How Having Diabetes Is LIke Reading  A Gas Gauge[twitter]The last time I got a new car, I ran it right out of gas the first week I brought it home from the dealership. I didn’t really understand how the gas gauge worked and paid the price right away. A light went on telling me I was running out of gas, but the manual gauge didn’t dip below the line. I didn’t really understand what it meant, the car was new and .. I ran out of gas.

Later I discovered the car had a “km until you run out of gas” feature on the dash, but even that just went to “–” at a random point meaning you could run out of gas at any random point in the very near future.

 For me, that was 4 blocks from home.

 Since then, I haven’t learned my lessons on reading gas gauges, while I haven’t had any flat out stalls, I’ve had more than a few moments of sweat.

This week I almost did it again driving my wife’s SUV. She just has an old school gauge and it was near the E, the light was on, and I was doing mental math as to whether or not I could put it in neutral and cruise from the top of the mountain to the gas station in town below.

 When things aren’t accurate, stress levels rise. For me, my problem is just trying to read a gas gauge. For diabetics, it’s trying to accurately think like a pancreas.

One of the things I’m trying to do with my fund raising for Team Diabetes Canada is try to spread the message about what it’s like to be a diabetic. If you don’t have diabetes, it’s hard to understand, but if you’ve ever run out of gas because you couldn’t read a gas gauge properly, or took a chance and though you could “make it,” then you have an idea.

Instead of sitting on the side of a road looking for a hitch, or walking a few kilometres with a jerry can, or calling friends / colleague / family for help, you experience diabetic complications. This could be anything from feeling woozy to a full on coma.

My pal Kerri at Six Until Me has written numerous times about what happens when her diabetes doesn’t respond to management like it should. There was the time she got emotional in a Panera Breads, and just last week she had to pull over while driving her daughter and friend back from day camp when she started going low, just to be safe.

I immediately started calculating when I’d pass the next place to stop.  I also assessed my symptoms (none) and instinctively reached over to disconnect my insulin pump from my hip.  I thought the two little kids in my car.  I thought about where I could pull over.  I worried about what was safer: driving for another minute or pulling over and not having any food in the car.  And I hoped that worrying so intensely would make me feel stressed and hopefully jack my blood sugar up a little more.

Kerri is a strong patient advocate for diabetes, and manages her illness like a mother (well, because she is a mother). Her book, Balancing Diabetes, really opened my eyes as to what being diabetic is like and the emotional toll having this disease can take. The need to manage it as exactly as possible is your best course of action to taking control of your illness.

In other words, accuracy matters. You want to not run out of gas? Make sure you’ve got an accurate gas gauge. You want to make sure your blood sugars are on point? Make sure you’re using an accurate meter.

Bayer’s CONTOUR® NEXT Meter promises “accuracy you can trust.”

Industry standards have an acceptable error range of ±15% to lab results. Bayer’s CONTOUR® NEXT meter gives you an even more accurate reading with ±10% to lab results. Plus, with Second-Chance® Sampling you can apply more blood to the same strip if you didn’t get enough the first time, helping to prevent wasted test strips.

Accurate readings can help you make the right decisions when they matter most. Can you coast to the next gas station or do you need to pull over and deal with it now? Accuracy matters.

Max Domi of the Phoenix Coyotes is a Type 1 diabetic about to make his debut in the NHL. He’s a great inspiration for all diabetics to prove that while diabetes can be a PITA, it won’t stop you from hitting your goals.

Accuracy matters on the ice and off, for Max Domi.

Get your FREE* Bayer CONTOUR® NEXT meter today. (* With purchase of 100 CONTOUR® NEXT Test Strips)

This branded content appears in exchange for a donation to Team Diabetes Canada.

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