What makes D life easier at home?

I was thinking about what I would recommend any family whose child has just been diagnosed with D to pick up upon coming home from the hospital that would make their day to day life easier. Maybe it will also give some of us 'experienced' parents some other good ideas.

- Small whiteboard - I put this up next to fridge. Then as my son ate, I could write down what and the amount to track the carbs. Also easier to have one central spot because then my husband could write down what food he gave too. Now I mainly use it to jot down the carbs/serving on frozen foods before throwing the bag out or getting the package back out of the freezer.

- Sharpies - handy to write carb amounts on sandwich baggies for snacks, etc.

- Plastic cups - I measured out 4 and 8 oz amounts into a bunch of plastic tumblers and marked the lines with a Sharpie. Now I don't have to measure drinks into a measuring cup first, just straight into the cup my son drinks from.

- Measuring cups - I of course had a set for baking but I have 2 more sets now because it always seems like the one I need is covered in spaghetti sauce or something.

- Calorie King book. Ask your endo's office for one or just get one at a bookstore. Handy.

What other things are hard for you to live without?

When my son was diagnosed and had come home from the hospital everything seemed upside down. Emotionally and physically. It took a while for me to get a grip but when I did the Type A side came out. One really good trick was to always have a stock of veggies and fruit ready to eat . But  in addition I also would buy regular snack items like pretzels, rice cakes, etc. when I got home from grocery shopping I would pre- bag zip lock snack bags, all with the amount it would be for a 15 carb snack regardless of what it was. Also the mini box sizes of raisins are a perfect snack . I put them on trays in our pantry and all my kids ( diabetic or not) could grab one at snack time. The only rule I personally had was that if it was a 30 carb snack you could not double starch- for example-  if you picked pretzels the other 15 carbs had to come from a fruit or veg.

Make a food clock out of a paper plate or construction paper and color the times for meals one color and snacks another- this is not for you but if you have little kids like I do it helps them to know when the next meal is coming. When my son was first diagnosed he couldn't eat enough, he was always starving, the clock helped because even if he couldn't eat right that minute it helped him feel like food was on it's way.

I also created a 3 ring binder and in it I would keep  sheets that I had made up on microsoft word. It had the time of testing, a place to list everything eaten, a space for calculating carbs, a space for how much insulin was given for what was eaten and or corrections. This helped me to see trends and was really helpful when visiting the endocrinologist. If you don't have a word program simple keeping a folder with lined paper will do the same thing but for a while write everything down.    

Buy a digital scale to weigh food. How many crackers do you give if some are broken? what is a medium sized grape? This has made my life so much easier!


Get your  self a supply kit: meter - extra batteries, lancets ketone strips, glucagon pen,etc. keep everything together and you will always be prepared to handle anything that comes your way

An accordion style folder is also helpful. you can keep all the new info you are getting here. Pamphlets, receipts, pharmacy slips with refill #'s, plans of action from your endo  after each visit, a list of important phone #'s etc. What ever relates to diabetes.

We did everything above: whiteboard, made 15 g. snack bags, sharpie for marking items with CHO count, drew lines on our plastic cups for 1/2 cup and 1 cup servings.  I think they all help but my favorite thing is our scale.  It's a Health Tools brand scale and I couldn't live without it!  The nutrition informaiton on many foods are programed right into the scale.  Just throw your baked potatoe (or whatever) on the scale, punch in the code number and it gives you the grams of carbs in that serving.  Also, you can put your food on the scale, enter in the serving size in grams and the number of carbs per serving and it tells you the carbs in the serving you have on the scale.  Very handy for foods with a nutrition label.

Another great help to me are index cards.  Early in my daughter's diagnosis when she was on a sliding scale for her insulin and we were making frequent changes, I would make up a new index card with her scales each time we made a change.  Old ones got put in a file box which were helpful when we needed to go back to see how an adjustment made in the past affected her. Now that she is on a pump I keep an updated index card with all of her settings on it.  Good backup in case the pump should loose the settings (never has) but, also good going back to see how changes to her pump affected her.  When she buys her lunch at school I go to my index cards again.  I write down exactly what it is that she is to eat and write the carb counts of each food down.  I total it up and then she takes it to school.  A copy gets made and sent to the cafeteria so they can make sure they have exactly what I have written down.  The original goes to the school nurse so she knows how many carbs to dose for at lunchtime as well as to know what my daughter is supposed to eat (she checks her tray/lunchbox every day after she eats to make sure she didn't "forget" to eat something that she was already dosed for).

Hope these tips help someone and I hope to see more here that I can use!

That scale sounds perfect! I have been wanting one, but whenever I go online to pick one out, I never seem to have found one that will be really good.

And the index cards for the pump info - I really need to do that. I know all of my son's meal ratios, but he has 6 basal rates throughout the day and I have a general idea of what they are but don't know the exact numbers. I need to get that written down.

Now that my son is on a pump, I put together 'Site Change Kits' in ziploc bags - 2 alcohol wipes, 1 site prep wite, 1 adhesive dissolve wipe, 1 infusion set, 1 tubing set and 1 cartridge. It all fits in a sandwich size ziploc. It makes it easy to just grab one out of the cupboard at site change time, and when we go out of town, I just grab 2x as many as we'll need for the time we'll be gone. Also has made it easier for me to keep track of pump supply levels - I know when I open the last box of infusion sets that it is time to reorder.

For our supply kit, I use a nice plastic container with extra strips, bag of syringes, ketone strips, glucagon, a ziploc with lancents, alcohol wipes and cotton squares. Then I just grab this box when we go out of town, throw in the number of pump supply kits, and the insulin vial, and we are good to go. I also know that is the one thing I must grab (after my kids) if our house is on fire.

[quote user="JDVsMom"]That scale sounds perfect! I have been wanting one, but whenever I go online to pick one out, I never seem to have found one that will be really good[/quote]


We ordered it from Amazon.  I think it was around $70 but worth every penny.

We have our "diabetes counter" in the kitchen where we keep everything needed to test, calculate and dose our son, as well as our log sheet. 

The log sheet, itself, is a huge help; we write down the time, BG, carbs, and dose for each meal or snack, then I can transfer the info for reporting to our ped endo.  It's easy for me or my husband to see exactly what's been going on throughout the day, and whether or not he's had his Lantus.

Food scale is awesome for weighing portions...we use the Salter 1400. 

The SPIBelt keeps everything in in one place for testing, as well as emergency glucose, and is portable.  Wherever he is in the house it's all in one place, or easy to just grab if we're running out the door for a quick errand.

And, of course, the Calorie King book and website rock.