Wil Dubois

Welcome to another Saturday and our weekly diabetes advice column, Ask D’Mine, hosted by veteran type 1, diabetes author and educator Wil Dubois.

This week, Wil follows takes follows up on a question that came in for Valentine's Day last week, about D-devices and the rainbow of colors of the human form. He also addresses what he can't address ;) 


{Got your own questions? Email us at AskDMine@diabetesmine.com}


Last week un-sexy feeling pumper Becky in Mississippi wrote to Wil for the guy’s view of how pumps and CGMs affect female sex appeal, but in passing she also mentioned how she didn’t like the look of the bright-white medical tape on her skin, saying “my skin is dark brown, thanks a lot, tape companies"...

Wil@Ask D’Mine thinks: Hey, Becky, I’m with you on hating the medical ultra-white color of the tape that holds infusion sets and CGM sensors to our skins. Hell, I’m a white guy and this stuff doesn’t match my skin either. Of course, it’s not simple. Blacks range from light-brown Obama to "dark chocolate." Hispanics from palest olive to cappuccino. Asians and Indians come in 50 shades of tan. Even we whites range from ghostly pale, to creamy ivory, to pink, to ruddy. Ironically, I think the only color I’ve never seen on a human face is the Crayola Canyon “flesh” color (retired to “peach” in 1962 in an early and enduring example of political correctness).

My point? There’s no practical way to make tape to match the vast range of human skin colors. The market is too small and the variety of skin colors too vast.

Still, I think we can all agree that medical white looks bad on all the 50,000 shades of humanity. So what to do? What’s the best alternative to liquid paper white? I say, if we can’t camouflage our gear, we should flaunt it.

I think we need to treat the tape like an accessory. Like body jewelry.

Give me bright red, royal blue, deep forest green, crazy LSD psychedelic tie-dye, or bikeDexcomColorsr tattoo tape. I know what the other side will say: It’s too expensive to make even five different different colors of tape. OK, fine. You need to maximize your profits and keep your shareholders happy. Then give us two choices. I challenge you—I’m talkin’ to you, Unomedical—to create 20 options, have an online election, and then produce the two most popular. I’d bet my boots that at the end of the year you’ll have a warehouse full of medical white diabetes supplies that nobody wants collecting dust. 

Of course there’s more on my body than just tape. Hey, Dexcom, what’s up with the battleship grey transmitter? Boy, that’s a sexy look on everybody! Fer God’s sake, give me a choice between chrome and highly polished gold. Hell, these things cost more than most jewelry, so why shouldn’t they look the part? I’ll take mine in chrome, please, with a little red medical alert symbol engraved on its face instead of your corporate logo.

We, the patient community, agitated for improvements in our devices and industry heard us and heeded us. Much of our gear is now more user-friendly and sexier than ever before. And yes, we even do have options like insulin pump skins, and we can find different colored cases and skins for meters and CGMs, too. Those are great.

Now it’s time to take the next step. The supplies that decorate our bodies need to have soul, too.

(Note: Kudos to Animas for offering the plastic parts of their infusion sets in pink, blue, and grey; and to Bayer for their lancing needles in every color of the rainbow.)


Khan, type 2 from Saudi Arabia, writes: Dear Dr. D’Mine, My compliments and best wishes and thanks for your help to patients with your best advice. Recently the toe of my right leg at the corner of the nail has started pain and I noticed some puss formation. Visited the doctor. I am told it is in-growth of nail in the skin. I was given 5 Tabs anti-biotic. The pain at the toe has not gone and continues. I applied Dettol all the time. Kindly advise: should I take more anti-biotics for more days, and/or apply Dettol? Is it right that this is in-growth of nail at the toe? Appreciate your kindness.

Wil@Ask D’Mine answers: OK, I confess. I absolutely loved being called “Doctor D’Mine,” but I caDoctorInWhiteCoatn’t in good faith accept the title. This is a good time to remind everyone that while I may know two boatloads of stuff about diabetes, I’m not a doctor. Well, not officially anyway. In her comments about the 200th Anniversary of this column AmyT did bestow upon me “the honorary degree of PhD in D-Honesty and Snark Defense,” but I’m pretty sure that doesn’t count. Don’t “real” honorary degrees have to come from organizations that actually give degrees? So while I have faith that my many years of study and experience will some day be recognized, and that some prestigious University will eventually grant me an honorary doctorate—probably posthumously—we’d better just stick with “Dear Wil” for now.

And while we’re on the subject of doctoring, it's a good time to remind everyone that we don’t give medical advice here at Ask D’Mine. Yeah, I know, sometimes the lines get fuzzy between medical education and medical advice, but not this time. There’s no way in hell I can tell you if the doctor’s diagnosis is right or not, and what the right course of action is. First off, you’re on the other side of the globe, and second off I’m not qualified even to diagnosis an in-grown toenail, much less choose the best treatment for it.

But I can tell you this much: Pain and puss in diabetic toes is a recipe for some really bad shit to happen, regardless of the cause. I urge you to return to your doc super-fast. These things have a way of going south quickly. Call or present yourself in his lobby and tell him that the treatment isn’t working. I know a lot of people worry about “bothering” their doctors, but trust me on this: while I’m not a doctor, I work shoulder-to-shoulder with five of them, and I know from watching them in action that if your treatment isn’t working, your doctor wants to know.


Disclaimer: This is not a medical advice column. We are PWDs freely and openly sharing the wisdom of our collected experiences — our been-there-done-that knowledge from the trenches. But we are not MDs, RNs, NPs, PAs, CDEs, or partridges in pear trees. Bottom line: we are only a small part of your total prescription. You still need the professional advice, treatment, and care of a licensed medical professional.


Disclaimer: Content created by the Diabetes Mine team. For more details click here.


This content is created for Diabetes Mine, a consumer health blog focused on the diabetes community. The content is not medically reviewed and doesn't adhere to Healthline's editorial guidelines. For more information about Healthline's partnership with Diabetes Mine, please click here.