Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Where do you lie on the Curve?

People have different reactions to diabetes, and management of blood glucose levels can span a broad spectrum. Some people may test levels compulsively, a dozen or more times a day and worry over every tiny detail so that they are constantly battling for perfection which is very hard, if not impossible, to achieve. At the other end of the spectrum, there are those who will rebel against diabetes, or deny its existence, never testing and taking a wild guess at their blood sugar levels before injecting an equally unscientifically calculated amount of insulin. Some may not even bother with the insulin.

I tend to lie on the ‘cautious’ side of the curve. I’m still very much aware of all the horror stories about diabetes and what devastating effects it can have. I admit to feeling slight disappointment this morning when my level read 6.7 mmol/l (120 mg/dl). Even though this is within my target range, it was about 1 mmol/l (18 mg/dl) above what it might normally be. I spent a moment fretting over whether my basal insulin might need changing a smidgen. The moment passed though! It’s something that you can become too obsessive over, to a point where it can dominate your life, and when that happens for any protracted period of time, then that’s not really living.

Those who choose to ignore their diabetes management, however, are the ones putting themselves at risk – the very real risk of complications like nerve or kidney damage, blindness or amputation. Not knowing what your levels are for days, weeks months on end means you will either be keeling over from a hypo or, more likely, your levels will be so high as to be causing damage hour by hour, possibly giving you short term problems like DKA, and undermining greatly your quality of life.

Find the middle way, the point of the curve that shows you care enough to pay attention and spend those few minutes each day to do the best you can. But don’t let those minutes turn to hours and take over your life.

Where do you lie on the Curve
Of caring and couldn’t care less?
For some, tight control’s an obsession,
For others their levels are a mess!

Some are driven by fears of the future,
And each reading that’s just out of range
Brings panic and deep disappointment,
And confusion about what needs to change.

Yet others will choose to ignore it,
Burying heads deep in the sand,
No testing, and guessing at insulin,
Activities and meals all unplanned.

So you mad, and you bad, diabetics,
Strike a balance as you live out each day,
Be respectful of your diabetes,
But don’t let it stand in your way!

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