The unruly side of blood sugar testing.
By Travis Grubbs
December 2008 — I am a chronic multi-tasker. It is nothing for me to have multiple tasks going simultaneously. Late one afternoon, this past November, I had just gotten off work and was driving to meet my wife at a restaurant for dinner. I was stopped at a "long" red light, and I just had to find something to do while waiting for the green light. It occurred to me that I could multitask, both idling and taking care of my blood sugar testing. I was going to test anyway when I reached the restaurant.
I placed my left hand on top of the steering wheel. As I applied the lancet to my middle finger, I realized that I had retracted my pointer and ring fingers, resulting in that offensive sign that is universally known as "the bird" a/k/a "the finger." I also realized that I appeared to be flipping off the lady driving the car stopped in front of me. I quickly dropped my hands below the steering wheel. As far as I know, I was not observed. I thought it was funny.
As I drove down the road, and as my imagination began to run away with this scenario, I began to wonder what would have happened if the lady in front of me had seen me checking my blood sugar and mistook the position of my fingers. How would she have reacted? Would she have thought that I was flipping her off?
I could see it now on the television news:
"Yesterday evening police were summoned to the intersection of Highway 21 and Ebenezer Road where Travis Grubbs was observed making an ‘obscene and hostile' gesture while driving in rush hour traffic.
As one eye witness states: ‘I looked in my rear view mirror and this stern looking man with a beard was flipping me off, and for no reason! I thought…Lord help me Jesus that man is becoming enraged! I then called 911 on my cell phone."
The reporter then continues with:
"His ‘road rage' resulted in Mr. Grubbs being arrested." At this time my mug shot fills the TV screen. I have a look of disbelief on my face. My mouth is partly open because I am still trying to explain why my finger was extended, and I have raised my left hand and middle finger so that it is included in the photo. I don't think it helps my case or my image.
"Travis Grubbs was reported as being argumentative with the arresting officer and kept trying to blame his ‘road rage gesture' on his type 2 diabetes. Our news team has learned that Mr. Grubbs was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in May 2006."
"Travis Grubbs was released into his wife's custody after the police confirmed that he was indeed blood sugar testing on his meter during the time of the reported incident, and because he had no prior record. Travis Grubbs also had to agree to attend an anger management program.
"While on the way out of the police station Mrs. Grubbs did comment that while her husband was well known for being stubborn and hard-headed, he was not known for yelling or making obscene gestures while driving. Mrs. Grubbs refused to comment on whether Mr. Grubbs yells or makes obscene gestures when he is not driving."
My unruly fingers may have put me at risk of having a major and embarrassing incident. I have decided to test only in my home, or in a secluded area, where my fingers may freely do as they please, and will not risk offending others. But then again, I may just test any way and keep my hands below the steering wheel.
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.
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