Lacking Context

Out of context, this number looks great. But it doesn’t tell the story of the 8 hours above 200 yesterday. Or the 51 at 4am. Yes, numbers never lie. But these numbers will never tell the whole truth either.

I shared that nugget of wisdom this morning. It’s important for the outsiders, the onlookers, the casual observers, for anyone paying attention to all of the chatter about our lives with diabetes to understand that these blood glucose checks lack the context to properly illustrate what living with this disease entails.

Of the thousands of decisions I make each day, both conscious and unconscious, and the constantly evolving set of external factors that influence a given blood glucose check, a single number doesn’t come close to telling the story of what happened, what is happening, or what will happen.

And yet, I still find joy in seeing numbers in range.

This is the cruelty of diabetes. I know how this game is played. I know what I can control and what I can’t control. I know what tools I have at my disposal to maximize the effectiveness of the previously mentioned things I can control. Yet I know that there will be moments when none of that knowledge and experience makes a difference. And despite the consistent inconsistency that is diabetes management, I will still celebrate a number that is visually and diabetically appealing to me.

The constant wavering of the past few sentences would be an excellent metaphor for life with diabetes. There’s constant confusion, and indecision, and contradiction – but a nice, round 100 makes it all worth it.

2 thoughts on “Lacking Context

  1. I love how Jeff’s comment makes me think deeply almost as much as your post does.

    And it’s always incredible to me how context can change the tone of a number. For example, an 80 when I’ve just started exercising versus an 80 after spending the preceding 20 minutes at 40.



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