Friday, April 18, 2014

Life is a Highway

Life is a Highway… What a great driving song!

It is also a great metaphor for living life – and driving – with diabetes.
Despite the temptation, and except when we are driving on the autobahn, most of us try to stick to the speed limit, more or less – and some of us are better at it (or luckier) than others.

When you have Type 1 diabetes, one must take care not to ‘drive low’, by observing personal blood sugar limits. Just as any driver will put on a favourite driving song when hitting the road and putting the pedal to the metal. In doing so, risk factors are assessed – personal safety, risk to others, and if making poor choices, one ultimately can face fines, or worse.

It’s the same with blood sugars. There’s no room for error, because errors can end up with dire consequences – for yourself and for others.

For me, I won’t get behind the wheel if my blood sugar is below 5.0 mmol/90 mg. An additional rule that I observe – if I’m in that mid-5.0 area (100 mg-ish), and my CGM (Continuous Glucose Monitor) is showing a down arrow (telling me “Warning! Falling blood sugars”) when I am heading out the door, I won’t get behind the wheel then either. I’ll sit down, load up with carbs and/or sugar, and wait it out.

Work will have to wait.
Grocery shopping will go on hold.
Life is absolutely suspended until I’m in a drive-safe range.

Once I get behind the wheel, the checking doesn’t stop. In fact this is when I become more alert – to the way I am feeling, and also to be in tune to what my CGM is telling me. Although it is set to alert me at 4.4 mmol/80 mg, when it does alert me, it means that I’ll pull over without delay, and will sit there, scarfing down glucose, until my BG rises above that magical 5.0/90 mark, with an up arrow. I don’t ask questions.
There's no load, I can't hold
Road so rough this I know
I'll be there when the light comes in
Tell 'em we're survivors
From "Life is a Highway" by Tom Cochrane
So driving with Type 1 diabetes. No excuses. No “I’m almost there”. And that's that.

1 comment:

  1. Great post on a very important topic! Just the other day I found myself sitting in my car after work, desperately watching the clock and waiting quite impatiently for my blood sugars to come up from a surprise low of 2.7. I shudder to think of what could have happened had I not checked! This is where having a CGM would be so useful, but alas according to my insurance company, the technology is not considered medically necessary. Maybe I'll direct them here!