Friday, May 16, 2014

Tricks of the Trade

Today is Day 5 of DBlogWeek and today I will be sharing some of our tips and tricks to the daily management of T1D

The Guess and Check- when we are not at home and don't have access to our scale to weigh J's food, we use our Guess and Check method. The Calorie King App has quickly become our go to resource for finding carbohydrate counts when nutritional information is not available. However we still have to guess the portion sizes etc. Whether J is at school or with the both of us we both look at the food and will come up with a total carb count for each item and then we will compare our two numbers to decide what number to go times we are the same and there are times that we are way off from each other and we will meet in the middle or go with the lowest number to be on the safe side.

Toothpick- This is a new trick that we learned while being on vacation and having a insulin pod malfunction sending both the PDM and Pod into a tizzy fit with alarms blaring and error messages displayed. I had to call the phone number displayed on the PDM to report the problem and she told us the only way to turn off the error message and alarm was to use a toothpick or something of similar size to push the reset button on both the back of the PDM and the back of the Pod. You can also use anything that is similar in size but we now have a toothpick stock in the OmniPod carry case because you never know where you will be when something like this happens and you might not have access to a toothpick, paperclip etc.

TSA- We travel a lot and always have our children with us, so I have learned that when you make things easy for TSA, then your experience is typically easy and speedy. After J was dx and we had planned our first trip, I knew that we would be carrying A LOT of diabetes supplies. I knew that we would need a special bag for travelling so, I went on the hunt for the perfect TSA bag. I found a clear soft plastic carrying case. This is perfect because TSA can see everything inside the bag without having to unpack it's contents.

Medical Alert- These are the most important things in our life. J wears a silicone bracelet with a Type 1 Diabetes medical alert but, I also found Velcro straps that have a medical alert notification and have a paper stored inside with all of his medical information. I put one on his car seat strap in case we were ever in a car accident and my husband or myself were unresponsive. I also have one on his backpack in case something were to happen to J when he is not with us, or incase his backpack ever got lost. These straps are wonderful because they can be used for sooo many different things and when you have a young child unable to tell people of his medical condition taking these precautions are a must!

Hazardous Waste- we used to buy the containers and then take them to the local dump when we had a few full ones (they take them for free) in California it is against the law to throw them in your garbage. After a few trips to the dump we were notified by an employee that they have free containers to give out to people that want them. So, if you're looking to save a little extra money ask your local disposal site if they have any they can give to you. We don't fill them up as quickly now that we are pumping but it is still nice to have one less expense!

Discount Cards- Shortly after J was diagnosed I went online to the manufacturer's that we were using to see what type of offers they have for their customers. I found that Freestyle (and most other's) have a discount card. This card is for additional discounts after your insurance and helps to cover some of your co-pay for your test strip supply. With this card we only pay $15 a month for our regular test strips!!

 Glucagon App- There is an app available for your phones!! This app allows you to log in your kit expiration dates, do practice steps for administering the shot and will also remind you to practice every 3 months and if you're in an emergency situation it will be a lot easier to reference than the little paper in the kit! We not only have it on our phones, but have also had family and J's school caregiver download them as well so they have an easy reference and can do the practice steps to be familiar with the process, if god forbid the need ever arises. *This is currently only available for Apple products

Snap Shot- Another great tip from our Endo was that every time you make a change on your insulin pump, take a snapshot with your phone so that if something were to happen to your pump you have all of the settings available to re-program a new or loaner pump. It is also great to be able to see your previous setting in case you adjusted too much or too little.

Mini Pocket Scale- We purchased this pocket sized scale to take with us when we travel. It is small, lightweight and easy to bring along and we got it on Amazon for around $17 (there are also even cheaper options to choose from) It is also great if you are going to a family or friends house and want to be able to weigh your food.

These are just a few of my D-Life hacks and if you have some that you'd like to share, I'd love to hear them! You can comment below or email me :)


  1. Wow, you are full of great tips and hacks. I'm definitely going to look for a clear travel bag like yours - that's a great idea I never thought of and it will definitely speed me along!

  2. Awe, thank you Karen! My clear bag is made by Caboodles and came with a few other multi-sized canvas bags inside as well. I found it at Wal-Mart in the cosmetics section :)

  3. We recently started doing the snapshot of settings and it is so easy and great for peace of mind. I checked my Android phone for the glucagon app and didn't find it but I love that idea too!

  4. Lesley, I'm not sure why Lilly hasn't created the app for Android...hopefully soon!

  5. I didn't know those little scales were so inexpensive! Definitely getting one.

    The PHOTO of the PUMP SETTINGS = will change my life. I am forever picking up my post-it notes of life-giving information off of the floor because they no longer stick.

    Thank you! Happy hack day!

  6. You're so welcome!!! This is why I love the DOC. We can learn so much from each other :)

  7. Thanks for the tips! With the t:slim our daughter can store more than 1 profile but I never thought about what if something happens to her pump! And the car seat straps, amazing! Basically all of our children are out of car seats but I think I might want one for my purse?!

  8. Thank you for your kind words!! They have larger ones that you can put on your daughters seatbelt strap. I have also had people contact me wanting to know where I got them because they wanted to use them for certain sports as well as family members that might be driving kids around etc.

  9. Hi Alicia! --Just catching up on some D reading and I must comment on your great ideas! We have a travel scale but the one you posted looks much smaller. I'm definitely ordering it. I have never heard of the glucagon app. What a great idea! It is so intimidating. This app will force me to keep in practice. I hope they come out with an Epi-pen style glucagon soon! Thanks, again, for sharing your diabetes hacks!

  10. Karen-
    Thank you for your kind words! I love being able to share my ideas, and I love reading others as well. We can all learn so much from each other and having platforms like these will only help to increase our success rates of showing diabetes who's boss :) I have heard that an Epi-Pen style glucagon is on the way, just not sure when.....these advances can't come soon enough!!!