Monday, 13 May 2013

D-Blog Week: 16 Years of Effort in 20 Minutes

Firstly, I just need to express that I am super duper excited for this year's Diabetes Blog Week!  I participated in D-Blog Week 2011 just a couple of weeks after writing my first post for Diabetic Dais and, not having really met or spoken to many people with diabetes before, it was amazingly eye opening.  Last year's D-Blog Week came at a time when I needed it, as I had recently been told that I had developed diabetic retinopathy and was struggling to focus on my diabetes care.  However, connecting with others through Diabetes Blog Week gave me the much-needed support and boost to motivate myself to get on top of my management.  So, in my third year of taking part in Diabetes Blog Week, it's fair to say that I'm really looking forward to what the next 7 days have in store for me and the rest of the Diabetic Online Community!

Over the 16 and a half years that I have had diabetes, there have been times when it's felt as though my diabetes care team don't fully understand what being a type 1 diabetic is actually like. The purpose of today's prompt is to express what we wish our doctors and nurses knew about what it is like to live with diabetes on a daily basis, but also admit the aspects of our D-Lives that we're glad they can't see.

Hey doc!  Just a note to say I guess it's easy to make presumptions about how well someone attempts to take care of their diabetes based on the results of a few tests that appear on your computer screen, after they've had their blood drained from them and urine bottled.  I also realise that when you compare my HbA1c percentage to what a medical textbook says a perfect HbA1c is, it's easy to assume that I'm doing something wrong.

What you don't see is that before I make my journey to see you, I've already spent a good few hours dreading the 20 minutes I spend with you.  I know what your computer screen shows you because I feel the results of those blood sugars and I know what you're going to say about my lumpy injection sites because that's my body we're talking about, remember?  However what your screen doesn't show you is my effort and how much I try.

Effort can't be shown in a number.  I can't bring you a logbook of how much I've tried, nor can you put my blood in a tube and send it off to the lab for me to be tested for it.  I understand that all the solid information you have is on your database, but I wish you could see how much I do to attempt to make my numbers on your screen match the 'acceptable' ones in your textbook.

I'm the first one to admit that my diabetes management isn't always the best that it could be; sometimes I forget to check the amount of carbs on a pack of tortellini so I guess how much insulin to take and I sometimes I forget to change my needle until it feels blunt against my skin.  Some days I'm so annoyed with my unexplained highs that I feel like packing it all in and not bothering to carbohydrate count, because what difference does it make anyway when my blood sugars won't come below 13mmol!?  Some days I'm annoyed with myself that I didn't check a blood sugar before bed, or that I ate that extra biscuit and didn't bolus for it, and some days I wish I could go back in time and take some of your advice earlier.

I don't expect to able to explain to you exactly what it's like to live with diabetes every day of my life in the 20 minutes we spend together every year, but sometimes I just wish you'd acknowledge that I do and maybe it's not as easy at it seems.


  1. Well done. Would be nice to think that a doctor actually reads this and gets more understanding from a patient's point of view. Interesting article as usual. Keep up the good work I'm sure you are an inspiration to many diabetics out there xx

  2. Amen!

    Wouldn't it be something if they COULD test our blood for effort?! Ha!