Life Hacks for Diabetes (and Blogging)

Banner_DBlog Week


Laddie_Head SquareBecause the audience for Diabetes Blog Week is mostly a “With It” crowd, I don’t know whether I have any diabetes tricks that will make my readers think “Aha! What a fabulous idea. I would have never thought of that.” One reason for that is that almost everything I know I learned from the DOC. But many of my readers are also bloggers. So I decided that I would briefly mention a few diabetes tricks and then a few blogging hints. Because I am approaching my one year anniversary of blogging, I’m sure I’m qualified to help those of you who have been doing this for years and years!

Diabetes Related

Pull out the scissors:  A few years ago after I had 2-year period where three or four Medtronic pumps cracked in the exact same place. I was using the Medtronic clip and one rep finally suggested I quit using the clip. They sent me a free leather case which I despised. I started carrying the pump in my pocket with no other protection for it. I hate to sew and just used my scissors to cut holes in my pockets for the tubing to fit through.  I have never had any of these holes fray badly or ruin my pants. So those who think you need reinforced and stitched holes for the tubing. Not true. Just be careful when you cut the hole so that you don’t cut any other part of your outfit. Also, don’t put the hole near the bottom of the pocket because things like car keys and coins will fall out of the pocket and take a ticklish journey down your pant legs. BTW once I quit using the Medtronic clip, I never had a pump case crack again.

Cargo PantsPants with Pockets:  I previously wrote a blogpost about my favorite “diabetes” pants and thought I’d give the link here. As a woman I struggle to find pants with pockets that can hold my pump, CGM, glucose tabs, car keys, and phone. These slacks are perfect for me and  I wear them most of the time. I even bought an extra pair and shortened them to work as capris. Click here to get the information.

FedEx LogoDon’t wait at home:  Most of us order at least some of our supplies and medications by internet order and rely on FedEx and UPS to deliver them to us quickly and in good condition. If you live in Minnesota and are expecting a sensor delivery and it is -10º out, what do UPS Logoyou do when you need to go to work and can’t stay home to receive your package? Or you live in Phoenix and don’t want insulin sitting on your front porch in 115º temperatures. Both FedEx and UPS have programs that give you many options over the delivery of your packages. Click here to read my November post detailing services available from FedEx and UPS.


Blogging Tips

Those of you who read my blog regularly have probably noticed that I use graphics or photographs for every post. The last thing in the world that I am is an artist, but I used to work at Kinkos/FedEx Office in the days when we provided in-store design service for our customers. I learned the basics of Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator and thoroughly entertain myself by continuing to work in those programs. This winter I purchased my first Apple computer and am slowly trying to wean myself from my Windows design programs. I think that Pixelmator at $14.99 will be a good replacement for Photoshop. I’ve been told that Sketch will replace Illustrator, but I haven’t taken the plunge at $79.99. I’m going to throw out a couple of ideas that you can use for adding graphics to your posts.

Text as Art:  I often use text as the basis for a graphic. I am cheap and there is no way that I am going to spend money buying fonts to use in my blog which nets me zero money. My absolutely favorite site for downloading free fonts is Font Squirrel which bills itself as Free Font Utopia. You can browse through categories and find some really great fonts to download. It’s easy to download fonts and if you don’t know how, just Contact Me through my blog and I’ll help you. If you want to see some Font-based graphics, click here and here.

Clip-art:  So far I have not been able to abandon Windows and live in a totally Mac world. My best source of clip-art is through Microsoft Word. Under the Insert Tab, click on Clipart and you will have access to a huge library of free clip-art. I use this clip-art on my blog as well as for fun personal documents. In my Mac world I have not found a lot of free clip-art. I bought PrintMaster for $40 and it has a lot of clip-art. But I keep going back to the desktop and Windows. I have an iPhone, an iPad, a MacBook Pro, and a Windows Desktop. I use all four devices every day.

