Have you ever noticed how we survive on routine? It came to me this morning when I got up at 4 AM to check my Blood Sugar. The blood Sugar thing was just something I did; I really got up for a glass of ice tea. Why would I do that? I get up most mornings at about that time and the first thing I do is get Ice Tea. This morning I was exhausted and got up for that customary glass of Ice Tea. A strange thing to rise for but still something I got up to do.
Then I woke up for good at 5 AM the first thing I did was check my blood sugar. As I did, some words echoed in my head from my diabetic training 39 years ago. Some readers will remember the old clinitest. During my training the instructor said “you should strive to start each day at no more than 1+”. Again most of you have no idea what 1+ means,and when we look at modern research we probably have no idea what our blood sugar actually was. I can remember trying to hit 1+ or below each day. Today I take my blood sugar and try to hit my blood sugar target. I do this every single day the same way, at roughly the same time by an hour or two and I judge it the same way, did I hit 1+ or less. It is imprinted in my brain.
I then sat down to the same breakfast I have most every day, followed by reading the paper just like yesterday. I will likely have soup for lunch and I might even try a bicycle ride if my joints will allow it, just like I do almost every day. Today I need to do a bit of washing, something I do about twice a week and pay the bills something I do every two weeks.
So why is routine so important to a diabetic? Well for one it allows us to more easily plan our insulin usage. I know pretty closely how much insulin to use for that breakfast I eat most days. I know if I ride my bike and I stop at CVS after 8 AM I can pick up any scripts I may have from the same people I got them last week and the week before. If I do not get my prescriptions filled, I run out, usually when I cannot get a quick refill.
In fact I am so dependent on routine, that if I break it, my diabetic life goes berserk. My blood sugars go high, I use to much or too little insulin, I miss my blood sugar targets and I start to focus more on diabetes management and less on what I am doing at the moment.
Eleanor Roosevelt implored us to remember that,
“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”
Which tells me to look forward, reject routine overcome the mundane. Yet I find rejecting the mundane is difficult. Instead I seem to follow the words of
“Forever is composed of nows.”
I like Eleanor Roosevelt words much better than Emily Dickinson’s words. Yet for the sake of diabetes I am afraid Ms. Dickinson is my guiding light.