Walk a mile in our shoes


(DunnwithT1) #1

Hey all. I remember back when I was 1st diagnosed and in the hospital getting trained they had these saline shots that my family and I used on little sponge things and my family could inject themselves if they wanted. I was just curious if anyone knew if such thing was available on the market. My girlfriend wants to know what I go through so I was curious if there was a thing so she could “walk a mile in my shoes” so to speak. She can check her blood on my meter of course but that’s not the whole experience


(joe) #2

@dunnwitht1

Syringes are a prescription item but if you talk about it with your Endo they may write a script for a few. Saline for injection is available but also may require a script. And so she could probably practice for a week or so and pretend.

I am afraid however that there is no real way to approximate the emotional part, where they tell you that you’ll have to do it for the rest of your life. That’s one thing she’ll just have to believe you on.

Also there isn’t a safe way to approximate a high or low blood sugar either. You know the pukey flu like high symptoms or the feelings of panic sweat and fast heartbeat when you’re low.

Good luck


(Dennis J. Dacey, PwD) #3

Hi @dunnwitht1, in the 1950’s I as given an orange for injection practice.


(Ryan) #4

@Dennis we were also given oranges to learn how to do injections when our kids were diagnosed last November. They also gave us a couple vials of saline for us, and our kids, to use for practice. Our kids used the saline to practice on mom and dad, which I think helped our kids, but also was a big help to us as parents, to give us first hand experience as to what the pokes felt like. For about the first month, the kids got insulin, and we got our saline when we all ate. After that, our kids got pretty comfortable with the injections and didn’t need to poke mom and dad anymore.


(marshalj) #5

I have wanted my girlfriend to wear my old pump for a month to see what it’s like (with no battery or anything in the reservoir). This would just be to simulate the nuisance of always having something hanging from your belly, not for the actual testing/calculating/bolusing. As someone else said, there’s simply no possible way for someone to simulate what the emotional toll is, or what it’s like to constantly have to be thinking, at least in the background, about diabetes. But getting tubing caught on a door handle, standing up after not realizing the pump fell out of your pocket, wearing clothing without good pockets, etc.? That sucks too, in a different way, and absolutely could be simulated. My girlfriend won’t do it though–she says “before I knew you, I didn’t even know what a pancreas was. Now I’m grateful to have a working one and I don’t want to know what it’s like not to!” Fair enough :joy:


(Dennis J. Dacey, PwD) #6

Hi @marshalj, I can hear what you are saying and appreciate your intent. I can draw a simile to your proposal - let’s say you taught your girlfriend to know what it is like to drive an automobile just by allowing her to unlock the door and get herself into the driving seat - yep, not even to the point of adjusting the seat. Not a very good way to let her “feel” what driving is about.
Yes, we live with diabetes, at least in the background, every hour of every day - for me constantly wearing a pump is the easy part and, I dare say, almost a comfort. May I suggest something that may help you and your girlfriend to become more connected with your diabetes?

First, let her completely familiarize herself with diabetes and the general “good management” protocol - at her own pace. Then, as you do a BGL check if it isn’t in a range that you expected, say something to her “why is that?”. it will open some discussion and show her that you respect her input. Some time when you and she are out to eat and the meal gets planted in front of you say you have no idea of the carb count and seek her guidance as to how you might bolus; yes, a partnership arrangement that lets her know with what you must constantly address. When it becomes evident that my basal rates may need adjustment, I often bounce a couple of solutions off my wife and get her reaction. Sharing!


(marshalj) #7

Thanks, Dennis. We’ve been together for a long time, and she has a great understanding of diabetes management. I completely agree with your suggestions, and we’ve had many conversations like the ones you describe. She’s always willing to hear my complaints, help out if she can, and be a sounding board.

My “wear a pump for a month” situation is not at all meant for someone to feel what it’s like to have diabetes. I think it’s easy for people to see a pump and think of it as some kind of miracle “cure” like an artificial pancreas. This would just be a way for people to appreciate some of the smaller nuisances of diabetes in a more playful way. Kind of similar to parents doing a finger prick or injecting saline.


(Dennis J. Dacey, PwD) #8

Marshall, it is really good to hear that she has a good understanding of diabetes management and that she is a “sounding board” - nothing could be better.
When you mentioned that she could experience what it feel like to wear a pump for a few days, it brought to mind a sales manager saying at a seminar that he “knew” what it was to live with diabetes because he wore a pump for a week. Yeah, after hearing that, I and a few other “long-timers” lost confidence in much of what else he was saying.
Good luck to you - hope your relation grows and prospers.


(wadawabbit) #9

Hi @dunnwitht1. I’ve never heard or even thought of that but it’s so sweet of your girlfriend! I may be suggesting something you’ve done it thought of already but just in case - you could check with your endo or DNE to see if she could join you for a visit and do some training there, which would include saline injections on herself.
When I started using a pump they have me a bottle of saline to use to practice for a couple of weeks, so maybe they would be willing to provide her with a bottle to use for “injections training.” Of course syringes are by prescription only and if you use pens rather than syringes they may not allow her to use them outside of the training - but it could still help. Congrats on having such a caring girlfriend!