Each and every day I make dozens of diabetes decisions. I decide how many carbs I will eat and how much insulin I need to inject to cover those carbs; I decide how much glucose I need to treat a low BGL; I decide if it’s the day to change my pump line (or try to get an extra day out of it); I decide whether or not to eat something before taking a walk. All of these decisions impact on my BGL and my diabetes management.
And I prick my finger up to 10 times a day and based on the number displayed on my little machine I often decide how much of a potentially lethal drug I will inject into me.
That is the reality of life with diabetes. I say it not to be dramatic. It’s just part of what I do.
And I say it because if you ever think that the numbers displayed on that little machine are not important, think again. Close enough is not good enough.
In talks I give, I often say that how our diabetes paraphernalia looks is important and anyone who thinks that we are being shallow or vacuous because we want a pink pump or a pretty meter case doesn’t understand the monotony of life with diabetes. The fact that my meter case is pink and red and has poppies all over it and is from a Finnish design company makes me less pissed off every time I have to reach for it to stab my finger and check my BGL.
BUT! The most important thing of all is that I can trust what the meter and strips housed in that bright case tells me. Because I make regular decisions based on the number on the screen. I treat low BGLs if the number is below 3.5mmol/l; I decide if I’m happy to go to bed and sleep without any carbs if the number is at or around my bedtime target; I decide if I need to eat some carbs before I exercise; I decide if I’m happy to get behind the wheel of my car and start to drive. I decide if I am going to give myself a correction dose of insulin. All of these things have the potential to go wrong if that number isn’t accurate.
I may want my new meters to come with a gorgeous case or to have a light where the strip goes in for ease of use for night-time testing. I like the idea of meters that tell me of daily BGL patterns or those that use cartridges of strips to help avoid the inevitable strip detritus that decorates every room I’ve been in. I like that it takes only 5 seconds to give me a result and that less and less blood is needed on the strips. All of these things are great, but pointless – completely pointless – if I can’t trust the result. Accuracy. THAT’S what’s important. Most important.
Have a look at what’s going on in the USA with the fabulously named Strip Safely campaign.