Check your equipment – sometimes it’s your head, sometimes it’s your meter

Learn. It lightens the load


My desire in doing this work is to help people live more successfully with diabetes. For me that means you know how to: 1) manage your blood sugars through food, fitness and medicine and 2) manage the emotions of living with a chronic illness. Given my nature, I’m more drawn to the psycho-social aspect.

In general, the attitude we bring to our diabetes and how we cope. I’m also drawn to how we create happiness and contentment in life and curious whether diabetes impacts our happiness quotient. I have heard now from most people that diabetes hasn’t really changed their level of happiness. Many, in fact, tell me that it has enriched their lives, impelling them to reach out to help others and appreciate their blessings. Nice huh? This morning, however, I was brought quickly out of the clouds as I took my first out-of-bed reading.

I extracted a test strip and put it in my One Touch Ultra meter, pricked my index finger and got a reading of 144. Well, 144 isn’t terrible, but it isn’t my usual 98 or 85 or 68. Surprised and perplexed I tested again. Second prick – 113. Now with two numbers so different, I did a third test – 112. OK, now I could pretty much trust the latter two tests. Before I go any further let me first address those of you saying, “What’s she complaining about, I’d be happy with 144!” Well I’m not complaining, but I want to share something worth remembering – sometimes diabetes involves managing your head, and sometimes, managing your equipment.

If your blood sugar reading seems out of line, it may not be correct. It’s worth doing a second test, or a third. When I saw 144 I first thought, hmmm, I did eat a little cheese and fruit before going to bed. Darn, I knew I should have gotten up and covered it with extra insulin but I just didn’t feel like it. Then again, would a slice of Manchego and a few strawberries really spike me 50 points? Seems unlikely. So I thought what else could have caused this? And then I realized that when the blood crept up the test strip on that first test it didn’t completely fill the strip. This is likely why I got a false read. 

Your blood sugars won’t always make sense. There are just too many variables going on in your body for diabetes to be a perfect science. However, the more you test the more you’ll get to know how food, exercise and medicine typically affect your blood sugars and that’s valuable information. Particularly when something doesn’t seem right. If your numbers in general don’t make sense, do what every other TV commercial today tells you to do, “Talk to your doctor.” If an occasional number doesn’t make sense, think what could be the cause. It may avert an action, like an extra dose of insulin, that will cause an even bigger problem. Believe me I’ve been there too.

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