“That’s a bit elevated isn’t it?”

I’ve been playing basketball at the YMCA for a little less than three years now.  It’s great fun, even better exercise, and I’ve gotten to know many of the guys that come down to play ball.

There is one guy there who does some work in type 1 diabetes research.  I’m not very clear on the details, but this guy is brilliantly smart and his work has something to do with islet cell transplants.  He’s the kind of guy that you enjoy playing with or against.  Good sportsmanship and a hard work ethic.

I feel very good having someone in the gym who knows more than the average person about diabetes.  I trust that he can and will help me if I get into trouble with a low blood sugar that I can’t treat myself.

In between games today (yes, my foot is mostly better) we had a chance to talk for a few minutes.  He asked me what my blood sugar was and I showed him my log (i.e. a yellow “post-it” note).  I was very happy with a nice steady 155 mg/dl.  Over an hour earlier I was at 145 mg/dl.  With intense full court basketball in between those tests I felt it was a day I could mark in the “Victory” column!

Image of Xzibit "Seriously" memeThis guy looks at it, sees my 155 mg/dl, and says “that’s a bit elevated isn’t it?”.

Can you imagine the look in my face?  A slight shock and confusion, mixed with annoyance and uncertainty.

I guess I took it for granted that this guy would know a little more about how diabetes works in real life. Now my initial impressions were shaken a little bit.

Any other type 1 diabetic on the planet would have given me a high five for keeping my shit so steady during such intense exercise!

As I start to recover, remembering that this guys experience with diabetes comes from a laboratory and not from real life, I try my best to explain that during exercise like basketball I am perfectly fine having a little “fudge room” with my blood sugar, otherwise the exercise would make me go too low.

I fully understand (and agree) that my performance, both physical and mental, is better with a perfect 85 mg/dl blood sugar.  But my experience has taught me that no matter how perfectly I balance all of the ingredients (planned breakfast, basal rate adjustments, sport shake beforehand, strategic sips of Gatorade during exercise, etc.) the recipe does not always yield a stable blood sugar that is so close to the low range, especially during exercise (which is impossible to quantify).

Many days I play basketball I am happy to walk off the court on my own two feet without experiencing any play stopping lows.  I’d rather be high than too low.

Book diabetes and real life diabetes are so different aren’t they?  I hope I was at least able to give him a glimpse into how diabetes affects my life.

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11 thoughts on ““That’s a bit elevated isn’t it?”

  1. Wow, for someone so smart, that comment was not.
    I watch a lot of other blogs for people that have Type 1 that do triathlons, marathons, and more. Blood sugar close to 100 is a recipe for disaster.
    A blood sugar of 150 for someone with Type 1 is excellent even while sitting in a chair eating potato chips watching TV. Give me a break, and he should know this. My Lord he should know this…

  2. Amen, Scott!!
    I meet so many brilliant people who supposedly know all about diabetes, yet they have NO CLUE about what it’s actually like to live with this thing.
    Congrats on a perfect 155 after exercise. I wish I had my shit that together.
    🙂 AT

  3. Hi Scott!
    That sounds like a tricky situation. I hate the fact that when someone asks us our blood sugar it is a single number. So what it is 155? What if that is up from a low or down from a high. I don’t say – I just say, it is a little low, or a little high, or a number I am happy with. Don’t define me by a single number.

  4. Well, this guy may be brilliant from an academic standpoint, but he needs to be welcomed to the real world.
    I hate those endless times when we are pleased with results and pattern control and then somebody informs us that it’s “not quite good enough”. Like when I had a month’s logging of the best numbers ever and the internist took out his red pan and circled a few that were out of range. I nearly strangled him (and never saw him again).
    Scott, you know you did well – bask and savor. I give you a gigantic high five!
    Have a good weekend. Happy Father’s Day!!!

  5. I hear ya. Non diabetics (especially doctors) act like keeping our bg numbers is a mathematical formula. I have lived with diabetes for more than ten years and I know many factors affect my bg readings. Such as: stress, hormones, exercise, illness, even the weather.I was fortunate to have a doctor, some years ago, who was not only a diabetic specialist but was also a diabetic himself. Talk about understanding! Alas he moved to another state 🙁 and I’m stuck with ‘normal’ doctors.
    J.D.

  6. The textbook vs. real life is soooo true. Hubby just commented today (when J.J. went from 280 to 35 in an hour while sitting there looking at books) how in the hospital they made it sound all textbooky….like if we do this dose then the result will always be such-n-such.

  7. ACK how annoying no matter how well intentioned. I have a friend who is militant about her diabetes and always seems to “get it right” all the time and you know what? It is all she does, she won’t exercise if she thinks it will raise her number or lower it too much, she always eats exactly the same thing etc. BORING is what I say. We have diabetes but we must remember that we still need to LIVE our lives….Good for you for playing and good for you for knowing what you need for YOU!

  8. Scotty J –
    You should be proud of your full court press Blood Sugar!
    Diabetes Research Dude needs to get a clue about the realities of a diabetics real world.
    I think you are, and can continue to be, an excellent teacher for DRD, and show him how it is for a diabetic in real time as opposed to a perfect text book example.
    You sir, ROCK.
    k2

  9. How true! I met with my endoc today and he told me to make sure that my blood sugar 120 to 130 before I run. Helllloooo, that is a recipe for disaster. I feel nervous starting at 150 and 180 is okeedokey. That’s what makes this disease feel so lonely at times, even the “experts” don’t really understand.