UPS and FedEx: Helpful Info

Laddie_Head SquareMany of us with diabetes purchase our medical supplies and prescriptions online and have them shipped directly to our homes.  There is nothing more frustrating than to come home from work and find your insulin on the front porch in -10 degree weather (Minneapolis in January) or +110 degree weather (Phoenix in July).  Some of us have waited all day in an upstairs apartment for the arrival of a new pump only to find a sticky note at the building front door announcing a failed delivery attempt.

Depending on where you live, these problems can be avoided with a little advance planning.  I live in a suburb of Minneapolis and have both a FedEx Office and a UPS Store within 10 miles of my house.  By using online tools and programs provided by FedEx and UPS, I am able to route my packages to these stores and avoid a lot of the frustration that accompanies botched package deliveries.

Most of my medical supplies come from Edgepark and are shipped through UPS.  I receive an email when my supplies ship along with the UPS tracking number.  After that I benefit from a program called UPS My Choice.  The slogan for this program is “Get Home Delivery on your Schedule.”  You need to sign up for this program ahead of time and there is no charge for enrollment.

With the UPS My Choice program you get free-of-charge delivery notices along with an approximate delivery time.  You can use the Authorize Shipment Release to request that eligible packages be dropped off without a signature.  Most importantly you get the UPS Logoability to schedule a delivery time that fits your schedule, reroute the package to another address, or reroute the package to a UPS Store where you can pick it up at your convenience.

If you enroll in the free version of the My Choice Program you must pay $5 each time that you use the reschedule or reroute options.  When I know I won’t be home for a delivery that has a 3-month supply of test strips, CGM sensors, reservoirs, and infusion sets, it is worth $5 to me to know that I can pick up the package at the UPS Store without worrying about temperature extremes, theft off my front porch, or signature requirements.

Another option is the UPS My Choice Premium Plan.  An annual fee of $40 entitles you to unlimited reroutes and reschedules of your packages.  Because I don’t use the service enough to justify the $40 charge, I choose to pay $5 per use.  But if you have a home business or buy everything on Amazon along with lots of medical deliveries, this plan might be a better deal for you.

FedEx has a program called Hold at Location (HAL) where you can ship or redirect a package to a FedEx Office location.  When a package is set up for transit, you can have the sender select the HAL service.  They would address it with your name, the address of the desired FedEx Office, and select Hold at Location.  Many large FedEx Logocompanies won’t bother doing this for you and sometimes you don’t know ahead of time which vendor they are using to ship your package anyway.

What I do with FedEx is wait until I have received the tracking number from the shipper.  At that point I can go into the FedEx tracking site and select the option of redirecting it to a nearby FedEx Office location.  This service is available for FedEx Express, FedEx Ground and FedEx Home Delivery packages.  I can do this before any delivery attempt is made or after I have received a door tag when I missed the delivery.  It is incredibly convenient and unlike UPS, there is no charge for this service.  I reroute almost all of my temperature sensitive and/or valuable packages to FedEx Office so I don’t have to deal with staying home to accept delivery.

When I signed up for UPS My Choice a few years ago, it took a day or two before my account became active.  Therefore I suggest you sign up ahead of time so your account will be ready to go when you need it.  With FedEx there is no requirement to register ahead of time.

Be sure to understand the rules and restrictions of these programs.  For example, FedEx Office will only hold your package for 5 business days and in most instances, the person to whom the package is addressed must pick up the package and show a valid photo ID.  Know that not all packages can be released by an online signature if the shipper requires a delivery confirmation signature.

To find out about or enroll in UPS My Choice, click here.  To learn about FedEx Hold at Location, click here.  If you live in a rural area/small town or have special needs and can’t find a solution online, call UPS (1-800-PICK-UPS) or FedEx (1-800-GoFedEx) to learn about how they can help you.  Even if you can’t reroute a package to a store, you may have the option of rerouting it to another address or setting up a delivery appointment.

There are many complications and frustrations in our lives with diabetes.  Hopefully you can use options provided by UPS and FedEx to at least make receiving your medical supplies a little bit easier.