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October 22, 2014
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Required BG checks


I say that sometimes I can be more lax than I want to be when it comes to bloodsugar checks. This winter a perfect example. I've said that during the winter months, there were days when I was lucky to squeeze out four tests. But that's not exactly true. What I meant is that I'm lucky if I squeezed out four regularly timed tests a day; because in reality there are required BG checks that I always perform and those easily add up to four tests per day. Really, what I meant is that I have sometimes skipped out on tests before and after meals - while I'm sitting at my desk.

So when are required times you ask? Because, I mean, before and after meals would seem reasonable times to set as "you must test" times, right? For me, it's more about safety than patterning, which in the long term, doesn't do much for overall control. That's not a good thing. I know it.

These are my required testing times:

* Before I get in my car. Duh. I need to ensure that I'm safe to drive. So every morning before I take my car in to work, and every night before I come home, and all the times I'm driving between and after work. The sugar gets tested. I will not drive under 80 mg/dl without some kind of treatment or snack and I will not drive (unless absolutely necessary, like, to get myself treatment) over 300 mg/dl. Both too low and too high put me in states of physical and mental impairment that are a danger to myself and others.

* Before I exercise. So, I do this mainly so I don't pass out at the dance studio, yoga studio, or gym. That would be embarrassing. But I do this also because I could get hurt passing out at the gym and I won't take that chance. Active lifestyle requires a functioning body without breaks, strains, sprains and the like.

* Before I sleep. I wish this was at a more regular time, because if it was, I could use it as a pattern establishment test as well as a safety check, alas - my sleep patterns are hopelessly scattered. But I test before sleep mostly because I want to feel safe. If I don't feel safe I will stay up thinking that I'm not safe. I remember once, I decided to stay over at a friend's and didn't realize until we started getting ready for bed that I'd used the last test strip in the bottle I had on me. That sucked. Because I literally could not fall asleep. I had imagined low bloodsugar symptoms while simultaneously feeling ridiculously thirsty (convincing me I was having a high bloodsugar). I was up until my body finally gave in at 3:30 am. Testing before bed gives me peace of mind.

Again, these tests add up to 4-6 tests by themselves. But the fact of the matter is, I still need to be testing more than I did this winter. Before meals at the very least should become required test times. Which would mean testing to 7-9 tests per day. Add to those the times I test for low or high sugar symptoms and we're at 9-11 tests per day. That should be the bare minimum. For the past several months, I had barely been making my required plus one maybe two more resulting in 4-5 tests per day if I exercised, more if I'd done a good deal of driving.

It seems unreasonable to have to test that often just to get baseline good control, doesn't it? It seems like one should be able to look at bloodsugar a couple of times a day and be alright. But given my last a1c (nearly in the double digits), I know that increasing my number of tests is pretty much vital to finding excellent control once again.

This past week, I've done well. I've timed it so that I'm up everyday and ready to get in my car precisely at the same time. This makes my fasting morning test also my driving to work test. I've added in a pre-lunch test, which I programmed into both my work and my phone calendar to ensure that I actually do it and I've tried to time dinner to hit just before work out (I eat light, so this is not a big deal) so that I'm killing two birds with one stone there. My next step will be trying for at least one post-prandial bloodsugar a day. I'm hoping to re-form better testing habits. This, I know, will be a slow process, but the truth of the matter is, that if I want true long-term diabetes safety, my number of "required" tests need to be at maximum!

Wish me luck on the journey!

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Megan Holmes
Megan Holmes Megan was diagnosed in 2009 with Type I. As an RN, she was familiar with the medical side of her diagnosis; learning to be a good patient on the other hand, was and continues to be the challenge of her day to day life.   (Read More)
Michelle Kowalski
Michelle Kowalski Michelle Kowalski, a writer, editor and photography hobbiest living in Phoenix, was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in February 2005. In January 2008, as part of her quest to start on an insulin pump, Michelle learned that she actually has type 1 diabetes.   (Read More)
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