Forget About Horses

You should know how to check your blood sugar if your CGM fails.

You should know how to use an insulin pen if your pump fails.

You should know how to use syringes if your insulin pen fails.

But you can forget about horses.

Backup plans

I understand backup plans are a necessary part of living with diabetes. Whether you realize it or not, every time you do something, you think about the worst-case scenario with your diabetes and have a handful of solutions ready. It becomes automatic. Almost subconscious even.

If you think about it, it’s a messed up way to live: one part caveman ancestry and one part diabetes survival instincts. I think diabetes bakes this backup planning into our DNA after a while.

Diabetes therapy has evolved. The tools, medicines, and thinking I use today are much different than what I started with. Each new thing (usually) improves my management, lessens the burden, or improves my situation.

Sure, there is usually a cost. Sometimes it is a financial price to pay. Sometimes it is the risk of side effects. Sometimes it is a layer of complexity to be reckoned with when troubleshooting. So far, I have embraced these new ways and let the prior generation of management fade into my memory. And the generation before that fades even more.

What does this have to with horses?

Let’s think about transportation as an analogy. At one point, way back, horses and horse-drawn carriages were the way people got around. But if my car breaks down today, I’m not beating myself up because I don’t know about horses. I call an Uber, take a bus, ask a friend for help, or walk while I figure out how to get my car up and running again.

If my CGM fails, I can check my blood sugar with a fingerstick until I can fix my CGM. If my automated insulin delivery system fails, I can switch to an old, non-automated insulin pump while troubleshooting. If my old insulin pump fails, I can switch to injections for a little while while I work on fixing the situation. If shit hits the fan, I know who to call for help.

Ditch the baggage

I want to free my mind of unnecessary diabetes baggage. I might have a couple of layers of backup plans ready – older generations of diabetes therapy – but only to a degree.

I’m not worried about horses. I can brush off old tools and ways to get through a short time of trouble. And I trust my ability to figure it out (or ask for help) if needed (thank you, Dr. Guzman).

Let your horses go. You can do it too.

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Scott K. Johnson

Patient voice, speaker, writer, advocate, and Senior Community Manager at Blue Circle Health. Living life with diabetes and telling my story. All opinions expressed are my own and do not necessarily represent my employer’s position. Read more…

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