Resolving to Log
Keeping track of information to improve my diabetes control.
November 2011 — I'm trying to start my new year off my doing a better job of logging. No — not jogging, logging, as in, keeping a logbook so I can help my doctor help me better manage my diabetes.
Each device I use to interact with my diabetes has a way to collect information and then spit it back out at me, either through some sort of computer download, or by manually looking through the memory on the device.
With all of that information, I should be able to make more sense of my diabetes. I should be able to spot patterns and make adjustments, and become a little bit smarter about how I manage my blood sugars.
But it's a real challenge to capture that information, and even harder to pull it together and make any sense of it.
Logging everything takes a lot of time up front. As the information happens (you check your blood sugar, eat something, and take insulin) you have to record it somewhere. And the logging isn't much good unless you review the information and try to spot trends. That takes a lot of time too.
We already have to interrupt life to count carbs, check our blood sugar, and take our insulin. It doesn't sound like much to add in logging, but it is a lot of extra work. Now we have another step to do. Is it just another small task? Or is it the straw that broke the camel's back?
I often wonder how I can possibly capture the entire context around each of these moments in my diabetes data? Have you ever seen a typical logbook? A bunch of little boxes (but never enough for all of the hours in the day) all separated out by category, such as blood sugar, insulin, carbs, etc. How do I capture, all in those little boxes, that I took less insulin for morning snack because I am planning to play basketball in an hour? Impossible.
Same thing goes for most of the computer software out there. It can pull dates, times, and blood sugars from meters. Sometimes it even allows you to flag a result as pre-meal or post-meal, but that's about it. What if you use multiple meters? Each brand has its own software, so you may have trouble combining stuff into a single place. What if the date and/or time are set incorrectly on the meter? Now it's really hard to make sense of anything in the reports!
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As I mentioned in an earlier post, one of the benefits that made it cost-effective for me to go with the real healthcare (HSA) plan rather than the phony (HRA) plan is that my company is now covering "preventative" medicines at $0 copay. The formulary for these, as stated by CVS/Caremark (my pharmacy benefits provider), covers all test strips, lancets, and control solutions. I dutifully get my doctor to write up prescriptions for all of my testing needs, submit...