Where do you wipe off the drop of blood that is left after your glucose measurement? On your pants? Do you throw the used strips with dried blood in the garbage, or do you just leave them where you used them? Be honest, do you truly change needles after every injection? In this post we will focus on habits related to diabetes, or more precisely the bad habits. As someone who lives with a person with diabetes, is it ok to be annoyed by these so called “bad-diabetes-habits”?
Written by diabetes coach Hildegunn Fossheim
I have discussed this bad-diabetes-habit phenomenon with others who have diabetes and their message is usually pretty clear – that I should not fuss about these small trivial things. My loved one at home just shakes his head and smiles at me when I complain about one of his so called diabetes habits. If someone leaves leftovers or garbage lying around the house, you would point it out to them right? But it’s not right to remind someone that has diabetes that used strips should be thrown in the garbage. Is this truly right?
Of course the diabetes-habits doesn’t only concern used strips. Among other things, we have this drop of blood that is usually left after a blood glucose test. Although most people in the beginning of their diabetes career, or kids, have sanitary napkins with them, I know very few people with diabetes who are constantly carrying around a Kleenex box. Besides, everyone knows that your finger should be made clean before the glucose test, and then after the test you have to wipe your finger again due to the blood drop. My idea is that there should exist cheap pocket sized packets that contain both a sanitary napkin and a dry napkin. You know, like the ones with salt and peppers that you find at cafes or fast food restaurants. My husband has a tendency to wipe the blood drop on his socks. I find that kind of funny. Where do you wipe this drop off?
Another thing that may seem strange to us (who don’t have diabetes), is that so many are not changing the needles in their insulin pens. At least it’s rare that people do it before every injection. The picture below is neither a topless picture of me, or anyone else, but a proof of how bad it can get if you never change your needles! Inside these growths there is a huge mass of old insulin and scar tissue. I understand very well when my husband and his friends say that insulin dependent diabetes is so time consuming to live with, that many of the “here and now things” are not always a priority. That’s why I simply change my husband’s needles…in secret…without him knowing it. My little secret play to take extra good care of my husband’s health.
Whilst we are on the subject of needles that aren’t being changed, this also applies to the lancets that are used to prick your finger when monitoring your glucose levels. I believe that many people are being sloppy with changing these as well. My second secret that is being revealed in this article: I switch these without by husband knowing as well.
My little diabetes contribution
Why do I replace these secretly, you ask? Shouldn’t my grown-up husband take care of his own responsibility? I see so well, both through my husband and my job as a diabetes coach that people with diabetes have so many countless more factors to consider everyday than the rest of us. Maybe we who care for people with diabetes can lift some of these responsibilities from our loved ones? These small actions, like changing needles and used lancets, are a small sacrifice for me who doesn’t have diabetes. It may seem like insignificant gestures for you with diabetes, but they are oh so important to your health. The picture above is a somewhat extreme illustration (but we have to in order to a prove a point, right?). Yet, these “small things” that seem trivial can have serious consequences. I can’t control that my husband has full control over his blood sugar 24/7, because that’s after all his task to do, based on his own ability and effort. So my “little mission” is my contribution to my husband’s health. I will probably always continue with my hidden health-mission that “only” my husband profits off.
Maybe there are others who also have family council where you delegate these tasks such as replacing needles or other small diabetes-related actions to other members of the family?
Now I have given my husbands so-called “bad-diabetes-habits” on a silver platter (it’s unfortunately the “disadvantage” of being married to an engaged diabetes coach). So now I would like to read others’ “bad-diabetes-habits”. Where do you wipe off your blood drops? How often do you really change your needles (remember to be honest now)? Maybe your loved ones with diabetes have some diabetes-habits that are not mentioned in this article?