Heather Francis is a registered nurse and certified diabetes educator working in an endocrinology clinic at Tanner Clinic in Layton, Utah. Heather volunteered to participate in the Fakebetes Challenge and was paired with Jennifer Cruze. During the Fakebetes Challenge Heather wore an insulin pump containing saline, tested her glucose, and counted her carbohydrates. Throughout the challenge Jennifer would text Heather glucose levels or symptoms that Heather would need to respond to in real time. Last week you read Jennifer’s guest post describing her experience during the Fakebetes Challenge, here is what Heather had to say about her experience.
Why did you decide to do the Fakebetes Challenge?
I decided to do the challenge to help me be more sympathetic and understanding for the people I work with.
What did you gain from the Fakebetes Challenge?
I gained a better understanding of what it would be like to be living with diabetes. I also realized that practicing what you preach can be difficult at times. I admit I missed some preprandial blood sugars and insulin doses for snacks on the run.
Was there anything that surprised you?
I was surprised by all of the things my partner had to remember and keep track of all of the time. Such as, making sure her pump had enough battery left, her dexcom is charged, and her meter is charged. My partner brought up many things I hadn’t even thought of before. For instance, I told her I’d be going to the gym in the morning. I planned on taking my BG before exercise and bringing some glucose tablets. My partner asked if I had a medical alert bracelet or if I had provided the gym with an emergency contact. Both are very practical and something everyone should do, I had just never thought of doing it.
How did the Fakebetes Challenge affect your day-to-day activities?
I definitely had to think about things and plan more. I usually count carbs anyway, but during the challenge, I had to make sure I was consistent and accurate. I also had to figure out how to make things work in different social situations. I attended a pool party one night. I wanted to wear my pump as much as possible to get enough basal, but the pump wasn’t waterproof. Everything worked out well, I just had to plan ahead and make it work.
Has your perspective of someone living with diabetes changed?
My perspective has changed. I told my partner that having diabetes reminded me of having a new baby. Throughout the day, you have to be prepared for a bunch of different types of scenarios. If you plan on going anywhere, you need to plan ahead and bring things to make all of the different scenarios work. Activities can still be enjoyable, but may need to be altered just a little to complement your lifestyle and diabetes.
Who else should participate in the Fakebetes Challenge?
I think anyone who provides care/guidance/encouragement/education to people living with diabetes would benefit from the challenge. You learn what its really like and you may even pick up some cool tricks or hints to pass along to those you work with.
Thank you Heather and Jennifer for participating in the Fakebetes Challenge! If you are a healthcare provider or are a person living with diabetes and would like to participate in the Fakebetes Challenge please contact me.