Real Talk With Dave- HOW TO: THE NEED TO KNOW ON NEEDLES

 QUESTION FOR FELLOW DIABETICS : HOW DO YOU DISPOSE OF YOUR USED NEEDLES?

            This is one of THE MOST asked questions those of us with Diabetes often face.

 MY JOURNEY TO SAFETY:

When I first got diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes back in 2008, I vividly remember how unaware I was on the topic of safe needle disposal. I didn’t know of the harmful effects of throwing away used needles right into the trash.

Fast forward to one year after my diagnosis, I setup my very first pump at the age of 12! This opened up a whole new world that I never experienced before.

It can be pretty daunting when you’re 12 years old. I learned a whole encyclopedia’s worth of experiences. I learned everything from putting on my pump to how to wear it and even how to actually use it!  I’d like to share with you my top tips for disposing needles safely.

My journey to safety was NOT an easy one! I had lots of trash that needed to be thrown away. A used needle and inserter were among that pile of trash, so without the knowledge I needed, I threw away my used needles in the trash!!!

MY TOP TIPS ON HOW TO DISPOSE NEEDLES SAFELY:

  1. DO NOT THROW USED NEEDLES AND INSERTERS IN TRASH

  2. ENLIST A PUMP TRAINER

    • When I began my new world as a T1D, I constantly threw away my used needles in the trash. My pump trainer quickly caught me in the act of throwing the needles away unsafely and showed me how to break my long-term habit!

 

  1. HAVE ACCESS TO A SHARPS CONTAINER:

    • Unused needles go in a sharps container as well as used syringes, lancets, and any other form of needles.

Today, this is something that I am very passionate about. After  educating myself on the dangers of disposing used needles the wrong way, I made it my goal to always have a sharps container in sight. Whether I am at home following a set routing or creating temporary plans for traveling-I always make sure to dispose safely!

 

  1. LOCATE A SHARPS DISPOSAL ANYWHERE YOU ARE WITH SAFENEEDLEDISPOSAL.ORG

  • I partnered with SafeNeedleDisposal.org to bring awareness on this very important topic. This website allows you to search for drop off locations in your area by zip code and teaches you how to safely store your used needles at home! Some areas even allow disposal in your household trash bin if placed in the proper container. I find that education is so very important since many may not be fully aware of the potential dangers in disposing their needles unsafely. As SafeNeedleDisposal.org states, the bottom line is that safety is the point.

HOW TO USE SAFENEEDLEDISPOSAL.ORG:

  1. LOCATE DROP-OFF LOCATION:
    • Use the site to locate the appropriate drop-off location in your area is so vital and so very convenient.
  2. STORE UP USED NEEDLES:
    • Store up all your used needles for a few months.
  3. DESIGNATE A REGULAR DISPOSAL DAY:
    • Designate a certain day to go out and dispose of your needles at your local drop-off location. You are not only bettering the environment, but your own health and safety as well.

 Let’s be honest ,as Diabetics, we go through lots of needles, daily, weekly, monthly, and so on. Unfortunately, there is no cure for Diabetes yet, so we must insert pump sites, CGM sites, inject Insulin, and prick our fingers daily! Basically, we go through LOTS of needles and they need to go SOMEWHERE at the end of the day. By having designated areas and a great website to help us find those locations, it becomes a great way to dispose of needles both safely and efficiently.

Bottom line, safety is the point.

Live well,

Dave

When I Lost My Love For Tennis

I used to play tennis every day for more than 1 hour a day – I loved the game, and I was very good at it. This was before I was diagnosed with diabetes – after that, I never won again and I lost my love for the game completely.

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I don’t think diabetes is 100 percent to blame for this, but probably at least 50 percent. When I was diagnosed the summer of 1989, I had just reached the finals of a large national tournament in Sweden. I lost in the final, but overall I had done very well – especially considering I had suffered from tonsillitis three times during the spring preceding this event, and I had been seriously injured the year before.

However, after my diagnosis I lost my confidence in my body. I had never had such a failure in my life and here I was, at 17 years old (I spent my bday in the hospital getting trained on injections and glucose monitoring), feeling like I was suddenly disabled. Little did I know that the complications they warned me about during those first few weeks with diabetes would be a reality less than 20 years later and that I would go through two transplants before I turned 40!

Tennis represented so much to me as a young person, I spent most of my free time either playing tennis, getting to tournaments, working out to play better or preparing ahead of games. I loved going to my club and I even loved hanging out after tennis, relaxing and feeling the work-out in my body and if I had won, feeling strong and confident.

I guess the closest to this feeling in my current life, is when I present at conferences or when I have an important business meeting. I have the same feeling of anticipation, preparation and then during the presentation I have a high, triggered by endorphins, and I am on top of the world for the duration of the event. The problem is coming down afterwards.  Being in the zone is great and all, but afterwards I feel empty, anxious and even sad.

As a diabetic, sometimes these events could be affected by my disease. For example, if my blood sugar was running low and I had to go up on the stage for a presentation, I would need to quickly eat something to avoid the risk of passing out and the absolute certainty of presenting poorly because my brain did not have enough sugar to work with. When I was high, I could also feel it, since I would get slower in my thoughts and especially in my reasoning. I would rather be high than low, and my solution to avoiding this roller coaster was to always keep myself slightly high, but not high enough to be slow, blurry-eyed or lethargic.

After getting my pancreas transplant in January of 2010 I have not experienced any of these feelings and it is such a relief and such an advantage! I sometimes say that I did not know how hard it was living with diabetes before I got a pancreas transplant and realized what normal life is supposed to be and how good I felt. Achieving that feeling for everyone with diabetes is our goal, and while we pursue the cure, we need to identify a range of products that can help people with daily life.

I hope that I will get back to tennis one day, but for some reason, tennis more than any other sport is linked to my life before diabetes. I know that I have a new chance, and should be incorporating tennis into my life, but it is easier for me to exercise otherwise without ever feeling that diabetes, transplants and age have had a negative effect on my performance!

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