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From Abby: Forgetting.

While the snow piles up outside, I'm busy aiming to hit a writing deadline this morning.  So I talked with Abby the other day and it seems like she's hit a patch of burnout, much like the one I'm going through.  She's offered to post today about "forgetting," and how, even though it seems impossible, it's sometimes too easy to forget about the whole diabetes thing.

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Help me remember ... something ...I’m 23 years old. I don't have Alzheimer's. I don’t have any kind of dementia. I’ve never lost my keys for more than three minutes. I remember my homework even though I have a planner that I write it in and never look at.

But yet yesterday I didn’t check my blood sugar until 5 pm. Seriously? My average number of checks in my pump is like seven. I habitually grab my test kit when my alarm goes off in the morning, but yesterday I didn’t set an alarm.  It was my first day to sleep past 5:45am in a week (clinicals), so I just slept and slept and slept. Then I woke up and stuffed my face with cereal, bolused without measuring or checking first, then lay in my bed some more.

After some tedious errand running, it’s 5 pm and time for dinner (or "Dinner: Part One," I guess, because sleeping until 11 am messes that whole meal title thing up) and I realize I hadn’t checked all day. A 157 mg/dl shows up on the tiny meter screen. I didn’t check again until bedtime (10:30pm - don’t judge me, I was seriously sleep deprived) and I saw an 87 mg/dl. Days like that make me think “I can forget about diabetes and things turn out just fine.

This is NOT a good mindset.

An even worse example: When I bolus first thing in the morning for breakfast, then proceed to get ready for school/work/wherever I’m going, and forget to eat breakfast until I’m walking out the door. I usually have bloused for toast on such occasions, or a half bagel or something I can bring with me, but if I forget to eat until I walk out the door, I’m extremely low (I don’t feel lows in the morning until the 40mg/dL area) halfway through my travels to my destination. Whoops.

Another "good" one: I wake up to a “Low Reservoir” alarm and a fun aqua-colored light on my pump in the morning, and I see something like 13 units of insulin left. Somehow, I forget to change my site before I leave for a 10 hour day at school/work. Running out of insulin halfway through my day with a whole extra site change but no extra insulin with me is the most interesting, and most frustrating, "forget."

How do I simply forget that I’ve bolused, or forget to check my blood sugar, or forget to refill my insulin? How is it that I can forget about something so big, like diabetes?

I need like, a little creature on my shoulder to remind me of these things.

Except that would be weird.

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I know I'm not the only PWD who has left the house with 10u of insulin left in my pump and without a backup bottle for a refill.  (Or dreamed of a "reminder creature," only I can't decide if I want it to be cute and snuggly-friendly or something with fangs.  Still debating.  /digression) How do you guys help remind yourself to bring and to do all the "stuff" that comes with maintaining diabetes care?

Comments

Though it's not foolproof and I tend to slip every now and then, mostly the ONLY thing that keeps me from forgetting is routine. Same test/bolus time every single day, same times each day. Marking on calendars when the next site/set change will be. Marking when to change the battery in my pump. Writing on vials of insulin when to replace them. Without my routine, I'd be lost. Which, is why while on vacation, d-management for me pretty much leaves the window.

That happens to me too sometimes but I don't have too many bad lows. Which is why I carry with me in my "diabetes purse" my current vial of insulin, a syringe, and a spare set of the parts of the reservoir I need so I can refill my pump at any time. I have left the house before forgetting to refill, and forgetting insulin (and a couple of times test strips!) too, which left me with an awful stomachache. I work an hour away so it's not that easy to just go home and get it.

I'd often have bouts of the "forgetfuls" before I started using my Dex. (this little thing has been a HUGE influence on my accountability for my diabetes care)

And I can totally relate to the breakfast bolus. I'll bolus, go get ready for work, and just as I'm headed out the door, "oh crap!" and then I'm snarfing down the quickest portable food item I can grab that's the closest to the bowl of cereal that I had planned on having... all the while thinking, "Great.. and I just brushed"

I am notorious for hearing the "low resevoir" beep an hour or so before bed, forget and then wake up in the morning with no insulin and a blood sugar well above 200!! Since it only beeps once, I am not reminded in the middle of the night. How can I forget to change it before bed? Ugghh!! You would think after so long remembering these things would be like 2nd nature...but it's not. I forget sometimes I am diabetic, more often that I really should.

Kerri, thanks for having guest posts on your blog! I love finding new blogs and hearing from new (awesome) people!
Also, thanks for your post about the Dexcom yesterday. I'm starting the process of getting one with one of those tediously long classes next week, but I think it will be well worth it if you love it so much! (and so many others do!)

Just moved a small fridge into my cubicle this week because of the issue with no insulin when I forgot to replace my set. That should help...some.

It's the days where I check 10 times and have an average of about 225 mg/dl that remind me to check on days where I'm feeling like things are going really well. I feel like I need some good news (and deserve it!) after the days where every time I check it's one piece of bad news after another...

Oh my goodness I went through a period of time where every day I said to myself, "Why the heck can't you remember to test or give insulin??"

