I was in the grocery store a few weeks back, in the aisle where the boxed juices sit on the shelf.
As I stood there looking at the flavors (because rule #1 for hypo supplies: taste good), I was also checking out the carb count of every single juice box in the aisle.
“Well, this one looks good, but it’s 22g of carbs per box. This one is 12g… how do I count/bolus for that? Each box of this juice is 15g, which I want. But the flavor is… not my favorite”.
After standing in front of these shelves for over five minutes, I asked myself (out loud—good thing I like to shop early in the morning) whether it really mattered if a juice box had exactly 15 grams of carbohydrates per box. I mean, if I’m in the middle of an overnight low, and I need to treat with a juice box, I don’t think an extra 7 grams is going to make a huge difference. So I wound up picking the juice with the flavor I liked (fruit punch), but 22 grams of carbs.
This is just my viewpoint on the subject… I completely understand if you are into exact measurements and precise management of your diabetes to get to, and remain in, a good glucose range all the time. In fact, I admire you for that level of dedication.
But you know, I just wonder if years of exchange diets, A1cs, and carb counting has made me obsessive about a gram of carbohydrate here and a couple of BG points there. It was brought into focus for me about a year or so back when I visited my endocrinologist, she relayed my lowest A1c result ever, and in the next breath wondered herself if I had been obsessing too much. Her very words were “You know, it’s not the end of the world if your meter reads 140 mg/dL before dinner once in a while”.
Plus, and I don’t think this happens to everyone, but it happened to me: As I experienced more success with my A1c results, I became more and more of a micromanager about my numbers. I mean, it’s great when you get good results from it, but I don’t think I can keep it up forever. And mostly, I need to remember that I don’t know everything, or even much, about day to day management of my diabetes. You may disagree with that, but there’s no denying that I could stand to learn a lot more.
The other side to this is what happens if something unexpected happens when your numbers are so tight. And something unexpected is bound to happen once in a while. I’m fond of reminding people that the better your numbers are, the closer you are to hypoglycemia all the time. It’s a lot scarier to go from 100 to 50 than it is to go from 200 to 150.
If I’m obsessing over anything right now, it’s probably my basal rates and my insulin to carb ratio. Over the past two years, I’ve also cut down a lot on my daily caloric intake. So if I can get the basal and insulin to carb ratio numbers right, I think I will be in a good place with my diabetes about 80 percent of the time. And if you told me six or seven years ago that I could be on top of my diabetes 80 percent of the time, I wouldn’t have believed you.
How about you? Are you a control freak about your diabetes? Or are you more of a rounded, but nice, edges Person With Diabetes?