Friday, March 03, 2006

Diabetes Terms of Endearment

The Diabetes Terms of Endearment Dictionary: First Edition


These are our terms. Ours, as the bunch of people with diabetes who flop around on the internet and use these terms in our posts, in our frustration, in our lives. Amassed from the comments and emails from some of my favorite bloggers and anonymous lurkers, this is our compilation of Diabetes Terms of Endearment, aka Sniglets for Diabetics.

Keep in mind: These are just for fun. Anything to make us smile in the face of diabetes chaos.

Special thanks to Nicole, Laura, Ellen, Zazzy, Allison, Val, Jamie, Megan, the Anonymous Lurker Moms, and good o’ Wil. The entries received were so well written and funny that I didn’t make many changes. All contributors should take full credit for this post!

Bear Fingers - When a finger has been tested to the point of exhaustion and it needs to be rested or "hibernated"

Bouncing – When your bloodsugar drops so low overnight that your living kicks in some glucagons, causing you to bounce from low to high

Born Again Diabetic – When a diabetic fosters a new found interest in taking care of their health after years of negligence and denial

Carbonese - The ability to determine the number of carbs in a given food based on the total carbs and the serving size (coined by a 6 year old child with diabetes who is fluent in Carbonese and can eyeball the carbs without her mother’s input)

Cheap Shot- Inferior insulin brand, probably distributed/sold by Undisclosed Huge Discount Stores Whose Names May Rhyme With Tall-Fart

Clocking In – Another term for “bloodsugar reading.” Synonyms include “ringing in” and “reading at.”

Daylight Savings Time – See also “Time to Change the Lancet”

Dead Strips - Used blood glucose meter strips found in random spots, i.e. under the seat of your car, on the floor at the gym, in a shoe, in a small gray kitten named Siah’s mouth.

Diabetic PMS - When the blood sugar rockets up for no apparent reason for the 2-3 days prior to the start of a woman’s cycle. Men may also experience this in a sympathetic mode.

Dotties – When you prick your finger, squeeze, and about five holes show up with blood. See also Bloody Constellation.

Gusher – When you prick your finger, squeeze, and end up assaulted by your own bloodstream. May also be found when you remove an infusion set.

Hooking - When your pump tubing snags the doorknob and almost rips out

Interstate BG Checks - Where upon the diabetic (while barreling down the interstate above the speed limit) juggles the steering wheel, BG meter, test strip, lancet and a target finger. Commonly occurs in the dark.

I didn’t feel when I was driving home from my interview, so I performed an interstate BG check and almost hit a moose.

Larry Bird – Boston Celtic’s basketball legend, jersey no. 33. Serves as cardio workout goal time inspiration for many diabetics. Often found at the punchline of many of my sad little quips.

Working out at the gym, I made sure to do Larry Bird on the treadmill.

Low Bowl - The bowl in the kitchen of a diabetic filled to the rim with 5-15g fast acting carb treats. Miniature versions are often found in diaper bags for "On The Go" lows.

Nabs – Crackers with peanut butter spread between them. Typically used to follow up glucose tabs in the treatment of a low bloodsugar. Names derived from the Latin “Nabisco”, the maker of the most popular peanut butter crackers. Most diabetics learn about nabs at diabetes camp.

Officially Scary – Applies to situations, numbers, etc. Defined as any statistic that stretches the perimeters of safety.

While at the gym, I checked at the 33 Larry Bird minute mark and noted that I was at the Officially Scary Number of 37 mg/dl!

Panicky Diabetic Syndrome - The use of more than five test strips in a 55 minute period because you aren’t confident that your bloodsugar is coming up or down.. Often accompanied by a Rage or Serial Bolus.

Random Bolus - The method of bolusing at random and mildly calculated intervals, i.e. realizing that you may have under-bolused for a meal and opt to course in a unit or two to cover bases.

Rage Bolus - The act of suffering from a high bloodsugar for an extended period of time or for an unknown reason and the retaliatory insulin dose. Oftentimes results in a low bloodsugar.

Real People Sick – The differentiation between bloodsugar issues and the common cold. Phrase slips out most often when the diabetic admits to not feeling well and must specify that it is not bloodsugar related.

- Coined by Nicole’s boyfriend; Term comes from the little girl in the Exorcist. Describes the behavior some diabetics exhibit when having a low bloodsugar. Regan-rage behaviors include swearing, screaming, spitting of juice, and stretching body parts in unnatural ways. Does not include levitating. If your diabetic friend/partner/child should levitate, it is probably not caused by low bloodsugar.

Nicole was in a Regan-rage, spitting the juice all over our bedroom walls and cussing like a sailor.

Serial Bolus – Administering bolus upon bolus to bring a bloodsugar down. Often likened to a Rage Bolus, but usually follows the course of multiple hours vs. one huge crank up.