It took years for me to get out of whatever that was. I guess it helped to have children and have to be there for them and all. Can't pass out while watching two toddlers. So I test and give insulin.

I can totally relate. It's a wierd thing that others just don't understand.

Nice post! funny, too :)

for my daughter, the biggest cure for the "I forgots" is an awesome A1c. She's really motivated to keep it low. We shall see...

I second Sarah's statement about having a routine. When I was visiting my parents last week, my D-management was next to nothing. And my average, I'm sure, was in the 180s.

Also, if I test before a meal and realize that I'm low, I'll go ahead and eat and decide to bolus later. Then I forget to bolus until 30 minutes after I eat, then I end up sailing in the 200s later.

I find...even as a type 3, that I sometimes "forget" Joe has diabetes. I pick him up after school...he wants to run around on the playground for a few minutes. "Sure Joe! No problem!... run, careen, build and igloo!" Then 20 or 30 minutes pass before I realize that I: a)didn't look at his log to see what his 2pm number was and b) I didn't check a blood glucose prior to his playing and c) I didn't even throw a Truffle or a Starburst or something at him to "boost" him for the play. This happened yesterday and a 50 resulted!

And, btw...the "little creature on your shoulder", while weird, could be cool!

This is me in a nutshell!!! I've gotten so much better about forgetting things, but still...I'm frequently caught without one key piece of my diabetes entorage. I'll remember to bring a full infusion set & all that jazz with me, but will forget the insulin. Or I'll have everything else, but I'll forget to grab more test strips if I'm running low.

I can sum up my feelings about this though by saying that just because we have diabetes, doesn't mean we're also not human. We make mistakes & forget, just as some people forget deodorant in the mornings, forget to put something in the mail or forget to buy milk at the store.

I used to forget to test in the mornings until I started putting my meter case right by my alarm clock. Similarly, I'd forget to test after meals while at work until I put my meter case right on my desk. It helps me to have visual reminders.

This happens to me too, without a pump. I too, wake up, take insulin (hopefully wasn't too rushed to jump in the shower that i forgot to finish taking my blood sugar) and finish getting ready only to get half way to a clients house to realize I didn't grab my food. I hate that. Sometimes knowing i'm in for a long day, I can't think about food after work and i forget to pack my meter and insulin and then i realize after ordering my food at a restaurant 10 hours later that i don't have my meter or insulin. GREAT.

I feel sometimes, when i have a child, i'm going to forget their diaper i forgot to put on sitting next to my insulin. (common dream I have)

I've been struggling to remember to take my insulin in the morning. This isn't unusual for me (my morning alarm screams "take your synthroid" at me). But it's frustrating because if I start off with high BGs, they tend to last the whole day.

It goes both ways though. The other day, I forgot where I parked my car for the first time in my life. I was absolutely convinced my blood glucose must be low. Except it was exactly in range. I just had an ordinary normal human screw up.

I am also a crazy college student with a ridiculous schedule where nothing seems consistent from day to day. I have had two occasions in the past 6 years of school where I have managed to forget my insulin pump all together (shower + running late + over an hour of travel time) in quite a panic. Luckily I always make sure that I have a standing insulin prescription, a CVS on every block, and my tester with me. I used to carry a One Touch mini in my back pack and the One Touch Ultra laid beside my bed. Once I lost my mini I actually became better about checking my supplies before I leave every day. I have my low reservoir alarm set as high as I can so that it will annoy me to death and make me change it just to stop.

My favorite "forget" is when I eat a meal and realized I forgot the insulin part of the whole thing. Or I bolus for a meal and then forget to eat all of it. That resulted in a low of 35 a few weeks ago. The other night I actually forgot all of my insulin supplies (I'm an MDI'er) at my mom's house. She called around midnight wondering if she should drive them over to me. Oops.

Is it odd that I read 2/3 of this post before I realized that it was written by Abby the person and not Abby the cat?
Clearly, I'm loosing my mind.

On behalf of my husband-he isn't too good at remembering. So he just forgets. I don't see a whole lot of effort to try and remember, because right now, "trying and doing" are taking the focus. But if he has anything like that little creature, that would be me. When we are together, I am the one to say, hey, have you tested? Then at least he can consciously decide whether or not to test, instead of just forgetting.

Great Post. Great comments. And I thought it was just my Menopause that caused me to forget. Hmmmmm. To remember why I went into my bedroom, I have had to take my bottle of test strip in hand with me. I forget what I was doing - why am I here? frustrating.

In reference to remembering to fill my reservoir - I change it every other day. After my work out. Hey, if it is a good set - I am not messing with it before exercise. But having a consistant time helps with the memory. And I do keep my meter near my alarm clock, too. But there have been times that I have had to hunt for my meter in the house. Only to find it sitting on top of something black which matches the color of the meter bag. I need to find a more colorful bag. Have a great day everyone.
Christine

When I was younger and taking injections, there were several times I'd leave for school and truly not remember IF I took my insulin. (This was in the days before SMBG was invented). I think some of the forgetting has to do with something becoming so routine, that you simply assume it's already been done. Its so routine that you often do it without thinking on a normal busy morning and later can't even remember doing it.

