Friday, February 4, 2011

Diabetes 101


Its simple.   We havent been doing this long but I do know this -  people with diabetes need to be organised. The key is to be prepared for the worst case scenario,  be prepared for emergencies, prepared for long trips, short trips, trips where you will be active, trips where you may miss a bus, trips where you might want to eat more carbohydrates than usual.   

Im aware this reads slightly like a Dr Seuss novel.   

Be prepared for trips that may be too hot for your insulin (because it cooks when temperatures are over 30 deg out!) rendering it useless in lowering blood sugars.   You get the drift, be prepared for when you may not be quite prepared enough!!  And finally once you have all your supplies ready to go - throw in a bit more. Just in case. You can never be too prepared :)

Heres some of our supplies thought it may be interesting for diabetes beginners -

This is a stash of insulin we've accumulated in the fridge after 3 changes of regime.   It has to live in cold temperatures to store and room temperature when insuse.   Cold insulin stings to inject apparently. When youve removed it from the fridge it has to be used within 30 days as insulin has a pretty short life span.

The big boxes you can see with the grey pen on top is Reubens current insulin called Lantus.   It is a long profile basal analogue he gets one shot a day (in the buttocks).   To prep that pen you screw on a needle top 4mm in length, dial up the dosage and squeeze the button on the end.    When he eats he gets another quick acting insulin called novorapid.   As the name suggests it peaks rapidly. Infact it begins working within 15 mins of the injections at meal times and fades out its action after 5 hours.    It corrects a high blood sugar and also covers the carbohydrates he is going to eat.

Next is a medical alert bracelet.   We got ours over the internet
after searching jewelery stores without much luck, settled on one from a company called level living.   They seemed to remember that children get diabetes also. 

 Its a soft quick dry fabric for little hands and most importantly has a tight clip and a medic alert plate that reads - INSULIN DEPENDENT - In Emergency call 000.   Imagine something happening to me - and nobody knowing Reuben had a bunch of insulin in his system and was needing his next meal within 30 mins....

It has cute colorful trucks printed on it.  Awwww.

I couldnt deny Reubs a pic since hes such a gorgeous patient kid :)

Next is his hypo kit.   He needs carbohydrate foods to be administered if his blood sugar is low anywhere anytime.   Heres some examples of what we have in it.   I keep this packed in the refrigerator so its ready to grab and go.     If he is under 5mmol/l we give lucozade or honey and follow up with a biscuit.   Just enough to bring his bloods back into range without a yo-yo effect.  Being a toddler hes pretty fussy at times so the key is variety.    One day he loves Ribena juice next he spits it at me!   If Reuben is having a hypo with symptoms (like shaking and confusion) solids cannot be given.   More on this later.

Every diabetic should own a few blood glucose meters and a record book. It helps you recall where you were, look for patterns and to adjust insulin doses.  

Plenty of people plug the meter into a pc and download them on a program.   Maybe someone who does this could comment or do a guest post for me!!  

The long gray pen looking thing is the lancet (has 6 needles inside much like a gun barrel).  A lancing devices pricks your finger at adjustable depths to get a good droplet of blood to put onto a test strip.   The little meter shown here is our 4th.   We have the performa, optium exceed, accuchek mobile and this the freestyle light.   I like them all for different reasons.  This one in particular I would recommend to people with diabetic children as it takes a miniscule amount of blood!  

Supply overload!   Needles for pens, plain old syringes, ketone urine strips, ketone blood strips, spare strips for 4 blood glucose monitors, glucodin glucose powder (useful to mix with juice and milk when young kids dont want to drink large quantities.)  4 lancing devices and 3 spare meters.    4 tubes of glucose gel, each tube is 15 grams of glucose.  Honey, syringe for the honey or lucozade, finger wipes, spare lancet refills.   In his carry about case we have antiseptic hand wash, a needle clipper to take the end off the sharp so they can be disposed of minus the needle, his lantus and novorapid pens, spare needle tops and syringes, glucose tablets and orange glucagon case (for unconscious hypos where food cant be taken by mouth).

That was a big post but before diabetes I had NO idea about needles and such... so perhaps it was of help to someone!

**NB Id love to see pictures of other diabetic's supply stashes.   I bet someone could prove that my stash isnt so big afterall!


1 comment:

  1. Wow, your supplies look like ours (except that we don't have so many vials of insulin!).

    I thought I'd respond to your comment about downloading the info from Mr 10's BGL meter. He has 3 Optium Xceed meters (one next to his bed for morning tests and another one he carries all day for all his other tests and a spare) I write the results in his book. But once a month or so we download the info onto the computer program so that we can have a look at the trends etc. Mr 10's paediatrician likes the graphs we print out and bring to our 1/4ly appointments but it's not essential. Personally I find the book more useful as it is on hand all the time. I could never just have the computer information.