I have about a gazillion diabetes numbers going through my head every day. Don’t you feel like that’s what diabetes is all about — numbers, numbers, numbers?
Sometimes I feel like I’m the Count from Sesame Street®. Always counting, calculating, estimating — my brain is just a big jumble of numbers most of the time. What was her last blood sugar number? How many carbs is she going to eat? What is her basal rate and her carb ratio at this hour of the day? How many units of insulin are still on board? How many servings of this or cups of that? How many free carbs should I give for her exercise? What will her next A1C score be? How many days until I need to change her site again? How many hours has it been since I checked her last?
I’m actually pretty amazed at how much information our brains can process and remember all at once. Most of the time, things go off without a hitch, but once in a while my mind gets fuzzy. It has become a joke at our house that I always change my mind when I count carbs. Kaitlyn will be checking her blood sugar and getting ready to eat a meal, and she’ll ask me how many carbs to dose for. “Thirty carb grams,” I say. She’ll then finish testing her blood sugar and ask me again, “How many carbs?” I tell her, “Actually make that 27.” She’ll start putting the numbers in her pump and ask me one more time, “How many carbs, Mom?” Exasperated, I tell her one more time, “Twenty-seven. No…wait…you’re going to eat that toast too, right? Make it 45. Forty-five carb grams.” Finally she says, “OK, 45. Are you going to change your mind again, Mom?” Ha! I guess she asks me so many times because she’s gotten used to how my brain works…estimating, calculating and re-estimating.
Other times, my brain goes on strike and decides not to pay attention to the numbers at all. One night, I went in Kaitlyn’s room at night to check her blood sugar. I put the test strip in, got a blood drop on the strip and waited for the number. I put the kit down on her dresser and then walked back to my room and got in bed. My husband rolled over and asked, “What’s her number?” “I have no idea,” I said. I checked her blood sugar and then didn’t even look to see what her number was! I had to go back to her room to check the reading. I wish I could blame this on being half asleep, but I’ve done this during the day too! Talk about being on autopilot!
Sometimes I wish there was a magical pill we could just give them once a day so we could forget all this number stuff! Without that, I remain the number queen! It’s also important to remember that really, it’s not just about the numbers. It’s finding a good balance of blood sugar in the body and keeping our precious children happy and healthy. Numbers just help us get there.
Disclaimer: The experiences and suggestions recounted in these articles are not intended as medical advice, and they are not necessarily the “typical” experiences of families with a child who has type 1 diabetes. These situations are unique to the families depicted. Families should check with their healthcare professionals regarding the treatment of type 1 diabetes and the frequency of blood glucose monitoring. Jen and Kim are real moms of kids with type 1 diabetes and have been compensated for their contributions to this site.
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