Sleep-Eating – The act of rising from a sound sleep, proceeding to the kitchen and eating anything you can find. A diabetic often wakes up while in the process of sleep-eating without being able to figure out how they got to the kitchen or why there is ice cream all over their fingers and face.

Last night, my boyfriend found me sleep-eating again; when he was able to rouse me, I was mortified to find I had eaten a ½ gallon of chocolate ice cream.

Sugar Reaper - A night time hypo that nearly kills you.

I had a visit from the Sugar Reaper last night, which explains the bags under my eyes and the juice stains around my mouth.

S.W.A.G. Bolus – Scientific, Wild Assed Guess bolus. This is where you use more instinct than data to bolus an unexpected or uncalculated meal.

Time to Change the Lancet – Defined as any time when you change the batteries in your smoke detector, reset your clocks, or when the lancet starts to rust

Third Nipple - the little protusion from an infusion set when a shirt is pressed around the site

Note: Every sentence I tried to write for this one was borderline inappropriate and was making me laugh too hard. If you can come up with a “clean” one, let me know. I, apparently, am too immature.

Twilight Zone High - A high with no rational cause.

Despite the fact that I had not eaten anything sweet or missed any insulin, I clocked in at a Twilight Zone High of 430 mg/dl.

... And my personal favorite response to the call for entries comes from Jamie:

The fast acting insulin we use on Danielle is called Novo-rapid or Aspart. We use the term Aspart mostly because that is what our endo calls it. We have gotten into the bad habit of calling it "ass".

i.e. Hmmm, Danielle's sugars are too high - should I give her some ass?


At March 03, 2006 12:25 PM, Blogger Ellen said...

Where's SWAG? ;-) a personal favorite of mine I learned from Printcrafter Wil

At March 03, 2006 12:29 PM, Blogger caren said...

You made me snort while drinking my diet coke at my desk because I was laughing out loud.

Well done! :)

At March 03, 2006 12:39 PM, Blogger Jamie said...

Oh man, the worst was when I was travelling in a friends van to a birthday party with our older kids. Vince called me on the cell phone and told me Danielle was really high. Without thinking of where I was or that little ears were listening, I proceeded to ask him "Well, did you ass her??"

We REALLY gotta stop calling it that!

At March 03, 2006 1:24 PM, Blogger Nicole P said...

Love it, Kerri. You've made my day.

At March 03, 2006 1:45 PM, Blogger julia said...

*snort* Funny stuff.

At March 03, 2006 1:45 PM, Blogger Kerri. said...

Ellen, SWAG was on there, just not bolded. I've fixed it.

Printcrafter forever!

At March 03, 2006 2:03 PM, Blogger Ellen said...

Oops sorry I missed it.

At March 03, 2006 3:08 PM, Blogger Johnboy said...

Kerri, this is one of the funniest d-blog posts I have ever read. A couple of my coworkers actually glared at me as they were walking past my office and asked me what the hell was so funny!! :-)

Thanks for this. You know how much I adore sniglets.

At March 03, 2006 3:09 PM, Anonymous Kevin said...

How 'bout:

"Oh yeah, I've got a third nipple, too. 'Cept mine moves every three days."

(These are all great - thanks!)

At March 03, 2006 3:19 PM, Blogger Kerri. said...

Just remember: This is a compilation of terms people offered up. It's a true collaborative.

If anyone has any they want me to add, leave them in the comments and I'll toss them on the "dictionary page."

At March 03, 2006 4:34 PM, Blogger Allison said...

Do you think we could get this published somewhere? This is brilliant!

At March 03, 2006 4:38 PM, Blogger Kelsey said...

Hilarious! I kept thinking, "Oh yeah, I relate to that..."

I'm definitely a "Born Again Diabetic"- I didn't know it had a term :)

Thank you so much for the laugh!

At March 04, 2006 1:40 AM, Blogger art-sweet said...

Laughing. My. Ass. Off.

I especially loved all the changing your lancet ones - my endo insists on giving me scripts for lancets, despite the fact that I've used maybe four of them in the past year.

I think the wonderful thing about this community is discovering all the small things we share - like cats who play with dead strips and the jar of jam in the sink after a sleep eating attack.

By the way, the little plastic caps from the non-business end of syringes also make great cat toys.

At March 04, 2006 8:42 PM, Blogger Meredith said...

Ah, we are a culture unto ourselves! Excellent post!

I have an alaternate definition for gusher. I learned that a gusher was when you removed your infusion site and ended up with a blood bath. It's happened to me all of once in four years. Very gross.

At March 04, 2006 9:45 PM, Blogger KSC said...

I think SWAG and dead strips are my favorites! I have swagged my way though too many restaurants!! Speaking of dead strips - any one find one in someone else's house that you must have left there on a previous visit!! Whew, that can be strange!

At March 04, 2006 10:25 PM, Blogger Vivian said...

Kerri- This was great, I really enjoyed reading it. We have "Bear fingers" at our house. When Daniel has tested on the same fingers too many times and they have all the red dots. We say they are Bear fingers and we need them to hibernate for a while.

