Veterans vs. noobs


My thinking here is very light-hearted and fun, so please take this discussion, and participate in it, in that spirit.

I’ve been a bit amused lately reading through some of the advice those of us who have been at this a long time dispense to the new folk, and recalling how uptight I was when I first started my journey.

So, here’s a discussion about newbies vs. veterans and how we approach, manage, and treat our condition. I know I’ve changed A LOT since I first started. To kick it off, here are a few:

Finger sticks: The noob changes the lancet every time, as instructed. The veteran changes the lancet when they think about it, sometimes maybe once or twice a year.

Injections: The noob goes to bare skin, cleans with an alcohol pad, uses a fresh, new needle, cleans the rubber part or the pen with alcohol before screwing the needle on, discard the needle. The veteran reuses the needle they put on that morning, injects right through their shirt.


The noobs are convinced that because they are intelligent and disciplined they can keep their bg in unreasonably tight ranges… e.g. 80-90 at all times

The veterans know it doesn’t work that way for long


The veterans, sometimes, disparage noobs for doing the best we can, and condescend on occasion :slight_smile: I take it in stride, as a noob, because I value the experience of people that have been doing this longer than I have.

But I’ll continue to manage my blood sugars as tightly as I can, for as long as I can, until I can’t anymore. And then I’ll find something else to do.

At that point, since I’ll have been listening to the veterans all along, I’ll have a pretty solid idea of what to do next, and try to remember to not be condescending to others.

@Dave26 I stopped changing lancets one week after I started testing, due to sticker shock on supplies and finding the fantastic (and occasionally snide) remarks from veterans in the DOC reassuring that it wasn’t necessary to change every stick. So thanks for putting this noob in his place (at least on that front!).


Not trying to condescend… and I’m all for doing ones best… but I do think that balance is important in all things and that goals of tighter bg ranges than people who don’t even have diabetes might make long term balance quite elusive for those who do. But if it’s working for you and it’s a sustainable pattern without excessive interruption to your life then that’s great. We all have to find our own balance.

Btw wasn’t specifically talking about you just making a general observation…

If I had a dollar for every time I’d been told I wouldn’t be able to maintain an A1C in the low 5s Indefinitely without major hypos…


Veterans remember the good old days weren’t so good.


Thanks, @Dave26, for starting this thread. It’s good to look back and realize what I’ve learned. For example, as a noob, I panicked when I experienced a hypo- or hyper-glycemic event. Now I know that they are problems to be solved and just get on with it (most of the time).


I know Sam, I was actually thinking more of an /r/diabetes thread that got under my skin this morning. A woman struggling with controlling her BG was asking for help, and a whole host of “veterans” lined up to tell her how crappy she was doing. Which annoyed me :slight_smile:

And I know my own BG targets at the moment are long-term unsustainable, because I have LADA. There is no chance I’ll be able to keep my BG where they are now with my current treatment. But is is working for now.


For me, I give advice very cautiously, emphasizing this is what I do. It works for me, but it may be a total bust for you. The big problems in diabetic advice (and ESPECIALLY Type 1) is that we all have different goals, eat different kinds and amounts of food AND our diabetes is its own brand of strange. (And WE are our own brand of strange). If I’m struggling with mine–and I’m the EXPERT on mine-- what makes me think I can be an expert on someone ELSE’S D (and vice versa)?

The problem is, when you don’t know much, you may have a tendency to treat someone’s advice as gospel, when it’s only a life rule.


Always glad I came along in the era of this, crude as it was, rather than that:


I do sometimes marvel at the intensity of some noobs. I smile and think that will change. Then I start to think about who is actually doing it right. Maybe us veterans should pay more attention to what the noobs do.


Yo @david49! Please believe that there was not one smidgen of condescension or superiority in my starting this thread or the examples I posted. There’s nothing wrong with being a novice and learning, and in any complex situation like diabetes, there will be humor in naivete.

To elaborate a bit about my examples, those are taken from my own noobdom. I was diligently changing lancets every time, going through them like longshoremen and four-letter words. I came across some casual conversation among d-vets here on TuD about how they couldn’t remember when they last changed their lancet (actually, I believe it was delivered as mirth at my changing them all the time, which was cool).

After I got over (and expressed) my shock, I loosened up a bit and found out the sky would not fall if I reused lancets. Indeed, I don’t bother to change them until they start to get dull and hurt. Never had any problems with infection. The one thing I DO have an OCD streak about is cleaning – I clean my finger with an alcohol pad before every finger stick. My theory is this keeps the lancet as bug-free as possible, for the next stabbing.

Similar story with insulin pen injections. So, I’m a veteran at being a noob too as well :grin:


Fortunately I only had to do the test tube routine for a couple years before I transitioned to the sticks. After the sticks I transitioned to the Ames Glucometer. The diabetes hack for the Glucometer was to cut the test strips in half. Two for price of one…lol!


@sam19 I knew where you were coming from. To put a humorous spin on it…

As is well-known – especially if you watch PBS and/or NatGeo – noobs come in about a half-dozen different species. The particular strain of noob you’re referring to is the Ninja Noob (Ninjicus Nubernithum), a highly motivated diabetic energized with new tools and knowledge, determined to manage their BG to normal. After all, it seems to be doable in theory.

Little more needs be said, other than they become d-vets when they find out that theory is only an approximation of reality and practice.


Oh, gotta love the precision! :laughing:


I’ve been a “veteran” of three regimens–R/NPH, MDI and pump–so I’ve been a “Noob” multiple times. Let’s see: the “veteran” R/NPH user in 1983 knows you can mix your insulins into a single shot, and you can split your Diastix in half the long way to double the amount you have available. Woo hoo! As a noob MDI user, discovering that you can skip lunch and watch the clock tick on from noon, to one, to two… and you’re not going into insulin shock—amazing!

My first real T1 noob experience came about a week after I was dx’d in 1983. I had this idea that the warnings about insulin therapy were kinda like the “May cause drowsiness” ones on the cold medicine boxes. Oh come on, how bad could it be? And of course for the first week or so low BG is the last thing you’re worrying about… until you finally cross that threshold and OMG. I just remember barely being able to get downstairs from my bedroom and praying we had some OJ in the fridge before I lost consciousness entirely. A “wake up call” in the sense that I almost didn’t wake up.


[quote=“DrBB, post:15, topic:57589, full:true”]
And of course for the first week or so low BG is the last thing you’re worrying about… until you finally cross that threshold and OMG. I just remember barely being able to get downstairs from my bedroom and praying we had some OJ in the fridge before I lost consciousness entirely. A “wake up call” in the sense that I almost didn’t wake up.
[/quote]Ah yes, another important one!

The noob has scary hypos once in a while.

The veteran has scary hypos once in a while.

Veteran vs. noob. Yup! :grin:


Gotta love those increments, right? “2000 or more” is my fave. How about “If this is your number you can’t read it anyway–you’re dead or unconscious!”


“or more” :laughing:


lol Dave. You seem to have forgotten the primary trait of which is the belief that if they can convince a doctor to give them a more exotic diagnosis then the problem is solved or alleviated. Though even some veterans do that too… for me it was a noob trait.


It’s kinda surprising to me that most people with diabetes these days have never used NPH, and in a way I tend to think of everyone who has never had to use R and NPH pre-MDI and insulin analogues as a newbie. :slight_smile: