Did you forget to test your blood-sugar before eating? Even the best diabetes management can go ka-blooey with a slip in memory. And sometimes, let’s admit it, we didn’t really forget. We just wanted to get to the food without the delay of a test. It is easy to just eat, and then say, “Oops! I forgot to test!”.
We might try to catch up with testing and adjustments later, but this simply doesn’t work. It blows your average for the day because you don’t know what your blood sugar level was or how much insulin was needed, if any.
If you forget to test your blood-sugar and you suddenly remember after one or two bites, then go ahead and quickly test right away. The reading will still likely be higher than if you had tested when you were supposed to, but at least you’ll have a better idea of your pre-meal blood-sugar level than a blind guess. If you use a fast-acting insulin you might want to go ahead and take some if the reading is really up there.
If it’s been more than a few bites or a few minutes, then it’s probably useless to test now. Wait an hour after the meal to test, and again at two hours after the meal. You can make reasonable adjustments at the two hour mark, but again, your average for the day will be more guesswork than tested accuracy.
Be sure to mark in your record book that you missed or delayed testing at the right time. If you use a diary system to help you control and manage your diabetes, be sure to include it there as well. By making a record of it, you emphasize it as an error in your mind. This will help motivate you to test before eating in the future, especially if it was a case of just saying the heck with testing, gimme the food.
Of course the best thing is not to forget in the first place. Here are a couple of ideas to help you to remember to test before eating. First, always have a test kit available. It seems obvious, but if your kit is at home while you are dining out, then you can’t very well test your blood sugar.
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, perhaps one in your lunch box or locker at work or school. Don’t keep one in your car, however, as the temperatures will often be too hot or cold for accurate readings. Insulin is also very sensitive to temperature.
Try to eat your meals close to the same time every day. Not only is this a good idea for blood sugar control, having a regular routine creates and reinforces habits — such as test first, then eat.
If you have a fancy watch with timers and alarms you can set reminder alarms for pre-meal testing as well as for two hours after meals.
Use bright colored “sticky notes” to remind you. Post them on the refrigerator and pantry door, cabinets, or wherever you will see it when you start to fix a meal or go for something to eat. A bright neon-purple or hot-pink note with a simple: DID YOU TEST? is a quick and simple reminder.
If you wear glasses to read you can put the same message on your glasses case. When you go out to eat, you will be reminded when you pull out your glasses to read the menu.
Think about the circumstances where you forgot to test. If you had it to do over again, how might you have remembered? Put all of these things together and make it a part of your diabetes management, to keep it working smoothly.