Diabetes Vernacular

This deserves it’s own thread. It was actually started by member Scott Strumello

My addition is: if you think that a “multiple choice test” is when you don’t even need to use a lancet to test because you can simply squeeze your fingertip and have blood come out of several different lancings already there and has nothing to do with school, you just might have diabetes. This was taken from a posting I had on my blog a while back entitled “Diabetes Vernacular” which was also along these lines, so I though I’d share them here.

Diabetes Vernacular are names for everyday diabetes-related issues. I should note that this is a compilation of input from a number of DiabetesTalkFest members, most notably a member who himself has type 1, as well as his wife who is fellow diabetes blogger based in Virginia and goes by the the screen name of “Diabetchik”. She is not yet a member of the Diabetes OC, but you all might appreciate some of her comedic vernacular, and quite possibly have a few of their own to add to the list.

Here are a few I’ve pulled from the list:

  • Gusher – after pulling needle or cannula out, blood spurts out
  • Red Gold – after pulling needle or cannula out, blood comes out but not in spurts
  • Flicked – son kicking or pulling wife’s insertion site out
  • Cheetah Spots – black and blue belly marks
  • Flea Bites – little red insertion site makrs
  • Pencil Pricking – my wife changes her lancets like once a quarter, her lancets are about as sharp as new pencils
  • Surf Boards – used OneTouch test strip on the carpet
  • Cat Toy – pen needle caps
  • Punching Bag – the tunnel vision you get when really low
  • Inhaled Airborne Sugar – odd overnight spike in BS for no reason
  • Salad for dinner? – “your pre-dinner BS was so high that you have to eat salad as your entree?”
  • The Bulge – meter in pocket
  • The Stash – an odd collection of Easter, Halloween, gifts and other items that contain sugar that are used for lows
  • Purgatory – the time after taking your blood is taken and your doc calls back with the result

The following were my own additions to this brilliant list:

  • Multiple choice test – when you don’t even need to use a lancet to test because you can simply squeeze your fingertip and have blood come out of several different lancings already there
  • Fingertip skidmarks – a small streak of blood that continues to leak out of your fingertip after testing which continues leaking no matter how much pressure you put on it
  • Bloodletting – Not using a perfectly good cut from a knife or other household item for a glucose test because you recently tested

Then, there were a few other additions from the Diabetes OC members:

  • Leech – first strip didn’t suck up enough blood so it’s trash-bound
  • Hockey Puck – glucose tabs
  • Very Pregnant – high positive result on keto strip
  • Not Pregnant – negative result on keto strip
  • Rebleed – leech (see above) didn’t work, hole filled in, more pressure needed to get anything out without having to relancet
  • Zombied – fingers too cold to get any blood out
  • Drunk – really-high sugar
  • Carb – any substance up to 15 grams carb in it (potatoes, chips, 6 oz. Catalina dressing, carrots, etc)
  • Devil Food – food that for no reason at all, always shoots your sugar through the roof (why I can’t eat popcorn and my wife doesn’t eat lots of pizza)
  • Fatted – Pizza style effect where the fat absorbed more slowly so high BS occurs hours later – yes, I know I should get a pump and embrace the fabled “square bolus.”
  • High GPA – Above 7.0 on A1C
  • Sugar Stack – my large collection of glucometers trapped in my closet
  • Cheap Date – all diabetics, we don’t require dessert
  • UnCarbed – eating odd food, for which you don’t know the carbs for
  • Carb Query – asking wait staff what carb is for UnCarb food – usually replies come with blank stare
  • "You’

These are great!! I call this stuff ‘diabetespeak’. Here are some that I use:

Unprotected Eating - aka UnCarbed - eating food for which you have no idea what the carb count is.
Checking the oil - taking a fingerstick.
CarbKiller - very intensive workout, usually entered into with the intent to lower high BG


I love them! I read a post on Sixuntilme website that had some great ones. Here they are:

Bear Fingers - When a finger has been tested to the point of exhaustion and it needs to be rested or “hibernated”

Bouncing – When your bloodsugar drops so low overnight that your living kicks in some glucagons, causing you to bounce from low to high

Born Again Diabetic – When a diabetic fosters a new found interest in taking care of their health after years of negligence and denial

Carbonese - The ability to determine the number of carbs in a given food based on the total carbs and the serving size (coined by a 6 year old child with diabetes who is fluent in Carbonese and can eyeball the carbs without her mother’s input)

Cheap Shot- Inferior insulin brand, probably distributed/sold by Undisclosed Huge Discount Stores Whose Names May Rhyme With Tall-Fart

Clocking In – Another term for “bloodsugar reading.” Synonyms include “ringing in” and “reading at.”

Daylight Savings Time – See also “Time to Change the Lancet”

Dead Strips - Used blood glucose meter strips found in random spots, i.e. under the seat of your car, on the floor at the gym, in a shoe, in a small gray kitten named Siah’s mouth.

Diabetic PMS - When the blood sugar rockets up for no apparent reason for the 2-3 days prior to the start of a woman’s cycle. Men may also experience this in a sympathetic mode.

Dotties – When you prick your finger, squeeze, and about five holes show up with blood. See also Bloody Constellation.

Gusher – When you prick your finger, squeeze, and end up assaulted by your own bloodstream. May also be found when you remove an infusion set.

Hooking - When your pump tubing snags the doorknob and almost rips out

Interstate BG Checks - Where upon the diabetic (while barreling down the interstate above the speed limit) juggles the steering wheel, BG meter, test strip, lancet and a target finger. Commonly occurs in the dark.

I didn’t feel when I was driving home from my interview, so I performed an interstate BG check and almost hit a moose.

Larry Bird – Boston Celtic’s basketball legend, jersey no. 33. Serves as cardio workout goal time inspiration for many diabetics. Often found at the punchline of many of my sad little quips.

