This post goes out to everyone in my life who doesn't understand what it means to be pancreatically challenged.
Type 1 Diabetes: A How To Guide
Step One: - You have just been told your pancreas has gone on permanent vacation. Please commence feelings of sadness, loneliness and despair. Mourn your dead pancreas. Continue this for a few days, weeks, months or years. Maybe forever.
Step Two - Withdraw a couple of Hundred $$ from your bank. Go to your chemist. Buy syringes, needles, insulin, testing supplies, jellybeans, ketone sticks, a sharps container. Maybe some other stuff. But these are the basics you will need to survive. DO NOT leave the chemist until all your money is spent.
Step Three: - Learn to inject yourself with insulin and prick your fingers. The chemist probably sold you a crappy lancing device (finger-pricker). Poke your finger before and after every meal, whenever you want to drive, and before, during and after any physical activity you do (and yes, sex is a physical activity). If your fingers don't feel bruised and/or are covered in black/red dots, you aren't poking enough. Stab insulin into your stomach 5 - 7 times per day. Expect lots of bruises, lumps, red marks and pain. Occasional stinging feelings are to be expected.
Step Four: - Try to keep blood glucose levels between 5 - 8 at all times. Ignore feelings of failure when you cannot achieve this 80% of the time.
Step Five: - Prepare a meal. Do a complex maths equation to estimate the number of carbohydrates you are about to consume. Work out how much insulin to give yourself. Give yourself the insulin. Cross your fingers and hope that it all works out OK and you don't get hypo or hyperglycemia from miscalculation. Success rate is probably about 30% correct. Don't take it to heart, there's always next time you eat to try again.
Step Six: - Its time to exercise. Exercise helps to regulate blood sugars, so this step is important. Before you head off find a bum bag, spibelt or similar. Play tetris and try to cram your glucose meter, testing strips, lancing device, mobile phone, spare cash, keys, and juice into it. Once you have successfully attached all of these items onto your body, you can commence exercise. During & after exercise, be aware that you may experience hypoglycemia.
Step Seven: - Prepare for bed. Please ensure you have checked your blood glucose before brushing your teeth. We do not recommend mixing OJ & toothpaste together. If blood glucose is lower than 5mmol/L, consume carbohydrate foods regardless of hunger levels. Go to bed. Lay awake for a few minutes and convince yourself you will still be alive in the morning. Set an alarm for 3am to check blood glucose levels to help ensure that you will wake up in the morning.
Step Eight: Wake up. Check blood glucose levels. Repeat Steps 3 through 7 daily for your expected life duration.
Occasionally you will need to repeat step 2, particularly if you are looking into insulin pump therapy.
Every few months you will need to add in a maintenance step (step nine).
To fully prepare for maintenance you will need to undergo a diagnostics test. See your nearest pathology laboratoty to have blood drawn for this.
Step Nine: - Your diabetes specialist visit is today. You have just spent all your money on Step 2. Call your parents and ask for money to see your doctor. Go to your diabetes specialist. They will focus on the things you are doing wrong, because you don't need help with the stuff you are doing right. Try not to take it to heart. Reward yourself for going with a slice of extra-chocolaty cake.
Congratulations! You have now assembled the parts required for a 'working diabetic'. Commence use of this model immediately, as it will supersede all 'working pancreas' models previously available on the market.