Organize my Diabetes
September 22, 2017 6:03 PM   Subscribe

Recently I've had to start taking insulin. I carry a messenger bag for work, and it has my laptop and room for a case of some sort. I have a bunch of stuff to carry including syringes, testing strips, my freedom lite meter, my insulin, and various other accoutrement.

I'm looking for suggestions on something that will hold it's form and fit into a messenger bag without breaking a syringe. I've seen previous recommendations for a pencil case, but am having trouble finding anything that looks classy enough and/or obviously big enough to fit all my shit.

What do my fellow insulin-challenge and otherwise-friendly metafites recommend? I'd really appreciate your advice.

ps- I'm aware of places like but find their gear too expensive and difficult to tell if it's large enough to truly fit my gear.
posted by Draccy to Shopping (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
For the syringe(s) and insulin vials and other small things, a hard-shell eyeglasses case works well. If you don't wear glasses, ask someone who does: I get one for free every time I order a pair of dirt-cheap glasses.

On re-reading, I notice that you want something that looks classy; you can definitely find super-fancy ones too.
posted by XMLicious at 6:07 PM on September 22, 2017 [1 favorite]

I eschew classy entirely and use a fanny pack. Of course, I also squeeze a glucagon kit an an epi pen in there too. I find it slides inside a messenger bag or backpack, is an easy thing to grab out, and also is fine when I'm just bumming around for the day since it's all organized.

Of course, I am a pump user, so not carrying around a syringe routinely either.
posted by stevis23 at 6:34 PM on September 22, 2017

Try looking for a pelican case (or similar knock off brand). They are robustly built and come in a bunch of sizes. Try an outdoors store for a good selection. They aren't cheap, but look grownup and they will protect that stuff through WWIII
posted by Northbysomewhatcrazy at 6:42 PM on September 22, 2017

My mother has been a diabetic for 50 years for as long as I can remember she has always used a hard sided eyeglasses case to keep them in in her bag, because if anyone looks in it just looks like eyeglasses. You can get some large ones for sunglasses but she uses something similar to this but you can get a huge range of shapes sizes & colors.

If you still want to go the pencil case route try a Japanese stationery website

She uses a fancy makeup case for her tester & all the other little bits when she decides to take them with her. As you can see by the linked example they can be pretty gender neutral and are basically just zip pouches.
posted by wwax at 6:49 PM on September 22, 2017

You might explore the world of firm-side pen cases and electronics travel cases.

See also toiletry cases.
posted by Lyn Never at 6:50 PM on September 22, 2017

Check out Grid-It. They have bags and cases but you could also get a panel that's sized to a soft sided bag that looks classy enough for your tastes and it will provide the needed structure. I have a few smaller grid-it panels from years ago and they have held up quite well; I use them for gadgets and art supplies when traveling - no prismacolors broken yet, all cords remain untangled.
posted by Mizu at 7:06 PM on September 22, 2017 [1 favorite]

My husband purchased several cases from Amazon for his daily diabetic supplies. Key words are "diabetic cases".
posted by tipsyBumblebee at 7:30 PM on September 22, 2017

Hard-shell pen cases, electronic cases, maybe even custom-divider fishing tackle cases. Keep the case that comes with your meter (or if you haven't got it, get a replacement) because you won't find anything to match the plastic clip-mount. A few distinguishable small cases may work better than a Big Case of Everything: put emergency / lesser-needed stuff like ketone strips and glucagon in one, syringes and vials in another, meter / strips / prep pads in the meter-specific case.

(OP is sorted for bags, but for something following the design of a woman's handbag, the YadaBag is the business.)
posted by holgate at 8:10 PM on September 22, 2017

Amazon has a hard shell diabetes case for $12. Customers have posted pictures of their cases open with all their gear in it, including meters, strips, syringes, alcohol wipes, etc.
posted by xyzzy at 9:33 PM on September 22, 2017 [1 favorite]

I have been getting my insulin for 15 years in pens. You just carry the pen and some needle caps. I carry these things in my pocket without worry.
posted by munchingzombie at 11:13 PM on September 22, 2017

I have found that I can fit everything I need (needles, insulin vial, test strips, tester, finger pricker) in the soft black cases that have come with my meters (Freestyle Mini previously, Freestyle InsuLinx now). I usually keep it in its own compartment in my backpack, but it's small enough to stuff into a pants pocket when I want to travel light. Size of the whole package, packed, is 5-1/2" x 3-1/2" x 1-1/4". I've tried insulin pens instead of vials+needles a few times, but I've found that their length makes everything to big and awkward to comfortably fit in a pocket. In ~20 years, nothing in it has ever broken.

However, it's not a hard case, and it's not classy.

(The couple of times that something diabetes-related has broken, it has been when I've fumbled a vial taking it out of the fridge and dropped it on the hard kitchen floor tiles.)
posted by clawsoon at 7:09 AM on September 23, 2017

Another thing that helps: The research on reuse of disposable insulin needles shows that it's pretty much safe (presumably so long as you're not stupid about it, e.g. put the cap back on right away, don't reuse a syringe if blood goes back up into it or it otherwise gets dirty). I use 2 syringes a week, for multiple daily injections, with 2 extra along for spares. It reduces the amount of stuff you have to carry around.
posted by clawsoon at 7:19 AM on September 23, 2017

I repurposed an old oblong makeup case (it's a MAC Hello Kitty collectible and I have had people try to buy it off me in restrooms). It fits my meter/lancet/strips in the boring nylon case they came in, as well as both my rapid-acting and overnight pens; like clawsoon, I reuse needles until I can feel them when I inject.

The nice thing about repurposing something cheerful is that, if my bag falls over or someone needs to grab my keys or wallet, it doesn't automatically scream "HEY THIS PERSON IS DIABETIC" to those who have no need to know that information.
posted by catlet at 2:43 PM on September 23, 2017

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