It's hard to be patient, but I know it's a skill I need to work on.

Online CommunityBy Scott Johnson

July 2011 — Less than fifteen minutes after eating, my continuous glucose monitor (CGM) buzzes to alert me to a rapid rise in my glucose level. Looking at the device, it's showing 132 mg/dl with two arrows pointing straight up.

My first reaction is to second guess everything around that meal, such as carbohydrate count, insulin delivery, nutritional choices, and timing. My second reaction is slight amusement that my first reaction is to second guess myself.

Twenty minutes later my blood sugar is over 200 mg/dl and still rising, though not as fast. I feel sleepy from the rapid rise, and it's hard to focus on anything except wanting to nap. I want to hit that high blood sugar with some more insulin, but I know that the insulin I took before my meal hasn't had enough time to start working.

I have to wait.

I have to tolerate how uncomfortable I am, how sleepy I am, how desperate I am, and just wait.

I know that my blood sugar will rise after (during?) a meal. So why does it take so much work to sit back and just let things play out?

I know that my blood sugar will most likely start coming back down soon (unless I've made a major miscalculation, or have been visited by the diabetes fairy). I know that if I take more insulin now, trying to rush the high down, I'll be fighting a low blood sugar in 90 minutes or so.

I know all of this, but it's still very hard.

Diabetes requires so much patience in many ways beyond just waiting for blood sugars and insulin doses to play out.

When I get my lab results, which might call for a change or adjustment in medication, I wait for the next draw to see if the change worked for better or worse. With my quarterly A1C tests, I make small adjustments to my daily choices and wait to see if it helped or hurt. I submit requests and paperwork to get coverage or assistance with my medications and wait for the decision.

It all requires patience. Hourly patience, daily patience, monthly patience, yearly patience. We are patient patients whether we want to be or not.

Patience with diabetes is a skill we work on. Just like working to be strategic about our blood sugar testing or working to capture useful information rather than random information. Just like working to learn about healthy eating and exercise.

The skill of patience is not much different.

 Read more of Scott Johnson's columns here.

Visit Scott's blog. 


dLife's Viewpoints columnists are not all medical experts, but everyday people living with diabetes and sharing their personal experiences, most often at a set point in time. While their method of diabetes management may work for them, everyone is different. Please consult with your diabetes care team before acting on anything you read here to find out what will work best for you.

Last Modified Date: June 14, 2013

All content on is created and reviewed in compliance with our editorial policy.

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