Diabetes Language: What Readers Love and Hate

We share readers’ responses to our recent survey on diabetes language.



We recently asked readers to share their go-to language for diabetes gear and other facets of living with Type 1. Here are some of the hilarious, moving, and clever words and phrases that our readers use.

Do you have a nickname for your diabetes gear? If so, what is it and why do you call it that?

“I call my CGM The Diabetes God. My sister started joking ‘the diabetes gods demand a blood sacrifice’ when she or I would have to do a finger stick to calibrate our CGMs.”

“Call my pump Baby. Always need to feed it, monitor it, take care of it…”

“We say hello to Mr. Humalog and Mr. Lantus when get the pens ready. My husband started this to make our grandson laugh at meal time.”

“I named my pump Gandolf because of the wizard function.”

“I call my meter Mimi because I stuttered while reacting and asking for my meter.”

“I call my blood meter Dracula because it is always drinking my blood and my Batbelt “carries all my gear like Batman’s utility belt.”

“Call my diabetes bag d-bag. Heard it from a friend.”

“Bomba is for ‘pump’ in Spanish. My first endocrinologist spoke Spanish and I had traveled to some Latin American countries.”

“My pump is Joy. I could work, drive, and take care of my grandchildren after my blood sugars were more stable.”

“My grandchildren say my pump is my jet assist unit.”

Other nicknames from readers:

Meeps and Pumps
Annie for animas
Sugar bag
Pancreas
Hank the panc
Sailor 2 Point Oh
Sheldon
Kitty
Baby
Grace aka Pumpity
Pump and a Bump
Pumpinator
Mr. Beep
The Thing
Tracker
Mimi (meter)
D-bag
Lawn Darts
Pink Pumpy
Kit
Dex
Blood machine
Popper
Harpoon
Glucose Thingy, Sugar Checker, and Needles

Does having a nickname for your gear change your relationship with it?

No.

“Makes it funny, less depressing.”

“I think we sort of think as Mr. Humalog & Mr. Lantus as friends.”
“Personalizes, and not so medical sounding.”

“Yes, makes an annoying situation comical.”

“A bit of whimsy to lighten the seriousness of an ever-present condition.”

“Calling it Sailor 2.0 brings up dear memories of my stellar dog, and makes me grateful for the technology that has brought me a CGM.”

“Yes. It allows me to laugh about an aspect of managing my disease, which helps me not take myself so seriously — and helps others not be afraid of it.”

Have you coined any other diabetes terms or phrases?

“Dolphin-ing for when my Dexcom sensor is off and the trend graph is bouncing up and down every 10-15 minutes because its like a dolphin jumping in and out of water.”

“My monster to describe the condition.”

“Double downing (going low on my cgm)”

“When my sugars are stuck on high, and I bolus a bunch of extra insulin, and it still won’t come down, and then when it finally does and comes crashing, I call that flooding myself.”

“Put that in your pump and prime it. I just suffered a low.”

“My grandson always uses the word ‘shaky’ when he feels low. The use of the word is quite specific and it helps us help him.”

“My husband is Icelandic, and he told me that in Icelandic, diabetes translates as ‘sugar sickness’, so sometimes we use that moniker when referring to my type 1.”

“Death sentence.”

“What’s your B.S.? (meaning latest blood sugar #, not the other phrase)?”

Do you use any diabetes portmanteaus (word combinations)?

Diabetes
Diabadass
Diaversery
Diabuddy
Diabestie
Diasuck
Dem-betus

What is one word used within or about the T1D community that you’d like to see retired?

Incurable
Can’t
Chronic
Unicorn
Brittle
Diabetes (we should say Type 1 or Type 2)
Diabadass
Warrior
Diabetic
Diabeetus
The Sugars
Juvenile

Do you have an idea you would like to write about for Insulin Nation? Send your pitch to submissions@insulinnation.com.

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Audrey Farley is a former editor of Insulin Nation.