Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Hole-y Arms

My life is being run by little bells.

After writing down all my numbers to bring to the doctor last week, I realized that I’m not always testing when I should. Wanting to improve my testing habits, and wanting to bring some sort of number chart that actually means something to my new endo in early April, I decided to take stricter action.

So I set up “appointments” on my computer calendar at work, and every hour on the half hour, little bells ring and a box pops up on my screen that says “TEST! Now.” I leave my test kit next to my keyboard and I faithfully poke my arm with a needle.

Before and after work, I’m also trying to test on the half hours. The morning isn’t so different from what I usually do—I test when I wake up around 6:30, then again around 7:30 after I work out and before I eat breakfast, to determine how many carbs I need to last until lunch. By 8:30 I’m already at work and the bells are going off. At night, I get home around 6:45 and I normally test right away to see what’s for dinner. I’ve been bad about testing beyond that, so I’ve been making a conscious effort to test at 7:30, 8:30 and about 10pm (before I got to bed). That’s a total of 16 tests per day. (Wait. Did I do that math right? English major admitting mathematical deficiencies.)

Just to make it clear right here and right now, I do not intend to continue testing 16 times a day for the rest of my diabetic life. I’m thinking this week, one week in March, and one week at the beginning of April right before the endo should give me a plethora of information.

I will say I’m surprised by some of the numbers. I wasn’t often testing in the afternoon after lunch, and I found out I tend to run a little high there, but come down fairly quickly—in time for when I do test toward the end of the workday. I wasn’t catching those highs at all.

I’m also surprised by how much my numbers can shift in an hour. I can drop from 130 to 85 within 60 minutes. It almost makes me think I should test every half-hour, or every 15 minutes to get a better reading. But I’m not that crazy, or that rich (16 test strips a day, plus at least one bum one already means $$$).

I’m currently at 45 units of Lantus at night, with no other insulin. The only way I have to control my sugars between doses is by carb counting. I’m low, I eat, I wait until the number drops; rinse and repeat. If I’m too high, I don’t eat, or I exercise until I can. If I’m hovering, I have to decide how many carb units I can eat without shooting me too high and not dipping me too low. (Again, complicated equations for an English major.)

I’ve been grateful to only have to shoot one insulin once a day, but based on my numbers, I think this chapter of my diabetes life might be coming to a close. I’m running too low at times and too high at others. Too much Lantus for some points in the day, not enough for other moments. I need a better balance, and I’m hoping the detailed numbers will help my new endo see this.

Oh, and have you seen the movie Holes? Where boys are digging hole after hole in the dessert to look for a treasure? And you look at the screen and see thousands of craters across the landscape? That’s what my arms look like. Another reason 16-times a day will not be a permanent testing number.

As always, more to come (still waiting for that HbA1C result)…


Contemporary Troubadour said...

Indeed, testing this frequently is a great pain in the arm (or fingertips or whatever site is the preferred poking place). I'm trying to stick (no pun intended) to no more than six tests a day, but bum strips are kind of killing my average.

I need to set up an alarm on my computer -- I forgot to test TWICE today. What program are you using?

Appreciating your blog :)

Scott K. Johnson said...

Holes is an awesome movie. Me and the fam watch it whenever it comes on.