Playing the Blood Glucose Card

It could be, based upon the title of this blog entry, that you know what it is I’m going to talk about. You’re probably right. Well, somewhat.

Last Sunday was a good day, a lazy day. So I decided I might as well get in an hour or so at the gym. After packing up my gym bag and before putting on my coat, I checked my blood glucose. It was lower than 100 mg/dl.

Now, I go by the rule that before a workout I want my blood glucose to be above 150 mg/dl if at all possible, and won’t worry about my glucose being high unless it moves over 220 mg/dl or so. So a blood glucose of around 90 is pretty much a gym no-go.

And yet, there I was, still twenty minutes or so before working out, and I could easily eat a banana, down some sports drink, or pop a straw into a juice box before heading out. (It’s also important, I think, to have your blood glucose over 100 mg/dl before driving.)

I ended up having a banana. Except, rather than just 15 grams of carbohydrates or so, I doubled it, and then added a sports drink once I got to the gym and changed for my workout. Oh, and I checked my blood glucose several times during the workout, and all was well; I had no problems with my blood glucose, no lows or anything like that.

However, here’s where the blood glucose card comes into this week’s entry. I’d say that most of the time, when my blood glucose reading doesn’t come up roses, I still have an initial take the easier, lazier road reaction immediately upon reading those blood glucose numbers. When I checked before going to the gym and my bg was low, the sloth in me said, “Great! You can’t work out. It’s dangerous. Go back and lay on the couch.”

I find I’m often fighting this desire to use a whacked blood glucose as an excuse to do something I may not necessarily want to do. Granted, I’m not talking here about dangerous lows or highs, because I wouldn’t put myself in danger. Yet when my numbers are trending outside of my ideal range, some part of me, the play hooky part, seizes upon an opportunity to bail on responsibilities or obligations. Whether at work, or getting out of a social gathering, or the gym, or housework. Yep. I think, “Here’s a chance to bail.”

I don’t, though. Honestly, I do not play the blood glucose card when there’s no reason to play it.

I wonder if there’s something in my personality that’s always going to want to see how to use my blood glucose numbers to get out of an upcoming situation? It’s only a split-second thought these days — “use your diabetes as an excuse” — but it’s there, it surfaces, and while I don’t have to fight it (not much), I am aware of it.

Perhaps it stems from my grade-school days when any symptom was worth a shot at going to the school nurse to see if I could get sent home?

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Eric Lagergren: Eric Lagergren was born in 1974 but didn’t give much thought to diabetes until March 2007, when he was diagnosed with Type 1. He now gives quite a bit of thought to the condition, and to help him better understand his life as a person with diabetes, he writes about it. Eric is the senior editor for the Testing Division at the University of Michigan’s English Language Institute in Ann Arbor. (Eric Lagergren is not a medical professional.)

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