Patient Blogs | Diabetes
Why I Don’t Always Test My Blood Sugar

You’d think I’d know better by now.

Yet after years of living with type 2 diabetes, I have a million reasons why I don’t always test my blood sugar. Too little time, I simply forgot, my fingers are sore. My A1C reading was fine last month, so why do I need to track daily numbers now?

What’s the real reason I don’t always take my glucose numbers? Who knows? Maybe it’s simple old-fashioned rebellion, teenaged style. Why do I have to prick my finger four times a day when my husband doesn’t have to before he takes a bite? Why do I have to load myself down with this glucose meter, not to mention the all the other supplies – the alcohol wipes and the injector pen and the needles and the diabetic measuring strips?

No one likes to stick their finger, squeeze out a drop of blood and test. It gets in the way. And when you’re in public, it can be a little embarrassing as well. “What’s that?” someone invariably asks, and you have to start explaining, or not. Testing singles you out, makes you self-conscious and reminds you that you have a chronic and potentially serious disease (as if you needed reminding).

Every lousy time.

And who wants to be reminded of that?

I know what I should do. I know that I should leap out of bed, and check my sugars. I know that I should do it again before lunch, mid-afternoon and before bed. I know that keeping a log can give me a map to good control.

And yet. I can start with absolute good intentions, planning on taking my readings precisely on schedule, and fall off the wagon by night. I had a deadline at work, I was at the hair salon, and I had to go grocery shopping. I had to walk the dog, make an important telephone call.

I had to watch The Real Housewives of Atlanta.

But here’s the thing that stinks. No matter whether it’s simple rebellion or lack of time, when I don’t test – and there are many times that I don’t – I’m only hurting myself. Which is – if you’ll pardon the expression — what really, really sucks. Because here’s the bottom line about diabetes – the numbers don’t lie. You can slide with your carb counts, and scrimp on your exercise, and tell yourself you’re doing fine. But the numbers are really what count.

Which may be the biggest reason I don’t take my numbers: because those numbers are not only numbers. Sometimes, they feel as though they are rating you, that when your sugar jumps, you did (or are) something bad. That you failed in some way – and who needs that? Isn’t it bad enough that you have diabetes in the first place? Do you really need that number staring you in the face?

So here’s the real reason I don’t take my numbers all the time: numbers can be scary. And, judgmental.

But even I have to admit: given everything, taking them makes more sense than not.

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Ilene Raymond Rush

Ilene Raymond Rush

Award-winning health and science writer

Ilene Raymond Rush is an award-winning health and science freelance writer. Based on her own experiences with type 2 diabetes, she brings a personal take and a reporter’s eye to examine the best and newest methods of treating and controlling the disease.

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