Accountants crunch numbers. Mathematicians crunch numbers. Their lives revolve around numbers – it’s what they do. When we think of people whose lives revolve around numbers, we think of professionals. How often do we associate diabetics to number crunchers?
From the moment that a diabetic wakes up to the moment they lay their head down to sleep, numbers are constantly running through their mind. For myself, at least, it often consumes me. When I wake up, I check my blood sugar – which that process in itself is similar to making a high stakes bet at a black jack table. I prick my finger, squeeze the blood onto the test strip, and watch my meter count down from 3 to reveal what my blood sugar number is. Instead of 21, I wish for 100. “100, 100, 100” is what I repeat in my head as the countdown begins. Anything above 150 or below 70 means I don’t have control. I immediately feel disappointment rush through my body as a bright 200 flashes on the screen.
Okay. Now I have to correct my high blood sugar. I need to shoot up (my slang for administering a shot of insulin) 1 unit of insulin per 50 units above 150. The math isn’t so difficult, unless the circumstances change. On days when I exercise, my insulin to carb ratio is 1 unit per 15 grams of carbs, but days when I skip out on exercise, my ratio is 1 unit of insulin per every 10 grams of carbs, with a correctional ratio of 1 unit per 50 – okay, you get the point. Every moment that I reach for a bite of carbs, my mind has been reprogrammed to calculate numbers and scenarios – how much insulin or how many minutes of exercise I’ll need to bring my levels back to normal.
It doesn’t stop there. It doesn’t stop before and after each meal. Or when I wake up, or when I go to sleep. If I’m not calculating the number of carbs in my meals, or how much insulin is needed to correct my high blood sugar, I’m thinking about my HA1C percentage (used to determine average blood glucose over a three month period). I’m thinking about how many minutes I can exercise without dropping my levels dangerously low. I’m thinking about how low my blood sugar can get before I pass out. I’m thinking about what number symbolizes death.
It isn’t always easy and it definitely isn’t always fun. For a person who failed math 3 times before actually graduating college, numbers were a foreign language. Trust me when I say it’s possible to learn to appreciate numbers. The truth is – numbers save my life every day. It’s that 1:15 ratio that allows me to eat what I want without side effects. It is the precision of numbers that keeps my life in control, even when I cannot.
1/5/17 1:41 AM