Tag Archives: diabetes tips

Preparing for Disasters with Type 1 Diabetes

diabetes emergency listThis year we have seen many mandatory evacuations because of both hurricanes and fires.  When you live with diabetes in your home, how do you prepare for disasters? Do you have a list of evacuation supplies checked off and ready to go?

People in the hurricane states, often have a emergency tote or bag that they can grab on the way out of the door but remembering everything that you could need can be a challenge.  Over the years, we have come up with a detailed list of evacuation supplies for people with diabetes on the Diabetes Advocacy website.  In lieu of recent events, I thought that it might be a good time to go over some of the items with you.

Keep a container near the door

As I mentioned, it is important to have all of your supplies in a quick, easy to grab container.  Evacuations can be planned, but sometimes you are only given minutes to have all of your valuables ready to leave.  Make sure your diabetes bag is always in the same place so that you won’t waste valuable time trying to find it.

Packing Basics

Make sure that you have some of the basics like a Frio pack if you live in a warm climate.  You will also want a flashlight and spare batteries in case your area loses power.  Candles and wooden matches can also provide light and heat if need be.

A first aid kit should also be in your emergency container. While you may have a lot of diabetes supplies, other medical emergencies can happen and basic first aid is a must.  Don’t forget to add anti-diarrhea and anti-nausea medication to your kit.  You should also have copies of all prescriptions in case you are away from your home pharmacy and need to access your medication refills.

Food and drink

We have all seen the images of people stocking up on cases of water and in an emergency it is vital.  If you have drinkable tap water, fill up milk jugs, juice jugs and other items with water to take with you.  Also pack juice packs, tinned food as well as cheese and cracker snacks. If you pack tinned items, don’t forget a hand can-opener as well.

Diabetes Supplies

It is recommended that you pack two weeks worth of diabetes supplies with you during an evacuation.  Consider bring a spare meter, spare batteries, alcohol wipes, pump supplies, insulin, syringes, ketone strips, and medical tape.

Other items to remember

Don’t forget to bring spare blankets, cash in case bank machines are down, and pet food for your furry family members.

I am sure that I have forgotten a few things but I would suggest that you view the Diabetes Advocacy Emergency page and print off a copy of the emergency supplies checklist.  This will help you feel a bit more prepared should a disaster hit your community.

Tips and Tricks…day 5 of Diabetes Blog Week

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Oh my goodness, today’s prompt is seriously probably the hardest of the week.  Share you best diabetes tips and tricks. Do I have any? We put one foot in front of the other hand hope for the best. Does that count?

Okay, tips and tricks…well, the first trick I learned was when my son was first diagnosed.  We didn’t have Rufus the bear with diabetes but I knew that my toddler needed to feel that he was not alone. The way I did that was to give Elmo diabetes as well.  He had a stuffed Elmo that somehow made its way to the hospital with us.  As I was learning to inject a doll, I have my two year old a needle and supervised him giving Elmo injections.

Writing that sounds crazy. I gave a 2 year old a needle? I did. It was a pen needle and the tip wasn’t in it but I gave him the pen filled with insulin and let him pretend to give his stuffed toy an injection.  He was making his friend feel better just like I was helping to make him feel better.  It worked for us!

As he aged, new issues came up and bribery was introduced.  Okay, we didn’t use the term “bribery”, we referred to it as rewards.  If he ate his breakfast without a fuss, he received a sticker.  After a certain number of stickers a reward was earned.  It worked for a bit.

What tips did we use for storing supplies? Well for us storing diabetes supplies was relatively simple…totes.  We have totes on wheels and when they were too full, we also had totes that went under the bed.  This allowed us to have a large supply of glucometers and pump supplies for times when insurance coverage was not available. My son still has both the cart and the tote.

Finally our rule for travel is simple…always pack twice what you think that you will need and then throw in a little more!  Whenever my son travels, he seems to experience a lot more highs than normal.  We do more site changes.  We bring more supplies.

