Its just a number

Language matters, and the language we use to talk about blood sugars matters a lot. Sometimes, blood sugar are discussed as either “good” or as “bad.” Oh, your blood sugar is 105mg/dl, that’s a good number. Hmm, your blood sugar is 248mg/dl, that’s a bad number. Its important that you test your blood sugar. 

The trouble with this is that no one wants a bad number. As a patient, you’ve put in all this work to take care of yourself, and then… you don’t get the result you want. You get A BAD NUMBER. You feel disappointment, discouragement. Thoughts like, “If I do everything I’m supposed to, and it still doesn’t work out, why bother trying.” Or, when you test your blood sugar, that might be a test that you fail.

But guess what? Type 1 diabetes is difficult to manage. You can be doing everything right, and blood sugars still aren’t where you want them to be. You can be checking constantly, carb counting, exercising, you name… and still blood sugars are high. That alone is frustrating enough, but when you then feel like you have failed, and gotten a bad number, its enough to make you throw up your hands and say, “I quit.”

Consider the following thought experiment: a person with type one checks their blood glucose 4 times per day (or checks a CGM 12 times per day)

(4 times per day) x (365 days per year) x (50 years) = 73,000

(12 times per day) x (365 days per year) x (50 years) = 219,000

Tens of thousands (or hundreds of thousands) of numbers. If every time someone views a number, they are thinking about it as a test that can be failed, guess what? No one likes to fail tests. 

So, no more good or bad numbers. A number is just a number. Its a piece of information, like the weather. Its helpful information, so that you have data you can use to take care of yourself. No more testing (how about checking?)

Its just a number. Its just data. Use to to take care of yourself, nothing more, nothing less.