A few notes from my personal journal today:
At the risk of sounding harsh, I’m getting a little sick of how people — even those supposedly in the know — lay so much import on a single BG result. It’s nothing but a snapshot in time, I tell you! Don’t like the number on my meter? Wait 10 minutes; it will change. That’s this thing I’ve got called type 1 diabetes.
A few weeks ago, I was in a meeting. While one of the most energetic attendees was speaking, I quickly tested my blood sugar under the table. The woman sitting closest to me (two seats away on my side of the table) caught sight of what I was doing and leaned in to whisper, ‘How is it? Good?‘
This woman happens to be an MD. An internist, to be exact.
I waved her off, on the pretense of being fascinated by what the speaker was saying. In reality, I was exasperated. No, make that really, really annoyed.
She wanted to know whether my BG level at that moment was “good.” Good for what, I think?! Good for having eaten breakfast just an hour before? Good if I’d eaten sausage versus oatmeal versus fruit? Good for having completed a hard workout not long before the meeting? Good for still having several units of insulin on board, or none at all?
As it happens, I was just about two hours post-breakfast, and only testing because I’d opted for an additional cup of coffee with half and half, which always wreaks havoc on my #bgnow‘s. I was at 152, and I think she may have caught a glimpse of that number, because she seemed to wince a little. (Not ideal, in the training manual, right?)
Why is it that even an experienced doctor does not know how little one single BG reading means in the scheme of things?!
This drives me nuts.
Not only that, but what kind of “bedside manner” is this? I have something I’d like to make required reading for everyone within miles of a type 1 PWD: our Ask D’Mine columnist Wil Dubois’ recent piece on the privacy of glucose numbers. “When you ask to see someone’s blood sugar numbers, you are asking them their bra size… Blood sugar numbers are personal, intimate. And often embarrassing,” he writes.
Right. Because they are so contextual and transitory! Who wants to spend 20 minutes explaining that 165 is actually pretty good considering that burrito you had for lunch? Or that 172 is a happy thing right now, because you’re about to head to the gym? Or even tougher to explain, that 92 is a complete disaster at this moment, because you took a hefty bolus less than an hour ago?
I had my annual eye exam just a few days after the meeting I mentioned. As the eye doc was taking notes on my overall health, he looked up, set his glasses down, and asked, “How are your glucose numbers lately? Are they good?”
I stared at him in silence for a time, until he started to look uncomfortable. I honestly was putting out the fires in my head. Finally I replied:
“I don’t understand the question. Do you mean good for when I wake up in the morning? That depends a lot on what happened the night before. Or do you mean good after meals? Because that’s a matter of skill with insulin dosing, among other things. Or good for during or after workouts? That’s a whole science unto itself!”
“My latest A1C was under 6.5, if that’s what you’re after.”
For goodness’ sake, don’t ask me about my BG number at any given second if you want any semblance of understanding the “Big Picture.” And please don’t use the G-D word “good” as if it were some kind of grade you were giving me.
Know what I mean, Peeps?