Working out at the gym, I made sure to do Larry Bird on the treadmill.

Low Bowl - The bowl in the kitchen of a diabetic filled to the rim with 5-15g fast acting carb treats. Miniature versions are often found in diaper bags for “On The Go” lows.

Nabs – Crackers with peanut butter spread between them. Typically used to follow up glucose tabs in the treatment of a low bloodsugar. Names derived from the Latin “Nabisco”, the maker of the most popular peanut butter crackers. Most diabetics learn about nabs at diabetes camp.

Officially Scary – Applies to situations, numbers, etc. Defined as any statistic that stretches the perimeters of safety.

While at the gym, I checked at the 33 Larry Bird minute mark and noted that I was at the Officially Scary Number of 37 mg/dl!

Panicky Diabetic Syndrome - The use of more than five test strips in a 55 minute period because you aren’t confident that your bloodsugar is coming up or down… Often accompanied by a Rage or Serial Bolus.

Random Bolus - The method of bolusing at random and mildly calculated intervals, i.e. realizing that you may have under-bolused for a meal and opt to course in a unit or two to cover bases.

Rage Bolus - The act of suffering from a high bloodsugar for an extended period of time or for an unknown reason and the retaliatory insulin dose. Oftentimes results in a low bloodsugar.

Real People Sick – The differentiation between bloodsugar issues and the common cold. Phrase slips out most often when the diabetic admits to not feeling well and must specify that it is not bloodsugar related.

Regan-Rage - Coined by Nicole’s boyfriend; Term comes from the little girl in the Exorcist. Describes the behavior some diabetics exhibit when having a low bloodsugar. Regan-rage behaviors include swearing, screaming, spitting of juice, and stretching body parts in unnatural ways. Does not include levitating. If your diabetic friend/partner/child should levitate, it is probably not caused by low bloodsugar.

Nicole was in a Regan-rage, spitting the juice all over our bedroom walls and cussing like a sailor.

Serial Bolus – Administering bolus upon bolus to bring a bloodsugar down. Often likened to a Rage Bolus, but usually follows the course of multiple hours vs. one huge crank up.

Sleep-Eating – The act of rising from a sound sleep, proceeding to the kitchen and eating anything you can find. A diabetic often wakes up while in the process of sleep-eating without being able to figure out how they got to the kitchen or why there is ice cream all over their fingers and face.

Last night, my boyfriend found me sleep-eating again; when he was able to rouse me, I was mortified to find I had eaten a ½ gallon of chocolate ice cream.

Sugar Reaper - A night time hypo that nearly kills you.

I had a visit from the Sugar Reaper last night, which explains the bags under my eyes and the juice stains around my mouth.

S.W.A.G. Bolus – Scientific, Wild Assed Guess bolus. This is where you use more instinct than data to bolus an unexpected or uncalculated meal.

Time to Change the Lancet – Defined as any time when you change the batteries in your smoke detector, reset your clocks, or when the lancet starts to rust

Third Nipple - the little protusion from an infusion set when a shirt is pressed around the site

Note: Every sentence I tried to write for this one was borderline inappropriate and was making me laugh too hard. If you can come up with a “clean” one, let me know. I, apparently, am too immature.

Twilight Zone High - A high with no rational cause.

-Diabetic Limbo - “How Low Can You Go!” My husband like to play this game frequently. Based entirely on the information given him when he was diagnosed…some 33 years ago…he insists on trying to keep his bloodsugar as close to 60 as possible. Hypo-unawareness…more like hypo-non-existence

We are on a first name basis with the Sugar Reaper!

Winning Pick3 Numbers = BG results
Plumbing = infusion set, as in "I’ll be right down, I’m just changing my plumbing."
Juicing = taking a bolus

“Daddy Delusional” - the character he turns into when he goes low.

These are great! I collected some on my own website from readers on Islets of Hope – here are a few:

A1c: Any diabetes-friendly version of steaksauce.

Blood Boogers: What we get when we cry from finger pricks.

Cryboohydrate: Foods like candy and french fires that make you cry because you cannot have them!

Dia-bee-bees: Because of all the stings you get!

Downstairs: Low blood sugar.

Downstairs on the Floor: A really bad blood sugar crash.

Home Home In The Range, My Dear You Can Go Out To Play: What mom sings to me when my blood sugars are good!

L-O-W: The word mom spells out to warn me and my brother when my little sister is acting all weird. Even the dog runs now when she spells L-O-W.

On The Roof: Really high blood sugars.

Peetones: What we check when we have to pee on a stick.

Red Moles: The red bumps you get after shots and finger sticks.

Giggle Test: Toe and foot tickles you get when someone checks your feet to see if they are okay.

Glu-gross: Any fast sugar, like gel, that tastes gross which, most do.

Upstairs: High blood sugars, as in "my sugars are “upstairs.”

Cake–when dried blood winds up in the oddest places (on clothes, magazines, records, my cell phone…)
And I am totally a born again.

“hit a wire”: when we give Julia a shot, and it stings a nerve ending badly.
“Deeyabeetes” : what my daughter calls it, because she doesn’t like the word “die”

I’m trying to think of replacement words for the following terms that make me cringe…
Diet with healthy eating
seizure with low
restrictions with moderation
complications with challenges
high risk/brittle with ?

Football=Messenger bag with supplies that I have with me every time I leave the house
Jackpot=finding a test strip in a new odd place in kid’s diaper, stuck in cell phone, used as a book mark
Shooting party= when you and your other diabetic friend inject at the time in front of people
The Look= The odd look (sometimes disgust) that a strange gives you when you inject in public sometimes followed with "Man I needed that fix"
Ghost low= You feel low but you test fine sometimes followed with cursing because you ate a snack before testing