At March 05, 2006 9:23 AM, Blogger type1emt said...

Ahh, the humor. Ahh, the humanity.
Definately made my week!

At March 05, 2006 1:28 PM, Anonymous birdie said...

This was too wonderful! Just fabulous!

My latest swag story was finding a test strip on the stairs at work and wondering if I was just dropping them willy nilly throughout the day or was some other diabetic leaving a clue, like a breadcrumb for me to follow? Very mysterious.

Another possible addition to the dictionary is a subtler form of the gusher. Its the "fine sprayer". You prick your finger right at the time your heart beats and you are promptly covered with the finest layer of your own blood. Very special.

Thanks, as always!

At March 05, 2006 10:35 PM, Blogger Jen said...

This is awesome!

You can't forget the "Random Bolus" as in: I bet I didn't bolus enough for that bagel I ate about an hour ago. I think I'll just punch in another unit or two...maybe one and a half will do it. Beep, beep, beep.

At March 06, 2006 6:23 AM, Blogger Sarah said...

So funny!!

Thank you for starting my day off right!!

(oh yes, please!! add me to your list!)

At March 06, 2006 2:00 PM, Blogger Laura said...

Laughing out loud at work - Am I suppose to be having fun at work? These are great - going to have to use a few!

At March 06, 2006 4:52 PM, Blogger Jay said...

Great great posting. It will go down as an all time classic.

At March 07, 2006 8:14 AM, Blogger Val said...

When my husband and I traveled to Europe on our honeymoon, we quickly came to call those passport-pouch-on-a-string necklaces albatrosses. It took about 3 hours for my first non-unpluggable cheek-mounted 72 hour CGMS hookup to be christened the "butt albatross"

At March 07, 2006 10:36 PM, Blogger sweetsnomo said...

This is wonderful! Thanks for the laugh, Kerri.

How about "Feeding Frenzy - The manic food ingestion when running low and you've lost your self control"? I just had that experience last night!

At March 08, 2006 12:19 AM, Blogger Wil said...

A master piece, my dear. You've done us all a great service by compiling these!

At March 08, 2006 6:38 PM, Blogger Ellen said...

I wanted to add one more if it's not too late, or it can go in the next edition :-).

VIRGIN TERRITORY: An area of skin that has not yet been used for a pump infusion set and gets incredibly good absorption.

At August 31, 2006 3:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Refer to Diabetes

At September 02, 2006 2:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Refer to Diabetes for
useful information

At July 29, 2007 10:50 AM, Blogger Susan Tam said...

Wonderful list! Thank you so much! It's motivating me to stop procrastinating on the internet and get back to work.... (I do research in islet cell transplantation).

At November 12, 2007 11:51 PM, Anonymous Big Al said...

Fang - The lancet, which hasn't been changed since the total eclipse of the sun.

At November 30, 2007 12:31 PM, Blogger Blinkered said...

Interstate BG Check - my term for the "BG test dance" described had always been "drive-by testing".

Excellent stuff!

At November 30, 2007 1:25 PM, Anonymous Christine said...

These are absolutely priceless - thank you SO much for compiling them all. I honestly DO sometimes think that I'm in a world of my own and that no one else could comprehend what to me is a part of my everyday world (i.e., S.W.A.G., Interstate BG Tests, Rage and Random Boluses). These are fantastic. :-)

At November 30, 2007 1:31 PM, Anonymous Dee said...

Thank you for making me laugh about something that is so serious. I absolutely loved it and will try much harder when i am getting upset about it to laugh about it.. Truly, Dee

At December 01, 2007 1:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Feeling low" does not mean "having the blues"... it is usually followed by (if being smart) a blood glucose test (is this real, or just wishful thinking/imagination?) or a mad dash for a (usually inappropriate) snack.

"Bad pricks" happen when the lancet goes a bit too deep, stings more than usual on contact, keeps bleeding, and leaves visible evidence for days...

At December 06, 2007 11:16 AM, Blogger Bernard said...


I just read this list for the first time thanks to a pointer from blinkered's blog.

Thanks for a huge laugh or three. I really needed them. I'll have to share this list with my wife.

At July 21, 2011 1:42 PM, Anonymous Penney said...

Sooo nice to know I am not a lazy freak because I use a lancet for a reallly long time. Like every time we change the clocks. I also get as much mileage out of an infusion site as I can and used to reuse syringes, even the ones I would use to shoot through my jeans in the car after eating out :) So glad to have found this community!

At November 09, 2011 1:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I come back to your terms of endearment every once in a while for a good laugh.I can relate to all of them (cept the tellfart insulin). It feels comforting to known some else knows exactly what you deal with every day. Lynn

At July 11, 2012 11:13 PM, OpenID tannersaunders said...

This may be a little late...but this blog is seriously the best ever! I can relate to every single word! Thanks for the laugh!


Post a Comment

<< Home