Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Logging, schmlogging

Logging. I've hated it my entire diabetic existence.

The whitefire hate started with those loathsome checkbook-sized BG logs in which I would madly scribble during the 45-minute drive to my endo or CDE - scrolling backward through my meter of course, and crumpling the paper and wiping my shoes on it to make it look "worn" and therefore used.

It's come a long way in the past 16 years - lots of automation, with graphs, charts, and spreadsheets, oh my! - but it's (supposedly) no less an important part of D management. And I would sooner eat dog poop than do it.

I hate it. With every fiber of my being, I hate it. I hate writing down these intimate things for near-strangers to examine. I hate getting feedback on my life from people who don't know me, don't know my disease, and certainly couldn't follow the rules they put out for me time and time again. I hate seeing my life - from a stressful meeting or beloved friend's birthday outing to my love of all things peanut butter or a long walk in the park - reduced to numbers and food entries on a page.

Endos and CDEs so often see the output of my life and its attendant numbers rather than what drives it - they wear blinders that conceal my living and show only the ways in which, health- and diabetes-wise, I'm doing it poorly. And so, as usual, my response is to lash out at the number-recording itself: the logging.

The bonuses of being so digital is that I can download my Dex and pump with very little effort. I can see the graphs and charts, the wonderful daily logs of bolusing and blood sugars, and I can pretend it's not a log. That these are clearly computer-generated numbers and, as such, have very little to do with me. Sending it along does not become a source of guilt because of this wonderful disconnect: "Sure, CDE, here ya go! Enjoy fiddling with my paperwork! La la la...." Analyzing data makes me feel like less of a failure - it becomes a math problem, a riddle to solve. A trend is just that - a trend to fix! - not me missing an opportunity to tweak a basal level.

But the food logging can't be automated. You can see my boluses and carb counts, but that's meaningless data without knowing what the food was. If I have an MFE for dinner, how would anyone know its effect if no one knows it was an MFE? Like the zen koan: If a nacho gets eaten in the forest but no one's around to identify the nacho, does the nacho cause a spike?

I understand the value of a food log. I still hate it. Passionately. So I've been tricking and treating myself into the undertaking:
  • I have gaps in all the entries of my little a-hole notebook (I am very aggressive toward this poor little notebook), but am ignoring them to reward myself for making any entries at all.
  • I'm using the little a-hole because I've found physically writing it down with a nice pen makes it more likely to happen than entering it electronically into a spreadsheet.
  • For now, I'm giving myself weekends off until my weekdays show no gaps.
  • I haven't been sending them to my CDE yet. I need to get my loathing under control, my entries more consistent, before I do that - baaaaby steps to thorough logging!
Time will tell if these are all the machinations I need. I have a feeling stickers and cappuccino rewards might be incorporated in the near future....


  1. You so need a cappuccino reward for all your hard work!!!!

    When I first started pumping (2 years ago TOMORROW), I became the best logger in the world. Logged everything. It helped a lot too. I would proudly whip out my log and show it to anyone. (Oh my, that doesn't sound right anywhere but on a diabetes blog!!) But somewhere along the way, the will to log has left me. Now I just upload my pump / CGM info and that's all my endo gets. He hasn't complained yet - so I'm sticking with it!!

    Good luck on your logging adventures. What struck me most in your picture is what beautiful handwriting you have!!

  2. Hello, fellow BG Log Hater. Glad to find another and co-miserate together. Someday, I'm confident that mental telepathy will be a tool offered between Endo and Patient and that this will solve many of the grueling tasks we now face. Logging will be obsolete. And so, we wait for that future...Good luck in the meantime!