Your Glucose Meter Is Your Friend – The Fuel Gauge Analogy

It is easy to get exasperated at our glucose meters. They can be a pain to use, both literally and figuratively. It is easy to forget that, while uncomfortable, it can be so much worse. Thirty years ago, you would have to collect your urine and then perform chemical procedures on it; fifteen years ago, you would have to urinate on demand on the glucose strips. Not to mention that glucose meters are also easier on the pocket book. Even so, glucose meters have plenty of downsides.

Having to constantly prick your finger, the emotional roller coaster that comes from seeing unexpected results, having people stare at you, having to constantly take measurements of our blood glucose is hard. It can be easy to start resenting our blood glucose meter, especially when we fail the “test.” That is why it is important to remember that this is not a “test” in the traditional sense of the word. Neither a medical examination nor the kind of test you would have to take in school. Rather, it is more like the fuel gauge on your car.

You do not get mad at the fuel gauge and you definitely do not start to resent it every time you need gas. More importantly, you do not feel like a failure or simply sad because your gas tank is low. You simply stop for gas and fill it up. You do not make a judgment on the car, thinking of it as a good car, or a bad car; you simply know that the fuel is low and that it is time to fill the tank. With this mindset, you can improve your relationship with your blood glucose meter. A blood glucose meter is just a small device that measures the sugars, our body’s fuel, in our blood, just like how all gauges tell you the levels of gas in the fuel tank. If you shift your perception a little bit, it can take away a lot of the burnout and emotional problems that diabetics often get after having to constantly use the blood sugar meter.

Something as simple as changing a word can shift your whole perspective. Stop thinking of it as “testing” your blood sugar and replace that word with “checking” your blood sugar, just as you “check” the gas in your car instead of “testing” the gas in your car. The word “test” implies that something will be judged or graded; “check” simply implies that we are looking at something in particular to know what course of action is necessary.

Having good parameters and contingency plans is also a good idea and will help you to change the self-judging mindset. Just as with your car, if it is low or empty you go fill it up and if it is full you relax. Rather than obsessing with how well or bad you did, or whether you failed or not, talk with your health care provider about what you should do in different cases based on the reading on your blood glucose meter. Do not judge yourself, this is not a test that you can fail; you can do it!

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