Diabetes can sometimes seem to play by a rulebook that makes no sense, tossing out unexpected challenges at random. What are your best tips for being prepared when the unexpected happens? Or, take this topic another way and tell us about some good things diabetes has brought into your, or your loved one’s, life that you never could have expected?
Jumping right in here with my first-ever post on this blog!
Being prepared for the unexpected is a huge component of not just my “Diabetes Life”, but also my professional life. I’m a systems administrator/systems architect by day, so, much of the time, it seems like ALL I DO is think about “What could go wrong?” “How could it go wrong?” “How can I prevent it from going wrong?” and “If it DOES go wrong, how will I respond/fix things?”.
This professional obsession with planning/preparing/and making contingency plans is insanely well-aligned with dealing with diabetes. The same mentality that is used to address questions like “What happens if twenty million people all decide to visit our website simultaneously?” or “If the database server crashes, how can we recover quickly?” at work can easily be applied to things like “What happens if my CGM malfunctions?” or “If my blood sugar crashes, how can I recover and get back to normal quickly?”. That said, here’s a few of my tips:
- Prepare. Have the tools you need to address a bad situation (or a plan to get them). I wear a Dexcom G5 CGM, which is awesome 95+% of the time, but every once in a while, I get the dreaded “???”, or readings that don’t match my symptoms, or the sensor gets accidentally pulled off. For that reason, I always carry a meter with me too, and I keep spare meters everywhere. There’s one on my desk at work. There’s one on the table next to my recliner. There’s one on the nightstand next to my bed. Similarly, I keep an extra infusion set for my pump, along with syringes and other “emergency” essentials in my computer bag. My computer almost always goes with me whenever I’m more than a half hour (or so) from home, so I’ve got almost everything I need just in case.
- Assume that things will go wrong. Pessimism isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If you expect things to go wrong, and they don’t, you get a pleasant surprise. If they do go wrong, you’re prepared. I keep a juice box in the center console of my car, and another one in the driver’s door. I’ve also almost always got a baggie full of jelly beans (1g of carbs per bean) in my pocket. I might forget the jelly beans once in a while, but the juice boxes are there to save my butt if I need quick carbs and find myself sans Jelly Belly.
- Know your environment and the resources at your disposal. I’ve gone low at work and not had anything to correct it with on me. As much as I try to remember to carry stuff all the time, I’m human and I forget occasionally. However, I also know that there’s a giant container of sugar next to the coffee pot in the break room. A few spoonfuls of that into a glass of water may not be particularly tasty, but it gets the job done.
Now then, I’d be remiss if I failed to address the second part of today’s prompt. One amazing and unexpected thing that Diabetes has brought into my life is the amazing #DOC, and all the people in it. We really ARE a global family, comprised of people from all walks of life, and in all stages of our diabetes journeys; and just like any family, we support each other, encourage each other, celebrate each other’s successes, and help each other out when we stumble. It’s amazing to be able to go to a conference and run into somebody that you’ve been interacting with online for years. I most recently had an experience like that when our local Diabetes Support Group invited some folks from Mannkind to come and speak about Afrezza. Turns out, the “patient advocate” and I have been following each other on Twitter for over a year.
Thanks for reading! New post tomorrow!