My insulin pump, CGM and BGL meter all talk to me. (I just reread that statement and realised how weird it sounded. Thankfully – hopefully? – this is an audience that understands I’m not hearing voices and having conversations with devices.) They alarm and alert and let me know when they feel they need some attention.
And then last week, out of nowhere, my mobile phone got in on the act. I started receiving alerts at 11am each day, providing little reminders and prompts to help me live better with diabetes. At least that was what it was promising.
Somewhere, I must have signed up for this. As smart as my phone may be, it’s not likely that it signed up itself. Nor that my smart pump or smart meter made a call and hooked up with my phone. On one of the health apps or websites I use, I must have ticked the box that said ‘please send me annoying updates. At 11am. When I want to eat a doughnut. Telling me to NOT eat a doughnut. Which just makes me want a doughnut more. Now, where do I find a doughnut?’
The first day I received my 11am alert, I was a little surprised. It was a lovely, gentle ‘you’re-a-ok’ kinda message that made me feel quite loved, really.
The second day, it reminded me that breakfast was the most important meal of the day and linked to some ideas to start my day right. Disappointingly, my breakfast of nothing with a coffee chaser was not on the list.
The third day, it reminded me that checking my BGLs two hours after eating would allow me to correct any high BGL following the healthy breakfast (from the previous day’s list) I would have eaten that day.
The fourth day, it reminded me that carbohydrates are an important way to get energy, but not all carbs are created equal, and linked to a table that showed the best carbs to eat. Once again, I was disappointed. My favourite carbs (Nutella, anything containing Nutella and doughnuts. Filled with Nutella) were not on the list.
The fifth day, it reminded me that regular visits to my HCP and complications screening are important.
We ended our relationship that day. I don’t need an 11am complications screening reminder. Ever.
I found the healthy living (the diabetes healthy living) messages intrusive. Rarely at the moment I received the alert would I be thinking of diabetes. Instead, I’d be in the middle of something at work and suddenly I was torn away and reminded that a lot of my choices are not really healthy. I felt guilty. Guilty that I hadn’t eaten breakfast (except for a milky coffee), hadn’t eaten any carbs of value in the last 48 hours, hadn’t been checking post-prandial BGLs and that I was a couple of months late with my comps screening.
But more than that, it didn’t make me want to make any changes. It just added to the alerts and alarms and white noise. It was distracting and not actually achieving anything. So I stopped it. Most of the time, diabetes intrusions can’t be stopped or turned off. But this one can. The best thing to have come out of this little exercise was how I felt when I unsubscribed. I felt in control.