Did you forget to check your blood sugar before eating? Even the best diabetes control can go haywire with a memory slip. And sometimes, let’s face it, we really don’t forget. We just wanted to get to the food without the delay of a test. It’s easy to just eat and then say, “Whoops! I forgot to test!”
We could try to catch up on testing and tweaking later, but this just doesn’t work. You exceed your average for the day because you don’t know what your blood sugar level was or how much insulin, if any, was needed.
If you forget to test your blood sugar and suddenly remember after a bite or two, quickly test immediately. Your reading will likely be even higher than if you had tested when you were supposed to, but at least you will have a better idea of your blood sugar level before meals than a blind guess. If you use a rapid-acting insulin, you may want to go ahead and take a little if the reading is really good.
If it’s been more than a few bites or a few minutes, then it’s probably pointless to try it now. Wait one hour after the meal to test and again two hours after the meal. You can make reasonable adjustments to the two-hour mark, but again, your average for the day will be more guesswork than proven accuracy.
Be sure to note in your log book that tests were missed or delayed at the appropriate time. If you use a journal system to help you control and manage your diabetes, be sure to include it there, too. By recording it, you emphasize it as an error in your mind. This will help motivate you to try before you eat in the future, especially if it was just saying to hell with testing, give me the food.
Of course, it is best not to forget in the first place. Here are a couple of ideas to help you remember to test before eating. First, always have a test kit available. It seems obvious, but if your team is at home while you go out to dinner, then it can’t measure your blood sugar very well.
Therefore, I recommend having several test kits. Keep one or two at home, near the kitchen or dining room and by your bed, one in your purse if you carry one, maybe one in your lunchbox or locker at work or school. Don’t keep one in your car though, as temperatures will often be too hot or too low to get accurate readings. Insulin is also very sensitive to temperature.
Try to eat around the same time every day. Not only is this a good idea for blood sugar control, but having a regular routine creates and reinforces habits, like trying first and then eating.
If you have a smart watch with timers and alarms, you can set reminder alarms for tests before meals and two hours after meals.
Use brightly colored “sticky notes” to remind you. Post them on your refrigerator and pantry door, on cabinets, or anywhere you see it when you start preparing a meal or go for something to eat. A bright note of neon purple or hot pink with a simple: HAVE YOU TRIED? it’s a quick and easy reminder.
If you wear reading glasses, you can put the same message on your glasses case. When you eat out, you will be reminded when you take out your glasses to read the menu.
Think about the circumstances in which you forgot to take the test. If you had to do it again, how would you have remembered it? Put all of these things together and make them part of your diabetes management, so it continues to run smoothly.