Keeps Me Calm

Finding comfort in testing my blood sugar.

Kerri SparlingBy

August 2012 — After seeing the words, "Keep Calm and..." I had to consult the powers of Google to see where this meme started — turns out it's from a public safety poster issued by the British government during World War II, urging people to "Keep Calm and Carry On." Well, there you go.

With meme origin established, I have to say that I love what the Internet has done to this poster. The diversity of needs and wants is on full display with the varying responses to what keeps people calm. "Keep Calm and Eat a Cupcake" is a personal favorite. As is the anti-calm message of "Freak Out and Throw Stuff."

But an artist friend of mine summed up the diabetes version of this meme beautifully: Keep Calm and Do a Blood Test.

I don't know what it's like for people who don't live with diabetes, but as a diabetic, testing my blood sugar can sometimes be the most calming, routine thing on the planet. Being a work-from-home mom with a two-year-old toddler careening around the house, chaos reigns supreme most days. I'm not as even-keeled or in control of things as I'd like, diabetes control unfortunately included in that statement. But there's something about unzipping my meter case and pricking my finger that sets me straight for at least a few seconds. It's a routine — one I've had for decades — and even though the result that pops up on the meter might be disconcerting, the act of testing my blood sugar does keep me calm.

This probably sounds very odd. "Kerri, you find comfort in testing your blood sugar? Like, sticking your finger with a lancet and making yourself bleed?" I realize it might sound a little strange, but when you're doing the same thing eight to ten times a day, there's a little bit of solace found in that routine. It doesn't change. It's part of every day. And when stress is swirling, it can be one quick moment where you're back in control, even if it's simply controlling what you know.

There's a power to knowing my numbers. Diabetes is a disease that can be a bear to control, but sometimes what derails efforts is a lack of knowledge. If you don't know what to look for or where you're starting from, it's hard to make progress. When it comes to my personal diabetes control, I need to have constant contact with my numbers so I know where I've come from and where I'm headed, blood sugar-wise. Having this information at my fingertips (or from my fingertips) gives me a snapshot of the state of my diabetes in that very moment...and that's empowering.

Do I like testing my blood sugar? Not particularly. Do I enjoy that poking lancet, or the times when I squeeze my finger and two droplets of blood spring up, instead of just one? (That's always weird.) I don't enjoy it, but the routine is soothing. And it helps me keep my diabetes as controlled as I can manage...which, in turn, keeps me calm.

So keep calm and do a blood test!

Visit Kerri's website.


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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by Brenda Bell
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