I have also learned to store insulin in more than one place when you leave home.  We traveled across Canada once many years ago.  All of the insulin was in the cooler.  The cooler was somehow put on the heater setting.  All of the insulin was at risk of being spoiled. I never did that again. Insulin is now scattered among bags for safe keeping.

The final trick we have used is all my son.  When your sites are starting to peel up but the insulin is still flowing, you don’t want to make a change and your readings are still good–use duct tape! We have medical tape.  We have opt-sites.  My son uses duct tape to hold his sites in place.  Yes, they do make a mess of your skin after but they do hold your site in! –You may be a diabetes redneck when??

Five tips to Surviving Raising a Child with Diabetes

This month marks fourteen years of living with diabetes. They were not easy years. They still are not easy.  Each year has its own challenges–sometimes it seems like each day has its challenges!  I have had some amazing supports throughout the years however. I found a family online, some of whom I have met in person and some I still hope to meet one day.  They have helped to keep me going–offering support, words of encouragement and the occasional kick in the bum to send me in the right direction.

I thought it would be a great time for me to share with you a few of the tips and tricks that have kept me marginally sane and allowed me to get up each day.

1. It’s okay to cry.  We all have our moments. We can’t carry the full burden of worry and care. It’s okay to breakdown now and then. Do it in the shower where you can scream at the top of your lungs.  Allow your child to scream too.  When you are both exhausted, hold onto each other and look at how best to move forward together.

2.  Find people of a similar nature.  Meet people online or in your community who get it.  Seek them out, ask them how they handle things and simply enjoy being around other people who have been there and done that.  Allow your children to spend time with these people as well so that they can understand that they are not alone.

3.  Take a day off. As a parent, take time for you.  Leave your children with you someone you trust and focus on you for a few hours or an entire weekend.  It will be hard at first. Diabetes will be in every other thought.  Push it further away until you can slowly feel the weight on your shoulders lift just a little.  Feel the tightness in your chest relax just a bit and breathe.  Give your child with diabetes a day off as well. Test for them, bolus or inject for them, and count their carbs.  Let them just be for a day.  They get burdened as well. Let them have that small break without nagging or worry.

4. It is okay to punish your child for not doing diabetes related chores.  This one was huge for me.  As a parent, we carry some guilt when our children are diagnosed. We are to protect our children and somehow we failed when they get diabetes.  No this isn’t logical but being a parent isn’t always about logic.  This is just how we feel. This feeling makes it very difficult to lump testing their blood glucose levels into the same realm as making their beds.  It isn’t but it is in the same realm as having a bath and brushing their teeth!

Diabetes sucks. We all agree but this is the hand that we are dealt. Testing bg levels and somehow injecting insulin into their bodies is not negotiable…to a point.  As parents we may have to come down in our expectations of how often our child will test and we have to remember that occasionally they will be feeling so “normal” that they may forget to bolus.  It is important that we find a balance between our ideals and what is safe. We then have to remember that we can say “Since you did not test at least once when you were out with your friends last night then you will not be allowed to go out with them tonight.”

5. It really isn’t our disease.  If we are not the ones living with diabetes, it is not our disease. Even if you do live with diabetes and your child has diabetes, it is still their disease.  That is an incredibly hard concept to deal with! We want to take this burden from them. We want them to do it our way because we have been learning for years and we know best…but none of that will happen.  We will hope that most of what we have told them will sink in.  We pray that we will be that little voice in the back of their head when they are about to do something stupid.  We standby ready to pick them up and help them when they stumble along the way, but we somehow have to let them find their way.

For me, the last point is the hardest.  I do not want my children to have to learn the hard way.  I don’t want them to stumble.  I want to protect them at all costs…but I can’t. I have to let them fly.  I have to be confident in all that I taught them. I prepared them to be on their own.  They are smart. They are good children.  They are a reflection of us.

suriving D