My diabetes kit




Paul was diagnosed in

1999 when he was

39 years old and

while working as a

paramedic. At the time

they were short-staffed so he'd been

doing back-to-back shifts. It was also a

very hot summer.

"I'd been working hard," he recalls,

"so I wasn't surprised to feel tired, and

as it was hot I wasn't surprised at being

thirsty all the time either, and peeing a

lot. I thought that was because I was

drinking so much. At one point, because

of working extra shifts, I'd not eaten for

12 hours. I was hungry and feeling unwell,

but thought I must have a low blood sugar.

We had testing strips in the ambulance

and I was used to using them on patients,

and I thought, 'why don't I check if I have

a low blood sugar?'"

Paul used a bottle of the old

colourometric test strips and it indicated

that he had a very high blood sugar. "My

reaction was one of utter disbelief," he

says, "as I thought it would be low. I did

the test twice to check, then though, 'oh

no'. The next day I went to a diabetes

clinic and they gave me the diagnosis of

Type 2 diabetes. I do not know how long

I'd had diabetes, as the symptoms were

masked by the circumstances - over

worked and a hot summer. I continued to

work as a paramedic, but six months later

I had a heart attack, which was probably

due to the high blood sugars I must have

sustained. After that I ended up working

in the private sector as a freelance


Paul says that his freelance role is

still hard work but it gives him more

control over his time. He does training

with students and sport and event cover,

or TV and film work where he is the

paramedic on set. He says, "I've never

been short of work, though I do have

to travel quite a bit. I am now on insulin

and take two long-acting shots a day,

and short-acting shots with food. I use a

Carbs&Cals app on my phone and have

a Freestyle Insulinx meter with a bolus

wizard, so I dial my carbs in to it once

I've calculated them and it recommends

the insulin dose. As I'm on Lantus and

Novo rapid, I have NovoPens, and I also

carry around Needlebay needle pods.

Needlebay is a fantastic product, I find

it really useful. I use the seven-day unit

which has two needle bays per day. I use

if for my pills, as I take Metformin, and for

the two long-acting injections I have daily.

I have another bag for my blood testing

kit and the short-acting insulin."

Paul tests at least three times a day,

before each meal, but regularly does fivea-day,

and sometimes if he's driving a lot

or not feeling well, it might be as many

as seven times a day. In case of a hypo

he keeps either Glucotabs or Lucozade

tablets to hand, or may have the

occasional Mars Bar in an emergency,

though as he's very insulin resistant it's

rare for him to have a hypo. With all his

medical emergency training he's in good

shape for handling his condition, but

he also says that "having the right gear

certainly helps with any medical condition

and I rely on mine a lot."


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