Friday the 13th and Diabetes Superstitions


Scene:  A woman opens her eyes slowly, nudged from sleep by the sound of something screaming in the night.  “What’s that noise?” she says, peering into the darkness.  And then, out of nowhere, comes the wail of the Dexcom’s BEEP BEEP BEEEEEEEEP! And there’s nothing in the house to treat that low except for cucumber slices.


… I’ll admit that my versions of horror movies are a little more diabetes than haunted house, but with tomorrow being Friday the 13th, it’s a perfect time to look at some superstitions through a diabetes lens.  There are plenty of superstitions that I subscribe to, and despite how ridiculous they are, they remain part of my mental repertoire.  But on the diabetes front, I try to keep my good luck/bad luck ideology out of rotation. 

In keeping with that theme, here’s a look at some common superstitions, debunked with a diabetes twist. 

Breaking a mirror:  Outside of the diabetes circle, this could be viewed as bad luck, but within our bubble of diabetes, breaking that mirror just means you have another little something with which to prick your finger.  And hey, that means you can bring your data up to date by doing a blood sugar check. 

Walking under a ladder:  Some view this as a hazard for superstitious reasons, but those of us who sport insulin pumps know that ladders aren’t a big deal … unless your tubing is hanging out, in which case, don’t get (w)rung out by snagging your tubes on the ladder.  Keep that tubing tucked!

A black cat crosses your path: No problem; just check his fur for a rogue test strip.  Otherwise, the cat is fine and might even help you avoid some trouble if it alerts you to a low or high blood sugar (like with my old cat, who put the “C” into CGM).  Meow is the time to let cats cross your path, as a snuggle or two might help reduce your stress levels. 

Opening an umbrella indoors:  This is just a weird thing to do, in my opinion, but there’s a diabetes angle, too.  What if you are trying to get out to the car with all the stuff you need and you don’t have a bag big enough to do the job?  Open that umbrella, flip it upside down, and use the fabric nest to hold your goods.  You can fit a jar of glucose tabs, your meter, a spare pump site, and all the other emergency prep list items, no problem.  (And yes, this is a stretch.  Work with me here.)

Find a penny, pick it up: This is a positive superstition, but here’s a little warning on the diabetes front:  if you’re scooping up loose change off the sidewalk, wash your hands.  Because you never know if that penny was once immersed in a jar of honey, or covered in Pixie Stix dust, which can get itself all over your fingers, which can cause inaccuracy in your blood sugar readings. (I can spin diabetes into ANY superstition.  Try me!)

The Number 13: Okay, this one can be a little scary.  Like if your blood sugar is 13 mg/dL.  (Mainline some orange juice!)  Or if your A1C comes back at 13%.  But on the whole, 13 is nothing to be afraid of.  Take control of your Friday the 13thby making that overdue eye dilation appointment.  Or simply changing your lancet.  Which brings me to …

Changing your lancet:  Don’t even try to tell me that you have a lucky lancet that gives you good blood glucose results.  Have you seen what happens to a lancet every time you use it?  GROSS.  That is truly something to be scared of, so go change your pen needle tips and your lancets this Friday the 13th.  Make that the new superstition tradition. 

So whether you’re dodging bird droppings (hey, that’s good luck!) or bobbing and weaving between black cats and upright ladders, scrap those superstitions and instead embrace a little diabetes good luck.  Because there’s plenty to be positive about.

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4 years ago

You’re funny.

Robert Baker
Robert Baker
4 years ago

“if your blood sugar is 13 mg/dL” — or, just as bad, if it’s 13 mmol/L.

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