A few posts have already mentioned that I analyse my results in some detail. I’m not sure it’s a very common thing to do, but as I was doing a little update in preparation of a meeting, I thought I’d share my system. I will be the first to admit it is slightly Obsessive-Compulsive, maybe borderline Control-Freak, but it works for me, and while I can keep up the spirit to continue with it, I think I will. Do you do the same? Or am I just weird? (that’s a rhetorical question ) Feel free to share in the comments section!
My analysis system has several components. First, I keep a hard copy book in which I record all the main events: meals, hypos, exercise and bed. The odd pre-drive reading doesn’t get included. I have columns for date, time, category, blood glucose, ketones, insulin, carbohydrate and other notes. At the front, I keep contact details for all the health professionals, a record of HbA1Cs & weight, and BG meter serial numbers. In the back of the book, there’s a diary of all the meetings I’ve had with those HCPs and what I asked/they answered. I have the memory of a gold fish, so writing it all down definitely helps!
The next step is getting the information from the book in electronic format. I have an app for that! Over lunch at work or during an evening watching no-thinking-required tv (I may be a closet Made In Chelsea viewer!), I put in all the information, and every once in a while, I email through a comma-separated file from the phone app. It’s generally when something needs a little investigating that I update things, or before appointments!
On my PC, the new data from the file gets pasted in the file with existing data, and this gets loaded into an analysis programme. At the start, I had a Monster-Excel Spreadsheet, but it suffered information overload and stopped functioning. For work, I do a lot of analysis with a programme called Matlab, so I know it well and it was easy to write some code to do the analysis instead. In the end though, I can’t use it at home, so I rewrote it for a free-ware version of the software, Octave, to run it. The reality is that my code doesn’t do anything too extraordinary or difficult: plotting daily averages/totals, time series per category, box plots and pie charts to get an idea of how big the range of my readings is and how often I manage to hit the right target, and it saves these in image format.
Finally, a bit of LaTeX code gets all my graphs and a re-formatted table of the readings, and puts it all in a nice PDF for me. It’s really handy to review things this way: after running my two programmes, all I really have to do is look at the report file on the PC or print it off to take to appointments. The report also puts my readings into a format which HCPs like. I was told off for not using the diary they gave me, so at least this now reformats my own version into one they like, and every one’s happy As I pointed out to the nurse I saw recently: the monitoring diary view fails to acknowledge what happens in between their 4 favourite times: breakfast, lunch, dinner and bed. I got congratulated for my amazing bed-time reading of 5.0 on Sunday night, but this didn’t show that half an hour before I’d had a hypo!
So how does the latest data look? Not too bad, but not too great either. I struggle to hit the targets in the morning (less than a third of the time), I do pretty OK at lunch and tea (just over half of the time), but again don’t really get into range before bed time. A recent basal test suggest it’s more an issue with wrong bolusing and eating too late. When I correct for those times when I go to bed within two hours of dinner, I seem to be a little better. I guess we should try to eat earlier, but I like our 19h-20h dinner window. I’m still trying to figure out the morning highs, and will get there. Hopefully the upcoming DAFNE course will help pull me into range and fine tune ratios.
Until next time!
The … Diabetic
PS. Sorry for the boring post, but it’s the mundaneties of life that I like (keep an eye out for The Shadowing Diabetic), and I do LOVE numbers!