If the creature was a parrot, we could all dress like pirates! :P

My mum calls that sort of diabetes forgetfulness "galloping dimentia" sooo helpful mother! Haha

I always carry the bottle of insulin I'm using currently to fill my pump right in my purse, along with two syringes. As for testing - I do it very frequently, because I still remember the days of NO blood glucose meters, and they were beyond horrible. When I read the beginning of your post, I was sure you were going to have said that your BG when you finally tested it was either 40 or 400!!

P.S..
The spell-checker you used is working on overdrive, so it looks as though you "bloused" rather than "bolused!"

I enjoyed reading your post, nonetheless!

I have started keeping an extra set of everything (minus the bottle of insulin) in my work/school bag that is on me nonstop after I pulled out my infusion set cleaning out my classroom last year (the same night as my 3rd lab exam for A&P!). I figured I could get by since I had the bottle of Humalog in the fridge AND a syringe from the bag kept in the planning room. Big mistake when I saw several numbers in the 20s that evening - despite the 3 sodas, 2 bags of twizzlers, and multiple other carb-laden goodness that I never get to eat.

Now, I have a bottle of Humalog that stays in the fridge at work and an extra set of supplies there AND my emergency bag that says in my bag (with all sorts of homework/grading that I need to be doing). That and the whole hypo unawareness thing has helped to keep me more "on top" of it. I will say that the DexCom helps me on days like today when I didn't get lunch til after 3:30 (realize I get breakfast between 5 and 5:30)! Nothing like chasing after teenagers for hours on end to keep your attention off of testing!

At first I thought the Abby was Abby the Cat, because it didn't say Abby the Person right off the back.

T2 for two years and sometimes I still forget to do my fasting blood check.

Creature on the shoulder? Siah of course!

Thanks for this transparency! I really appreciate knowing that I'm not alone in the burnout department. Even as a T3, I often feel like skipping checks and throwing caution to the wind for carb counting...but, somehow, I manage to get myself back in line.

It's just good to know we aren't alone.

I have a really difficult time remembering sometimes also! With Nursing school and just trying to be a normal college kid it's really tough sometimes! One of the best tricks I have learned is to keep the opened vial of insulin I have at the time in my meter with a few syringes for emergency situations when I'm in the middle of a 12 hour shift and forgot to change my reservoir. I also have recently found the mios and found them extremely handy to just toss one and a new reservoir into my purse for just in case situations. And as long as I leave my vial of insulin always in my meter and those in my purse I'm always ready. This is a trick I've picked up after too many days of getting a no delivery alarm half-way through my lunch bolus. Good luck!

I just had a first time forgetting incident at a restaurant. I left my Dex (which was tucked in my pants)in the ladies bathroom . Went back this am to check and it was gone! Why wouldn't someone turn it in?I know exactly where I left it and am now out of luck. I am just praying that our house insurance my pay for a new one. Otherwise, I am going Dexless for awhile.:(

not happy to hear about your forgetting...just happy to know it seems we're all in the same boat! thanks for sharing this and making our forgetting not so out-of-the-ordinary...

I am fairly new at this PWD thing. Only 2 years old and still struggling. Type 1 crept up on me at a very mature age (51). It is encouraging to read the lives other PWDs have. BTW I have an animas pump too. How do you give your self a combo bolus?

Ahh these comments make me feel better about this forgetting nonsense. I'm totally down for a mini-Siah on my shoulder, as long as he gets the job done. I keep a whole setup of extra stuff with me at all times, I just don't usually have insulin with me (which makes no sense, I realize).
Thanks for all the suggestions!

I do all of the above from time to time. I am a 54 year old menopausal pump user with a busy, stressful job. When I forget to bolus, and I realize it while driving to work and try to wriggle out my pump that is buried under layers of winter coat, suit jacket, hooked so tightly on the back side of my belt, so I am yanking and swearing, and sweating.. while still trying to drive.. I simply give up and hope that I will remember to do it after I park my car.. Sometimes I do.. and other times I don't remember until lunchtime. After 30 years of type 1 D. I still think I suffer from denial that I actually have the disease. I am taking care of myself the best that I can, and hope for minimal side effects so that when the cure arrives I am ready, and healthy enough. Keep fighting the good fight fellow diabetics! LOL

I was so famous for forgetting my insulin when visiting friends in high school and college (pre-pump days for me) that they would call me SPECIFICALLY to remind me with this mantra: You must remember the life-saving liquid!! it helped more than once...

I make what my husband lovingly calls "bullets," or prefilled reservoirs. I always keep one in my glucometer bag so I can pop it in my pump if I'm caught out without insulin. I rotate it often so the bullet in my bag doesn't go bad. Much easier to carry than syringes et. al.

I'm the thing on my son's shoulder - it's called "mom". After 9 years of being diabetic you'd think the 12 year old would remember these things! As a new pumper (6 mos)I am now waking at 2am to check his blood sugar. But at least no more hassel of syringes and pens - a quick bolus and back to bed - somtimes within 3 minutes. He's worth it though!

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