Here are my answers, to the questions I know something about.
- “Sharps” container - Do I need to get one?
YES. Buy a little gizmo called CLIP-SAFE at CVS for $4.25. It snips the needles off your pen or syringe and strores several hundreds of them. You can put one in your purse too. Then you can throw the stuff out in regular trash.
- Alcohol swab - I’m going through these like crazy. Should I buy bulk or cut down.
NOT NECESSARY. DR. Bernstein says this is not necessary in his book and that it toughens skin, and a lot of people posted over on the alt.support.diabetes newsgroup that they don’t swab with no problems. I never have and have never had any infection with any shot or test lancet.
- How many times do you test each day? I test 4-6. is that too much? Am I going overboard?
Test as often as possible, limited only by how many strips you get each month. Testing is the way you figure out what you can eat while still keeping safe blood sugar levels.
Keep records of what foods in what combinations worked well with what insulin doses, and which ones didn’t. Be sure you learn what your carb/insulin ratio is and how it might change from breakfast to other meals.
- I switched to pen and found it more painful than the needle. Can I mix? should I mix? I hate wasting and I have a bottle of Lantus and a bottle of Humalog going to waste.
You can use a syringe to extract insulin from a pen. Just DON’T inject air into the pen the way you do with the vial. I mixed all the time as my doctor gave me samples of both vials and pens. I personally prefer the syringe because it allows me to use 1/2 units and I’m very insuiln sensitive, but I just bought some pens for when I am on vacation at a hotel as it’s easier for travel.
- I have all these black and blue marks on my stomach. Am I doing it wrong?
No. There are a ton of capillaries in the tummy that you can hit. But I have recently switched to using my upper thigh, taking a pinch where there’s some fat and I am NOT getting those nasty bruises. That location may slow R insulin, but I haven’t noticed a significant difference, and I love not being all spotty.
- Every single doctor and nurse warned me about taking care of my feet. There are tons of stories about amputation. Its scaring the crap out of me. How worried should I be.
If your feet are numb or painful, VERY. Otherwise, if you can learn what to eat to keep your blood sugar under 140 mg/dl you don’t need to develop the neuropathy that leads to amputation.
If you have neuropathy in your feet, keep your blood sugar under 140 as often as possible, even if it means going way light on carbs. Lowering blood sugar under that threshhold has been shown to have a very good effect on early neuropathy. Taking Alpha Lipoic Acid helps too.
- I live in Florida. How dangerous is the heat?
If it is very hot, you may absorb your insulin more quickly, as your blood vessals dilate.
- What’s a good reading on the meter? I usually range from 60s to 150s through the day. People without diabetes are 80-100, so what should I target?
70-140 mg/dl is ideal, but 60-150 is great for Type 1 as long at those 60s are the LOWEST you go. Dr. Bernstein suggests raising your blood sugar with glucose if you go below 90. I’d recommend you read his “Dr. Bernstein’s Diabetes Solution” and even if you don’t do his diet, his chapter on hypos is EXTREMELY helpful.
- where do you buy diabetic specialty foods? Is there a good website to buy it online? I was a serious chocaholic, I could kill for some right now.
There are NO foods sold as “diabetic” that are good for diabetics, and a lot of crap sold to diabetics under that label that raise blood sugar. Sugar free stuff is full of sugar alcohols that do raise alcohol unless you are one of the “lucky” people for whom they cause diarrhea.
Look at the carb counts on the foods you eat and learn how your blood sugar responds to specific amounts of carbs. That’s the only way to get good control.