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August 28, 2016
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The Profile of a Diabetic

I was recently asked to update my profile on a diabetes-research web site.

I'd previously been contacted by the site to participate in paid diabetes research — and since I'm not exactly swimming in money, paid survey research is not necessarily a bad way to earn a few bucks on the side. It turned out that the researcher was looking only for type 2s on insulin.

Every time this site contacts me, they're looking for type 2s on insulin — so I ignore them.

Well, supposedly they've teamed with more companies interested in paying PWD for their insights, but the opportunities require that I "complete my profile".

Since I didn't remember having an incomplete profile (except maybe for Facebook, which I still refuse to join), I signed into the site to check what they had on me. The site was slow to load and didn't display properly in Chrome (my default browser — I do not use Internet Explorer under any circumstances). I finally logged in, and the first thing I found to edit set me completely on edge. I still don't understand why it doesn't set the whole lot of us on edge.

Meal times.

As far as I can see, having a set meal schedule is utterly insignificant (except maybe to PWD on MDI). Consider that as people with diabetes, we (theoretically) may only eat when we are low (or make ourselves low with insulin), we may not eat when we are high (even if it is a scheduled meal time), we test not just before and after meals, but when we rise, when we retire, when we prepare for exercise, and when we head to the post-cardio showers. We test when we feel low or high, or when our behavior is off. We put off mealtimes when we are high, add multiple snacks (or graze) to keep our numbers even...

And that doesn't even begin to take into account the vicissitudes of many of the jobs that earn us our daily low-carb bread.

Those of us in retail take our meals when our managers tell us we may — during slow periods of the day, or when two shifts overlap so that there is coverage at the registers and on the sales floor. Even though we are supposed to get breaks and be able to test as needed, the customer at the cash register comes before any employee's or manager's personal needs. Those of us at desk jobs may have our "scheduled" meals and breaks rescheduled by team meetings, interviews, presentations, or deadline tasks that need to be completed before one's meal may be taken. Many of us today don't work a consistent shift: we may work 9-5 on Monday, 12-9 on Tuesday, 9-9 on Wednesday, and 6-midnight on Thursday. Add in a half-hour or longer commute, and there's no way we can have a consistent meal schedule. Or a consistent sleep schedule.

So, I am officially calling BS on any logbook or log application that requires us to tie our mealtimes to a clock, limit our snacks to one a day (or insist that we have three "proper" meals a day). Our logs should be able to read time of day and allow us to tick off whether it's a meal, snack, graze, exercise, pre-commute, or other issue. They should not limit us to four tests a day. They should be something we can adjust by day of week or multiple "standard" schedules (such as "early shift Mondays, evening shift Tuesdays, off Saturdays").

And I've unsubscribed from that unresponsive site.

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