The Diabetes Terms of Endearment Dictionary: First Edition


These are our terms. Ours, as the bunch of people with diabetes who flop around on the internet and use these terms in our posts, in our frustration, in our lives. Amassed from the comments and emails from some of my favorite bloggers and anonymous lurkers, this is our compilation of Diabetes Terms of Endearment, aka Sniglets for Diabetics.

Keep in mind: These are just for fun. Anything to make us smile in the face of diabetes chaos.

Special thanks to Nicole, Laura, Ellen, Zazzy, Allison, Val, Jamie, Megan, the Anonymous Lurker Moms, and good o’ Wil. The entries received were so well written and funny that I didn’t make many changes. All contributors should take full credit for this post!

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.

 – 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.

Despite the fact that I had not eaten anything sweet or missed any insulin, I clocked in at a Twilight Zone High of 430 mg/dl.

… And my personal favorite response to the call for entries comes from Jamie:

The fast acting insulin we use on Danielle is called Novo-rapid or Aspart. We use the term Aspart mostly because that is what our endo calls it. We have gotten into the bad habit of calling it “ass”.

i.e. Hmmm, Danielle’s sugars are too high – should I give her some ass?