April 26, 2011

What's In a Number?

I just read a comment from a parent who was disappointed by an A1C, in a kids full into puberty. It had gone up a half a point to the lower 8s. The parent was upset. Here is my reply:

This is the problem with numbers. They miss the point.

If there had been no number, you may well have been pleased to hear the doctor say that you, both of you, are coping with the swings of puberty as well as your endo could expect. That you are adapting and making changes appropriately. You could take pride in hearing nobody could have managed the diabetes better. You could have felt great about an active life style, that while it adds to the challenges of blood sugar management now, is a great life style habit that most Amarican's lack and will contribute greatly to years of healthy living.

I say it all the time, our goal as parents is to raise kids to be creative, actively purse their dreams as moral, useful contributors to their communities bringing diabetes along for the ride. None of that is about any one BG or A1C number. It is all about long term focus most of which has little to do with diabetes per se. All the diabetes management is a means to an end and that end isn't numbers it is quality of life that can't be expressed in a number.

Numbers aren't the point.

Raising kids to become great young adults is the goal.

Numbers, at best, are a means along the path to that end.

Be proud of every step to the real goal. You're doing fine.


  1. Great thoughts Bennet and I wholeheartedly agree. Raising kids who take the D along for the ride is exactly what I am looking for when raising G. Live our lives, do the best we can and keep ourselves healthy so we can make one more trip around the sun.

  2. Perfect summation: "All the diabetes management is a means to an end and that end isn't numbers it is quality of life that can't be expressed in a number." You should trademark that.

  3. Sure thing Mark. That and the royalties on using the term Your Diabetes May Vary and I retire... flat broke but happy?

  4. Great post, Bennet. Couldn't have said it better myself. Highlights the whole debacle with using terms like "bad" and "good" when describing these numbers... we just set ourselves up for failure. Anyhow, thanks for sharing this sentiment!

  5. I totally agree.. unless it is my kid, then I freak out in silence and tell him it is just a number ;)

  6. Just lovely. The numbers game is such a dreaded element of D care. It's too easy to get caught up in. This is an important and valuable perspective. Thanks for brining it.

  7. Thanks Lorraine.

    In addition to YDMV one of my favorite 4 letter bits is LYMI
    Love Ya Mean It.