One Great Thing: A Blood Sugar Check Before My Feet Hit the Floor

Here’s today’s Diabetes Blog Week prompt:

Living with diabetes (or caring for someone who lives with it) sure does take a lot of work, and it’s easy to be hard on ourselves if we aren’t “perfect”. But today it’s time to give ourselves some much deserved credit. Tell us about just one diabetes thing you (or your loved one) does spectacularly! Fasting blood sugar checks, oral meds sorted and ready, something always on hand to treat a low, or anything that you do for diabetes. Nothing is too big or too small to celebrate doing well!

It only takes a second (or 5, to be more precise), but the one thing I’m good at has made a huge difference in the way I take care of myself and my friend Diabetes.

I am so damned good at checking my blood sugar first thing in the morning.

I know there were great spans of time when I was not so dedicated to the morning check, and looking back, it’s hard for me to imagine how I functioned. These days, I don’t check my blood sugar first thing in the morning because it’s something I should do, I check it because it’s a compulsion, a habit that I can’t stop.

“Your blood sugar is two-seventy-what?!”

First-thing blood sugar checks are a little easier to take than others, I think, because they tend to come with a lot less baggage than checks at other times of the day. After all, all you’ve been doing is sleeping, right? If I wake up to a high number, it’s almost certainly not because I miscalculated the carbohydrates in the pizza I had a few hours before, or because I’ve forgotten to bolus for a midnight snack (nocturnal hypoglycemia notwithstanding). More so than at any other time of day, I’m able to look at my morning number and think, “Well, there it is.” (I should admit that it doesn’t hurt that my morning blood sugars are usually pretty nice to look at. But it took a lot of tweaking to get there.)

Checking my blood sugar before the day begins is almost like checking my horoscope for the day: neither are sure-fire predictors of whether or not my day will be frustrating or wonderful, but they offer little glimpses — tiny reassurances.

Let me add, too, that since I’ve been pregnant, my wonderful husband has perfected the art of waking my semi-comatose ass out of whatever super-deep sleep stage I’m in at 2:00 a.m. for a blood sugar check. And not only does he make sure I’m coherent enough to insert the strip into the meter right-side-in, he’s also kind enough to illuminate the process with the flashlight function on his iPhone. Those numbers are rarely perfect, but they’re informative, and I like being able to correct in the middle of the night without relying on my CGM.

So, yes: it only took 20+ years, but I finally mastered one of the basic tenets of diabetes care. Now, on to that lancet-changing thing.