I love being able to quote random diabetes-related numbers to people. I get the irony of this considering I am also of the ‘diabetes is not all about numbers’ school, but sometimes, numbers can be really powerful.
I love asking this question:
‘What does 8754 mean?’
After the blank looks and the stares and the SWAGs, (the number of cupcakes you have eaten? The number of pairs of boots in your closet? The number of litres of coffee you consume in a month??), I reply with the answer:
‘That is the number of hours in a year that a person with diabetes manages their diabetes solo. There are 8760 hours in a year, so it works out to an average of about 6 hours per year that we get to work with a healthcare professional. And that’s if we’re lucky! The rest of the time, we do it on our own.’
It’s pretty powerful when you think about it.
Last week at the ADS ADEA meeting, a diabetes educator asked me if I knew what the number 121 referred to. It was my turn to look blank. (The number of pairs of boots in my closet?…)
‘It’s the average number of diabetes-related decisions a person with diabetes makes every day.’
Now, I am not sure where that stat came from (I actually will follow up and ask her) or just how accurate it is.
But regardless of the exact number, it is high – we do make a lot of diabetes decisions each day.
Over the weekend, I started to think about some of the decisions I make.
I thought about it as I was lying in bed in the morning, deciding whether to get up and get my BGL meter and do a check. I thought about it just before I stepped into the shower and examined my cannula after I removed my pump, deciding if I needed to do a line change then or if it could wait until the afternoon. At a local café, I calculated the number of carbs in my breakfast, deciding whether or not to enter the number into my pump and let the wizard do its calculating magic or just enter the units of insulin manually. But before I did that, I needed to decide whether or not to actually give myself any insulin because I was bordering on being low and didn’t want to bolus too soon in case my food was delayed. I thought about going for a walk with the kidlet and the puppy, deciding whether or not I should set a temporary basal rate in case we went to the park, let Sooty off the lead and had to chase her around for 10 minutes before we caught her. I thought about how much insulin I have in the fridge, deciding that I should call the pharmacy and order some so that I don’t run out when we are in Sweden in two weeks. I decided that I really need to schedule an appointment to have my complications screening done and then decided to wait because… because… well there is no good reason. But that is what I decided.
This was all within 70 minutes of waking up.
I am not sure that I would make 121 diabetes-decisions every day, but there would certainly be a lot.
Trying to explain just how diabetes impacts on our every day is difficult, but using numbers to illustrate just how considerably it weasels its way into pretty much every aspect of the day can be pretty effective.