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Advice for people with diabetes and their families

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I think my nurse is getting annoyed with me

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Q. I've had diabetes since I was eight and I'm now 16. I feel that my nurse is getting kinda annoyed at me because my HbA1c has been high for about a year.

At the moment I'm finding it really hard to control my diabetes, because I keep on forgetting to do my blood tests, and sometimes my insulin.

The last HbA1c I had done came out at around 12.2 and I'm starting to get really stressed about it. I don't want to talk to my mum or dad about it because I don't want to worry them. I just need something that will help me to remember to do my bloods and insulin.

 

A. I'm sorry you feel your nurse is getting annoyed with you. Try not to take this annoyance too personally: it's your nurse's job to try and ensure you take the best care of yourself, so it's probably the situation she is annoyed at, rather than you personally.

I should imagine she finds it quite frustrating that your HbA1c is so high, when simply testing and injecting more regularly could resolve that. The last thing she will want to see is you becoming ill or suffering permanent complications when that could be avoided simply by testing more often.

Memory or motivation?

Why do you think you find it so hard to remember to check your blood sugars and do your injections? Is it truly forgetfulness or do you have a lack of motivation to do them? A lot of people feel that way, so if this is the case for you please don't take the suggestion as criticism.

It is hard to live with diabetes and to fit it all in around the rest of your life, but in the longer term it is really important to manage it well in order to avoid complications later on.

Second nature

Remembering to check your blood sugars needn't be too hard. If you test before each meal you will then test at least three times a day without having to really think about it. Unless you forget to eat, you shouldn't forget to test. Once you have been doing this for a few weeks it will almost become second nature, like putting your seatbelt on when you sit in a car.

Also, try to make it part of your bedtime routine: in the same way that you would always clean your teeth before bed, adding testing to that routine will ensure you don't forget and, after a while, it will become the norm.

Mobile reminder

How often are you supposed to inject insulin? Again, if it is at every mealtime, then unless you are forgetting to eat there is no reason to forget to inject, you simply need to get back into the habit of doing it. If you are on just two injections a day, then perhaps you could set a reminder on your mobile phone at the times when your injection is due.

Making sure that you always carry your meter and injection pen with you removes any possibility of you not being able to test or inject because of not having your equipment.

The key to diabetes really is just being organised, knowing how you are going to fit it in around your day-to-day living and getting used to it forming a part of that.

High readings hassle

Many people are put off testing their levels as they worry that they will get a telling off from their nurse about any readings which are higher than they should be. This shouldn't be the case. If you are getting high readings, but are testing regularly, this will help your nurse to understand why they are occurring and then alter your insulin doses accordingly. This will bring those levels down and ultimately reduce your HbA1c back to within a more healthy range.

Parental support

I understand you do not want to talk your parents about this, but if this really is because you don't want to worry them, then there is no reason not to. It is your parent's job to worry about you and look after you, and you might find that they can help you to remember to test and inject and offer a great deal of support.

I know that they aren't the ones who have diabetes, but in a way slightly different to yourself, they have lived with the condition for the last eight years and do have some degree of understanding how much of your time and thoughts it has to take up and may surprise you with how similar to your own their anxieties about diabetes are.

If you really cannot bring yourself to talk to them, then do you have a friend or sibling that can support you? It is generally much easier to get on top of things if you have someone there to encourage you. They could also act as a handy reminder if you are forgetting to test/inject.

 

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