8. Monitoring can be inconvenient. Monitoring equipment is small and growing ever smaller, but if you need to check your blood glucose when you are out of the house (say, before dining out), you still have to remember to bring the darned stuff with you! Planning is sometimes necessary, and forgetfulness is a major reason for not checking blood glucose at the appropriate times. Monitoring can take time (though not that much) and may require you to interrupt what you are doing. If you are out in public and want to check your blood glucose in private, you have to find a place to do so. If you believe that monitoring is a big nuisance in a life that is already trying enough, then it may be difficult to convince yourself to check your blood glucose regularly.
9. Monitoring can be expensive. If you don’t have good insurance, you probably know that test strips can be costly, especially for those who check many times each day. I remember a frustrated endocrinologist referring one of his patients to me because she was “noncompliant” with his request that she monitor her blood glucose regularly. As I soon discovered, Sarah didn’t need to see a behavioral specialist; she simply couldn’t afford to check as frequently as necessary. When financial constraints are combined with one or more of the hassles described above — for example, you feel that monitoring is essentially pointless AND it’s costing you several dollars a day to perform an exercise in futility — it is even less likely that you will be willing to continue with frequent checking.
10. Life is too busy and demanding to take the time for regular monitoring. The idea of monitoring blood glucose regularly seems simple and reasonable at first — until you realize you must juggle it with the many other demanding tasks and stresses of daily life. Check before dinner each evening? An excellent idea! But if you’re the one responsible for making dinner while also keeping your young children amused, everyone wants to eat as soon as possible, and you’re very hungry RIGHT NOW, then maybe — even though your intentions are good — you just won’t find the time to check this evening. In other words, life gets in the way.
Wait, don’t stop now!
Now that you’ve read through this list, you may be even more discouraged than when you started. Even those of you who have always monitored regularly may now be ready to stop doing so. This is certainly not my intent! In fact, the good news is that most of the barriers to blood glucose monitoring can be overcome. You may never decide that regular monitoring is great fun, but neither does it have to be such a burden. So what to do?
First, let’s be clear about the powerful benefits of regular monitoring. To date, the research results are overwhelming: Checking your blood glucose regularly can help you manage your diabetes more effectively. This can help you to feel physically better almost immediately and well into the future. Regular monitoring can also give you a wider range of options regarding food, medication, and activity. You can experience a much greater sense of personal freedom.
So monitoring is well worth doing, if only the barriers that lie in the way can be removed. Here are some strategies for overcoming the barriers and getting into the habit of regular blood glucose monitoring:
Have a serious talk with your blood glucose meter. If you avoid checking because your meter makes you feel bad about yourself, you’d rather not be reminded that you have diabetes, or your meter seems to control your life, you may have developed an unfriendly relationship with your meter, a relationship that is working against you. Now this may seem silly to you — after all, it’s just a little machine — and you may not have even considered that a relationship of any sort exists, but clearly it does.