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responsibility? Absolutely. As Sara Sklaroff and
J. Cecil Smith indicated, we’re not necessarily
unprepared, just thankful for people who have
lent a hand when it’s most needed.
MY HUSBAND, NEIL, purchased a battery-operated remote doorbell with multiple
buttons to help me notify him when I have
severe low blood sugar. He installed one
button on each ;oor of the house, with the
actual doorbell stationed in the bedroom.
On Memorial Day weekend, I had a low
severe enough that I lost my vision and
could not speak. However, I knew where
the button was! Neil came running with
a glucagon shot, and all turned out well
thanks to his ingenuity!
Jean Bloomer, Manassas, Va.
The Editors respond: Are you living with
hypoglycemia unawareness (when a person is
unable to sense typical symptoms of low blood
glucose)? That certainly can require extra help
from loved ones and some ingenuity to keep a
person safe. Because individual needs alter over
time, do consider speaking to your health care
provider about changes in medication, blood
glucose goals, and tools, such as a continuous
glucose monitor, that may help you reduce the
number of severe lows you’re experiencing.
I AM IN agreement with Kelly Rawlings’s
comment about “getting old” and having to
adjust your insulin-to-carb ratio [“Different
Strokes,” June;’ 12, p.; 9]. I was diagnosed at
10;years old and have had type; 1 diabetes
for 52;years. I am on a pump also but started
using one later in life—in my;50s, as I
started to experience lows. The pump is
the best thing that ever happened to me.
But our bodies’ responses to glucose
and insulin change as we do, through the
peri-menopausal to post-menopausal
periods of our life, even though we are
pretty steady on a pump. Now, walking
has become more important to me than
ever. It is my daily exercise.
I am grateful that I am here—every
morning when I wake up with the creaks
How Can I Heal Bruised Fingers?
I’ve had type 1 diabetes for over 50;years. For the past
30;years I’ve used a blood glucose meter, sticking my
;nger and testing four times a day.
My ;ngers are starting to turn purple, even though
my current meter requires very little blood. Is there
anything I can do to heal this?
Alan Cutler, San Antonio
Christy L. Parkin, MSN, RN, CDE, responds:
What to Know: Before testing, wash your hands in
warm water and let your arm dangle at your side for a
minute or so. This allows the blood to ;ow down into
the ;ngertips. There is no need to use alcohol if you
wash your hands. Alcohol dries and toughens skin over time, making it
hard to obtain a drop of blood.
Possible Solutions: To help with bruised ;ngertips, it may be time to
update your lancing device. Newer models are extremely gentle and
minimize the trauma of lancing the ;ngertips several times a day. If you
are not using a lancing device already, this will help a lot (some people
use the lancet without the device; this de;nitely hurts more and can
cause more bruising). Use the lowest possible setting on the device to
avoid a deep stick while giving an adequate amount of blood.
The least painful place to prick is on the sides of the ;ngertips.
Because it is important to rotate sites, be sure to use both sides of the
;nger. Avoid testing on the pad of the ;nger; there are more nerve
endings there that cause more pain. Pinky ;ngers can be a great place
to prick for the best blood ;ow.
Some blood glucose meters let you test alternate sites, such as the
upper arm, thigh, calf, and palm. These sites contain fewer nerves than
the ;ngertips and may give your ;ngers some relief. Because there is
a lag e;ect, alternate-site testing should be used only when blood
glucose is stable, such as before a meal or when fasting. Always check
from your ;ngertip when blood glucose is changing quickly, such as
following a meal, a;er exercise, or whenever you think your blood
glucose might be low.
Although many people reuse their lancets, the lancets will become
dull and cause more pain with extended use. Change lancets with each
test (or at least daily) to ensure that they are sharp and clean.
Takeaway: Your ;ngertips may be discolored because of the frequent
testing you do, but be sure to discuss this with your doctor as there may
be other causes.