about her diabetes. It’s not so much that she doesn’t want them to know… she just doesn’t want to talk about it, or overhear ME talking about it. The T1 card is about the size of a business card and can easily be carried in a wallet, purse, pocket, etc. The idea came from participating in a conversation with someone on an ADHD/Autism group I belong to. Someone had mentioned that she had a fellow mom of a child with autism who was prone to very public sensory meltdowns and so she carried cards with her explaining that her child had autism and no, he really couldn’t control himself at all times.
The cards can potentially be a two-fold benefit for us. 1. because by handing someone a card, I’m not just blabbering on about Angelina’s diabetes. 2. I tend to go into WAY more detail about Angelina’s diabetes than is necessary with people who ask a casual “What happened to her arm?” when they notice her dexcom sensor. I can usually see their eyes glazing over, but seem powerless to stop talking about it. It’s important to me, I really want people to understand.
With all that said, and with my husband rolling his eyes and telling me I am a dork (Angelina loves the cards by the way and said she wants to give one to EVERYONE) here are the T1 cards: