Isabella's diabetes is all about data. Well, technically I guess Isabella's diabetes is all about her health, but managing the diabetes keeps me focused on numbers. What's her blood glucose? How long ago did she get insulin? How much insulin did she get?
I've got all those numbers jotted down in a little notebook that I keep near the diabetes box. Page after page of numbers, each one representing a kitty blood-letting session. (Side thought: I wonder how much blood I've pulled out of Isabella's ears in the last year? There's still a fair amount splattered on the walls...) Anyway, early on I saw those numbers piling up and realized I needed more than a paper-and-pencil system to keep track of it all.
And so, I became a worshipper at the altar of Microsoft Excel.
I set up a very simple spreadsheet: a column for dates, a column for the morning blood sugar reading, another for the afternoon reading, and a column for notes. Simple. Straightforward. From this simple spreadsheet I could generate those famous bar charts that drove Isabella's first vet crazy and bring her current vet so much joy:
And it was good.
But then my greedy heart wanted more. So I added colors to the columns, making the cells turn a pretty green when Isabella's blood sugar was under 100 and an angry red when she passed the 300 mark.
Again, it was good. I looked at my colorful spreadsheet and descriptive bar charts and felt joy and gratefulness in my heart.
We carried along in this way for many months, my spreadsheet and I, until a change of (dare I say it?) biblical proportions again made me question my faith.
I was testing Isabella more and more. Two columns of numbers wasn't enough and I was forced to cram extra test numbers into the "Comments" column. Entering data lost its appeal and I began to turn my back on Excel and rely upon my pagan notebook for everything.
The loss of faith was distressing. I searched the Help files looking for answers, wanting to find something that could bring me back to the altar. But my doubting heart and skeptical eyes did not light upon the truth and saw instead only the darkness of the simple, inadequate spreadsheet.
I did not approach the altar for weeks.
But I knew there were others who still worshipped at the church of Excel and so I reached out to the faithful among the members of FDMB. I asked them for guidance, to light my way on the path of diabetes data management.
And my call was heard. I received a new spreadsheet template like a gift from on high. This template has columns and rows for everything. It works as well for days when I test only twice as it does for days when I poke Isabella ruthlessly and repeatedly. It has a worksheet for curves.
But before I could truly enjoy the new spreadsheet, I had to pay penance. I had to sit silently to enter more than four weeks worth of data, contemplating my brief fall from grace with each number.
Now my sins are absolved, my data is up to date, and I've added the cool feature that makes the cells turn different colors depending upon Isabella's blood sugar reading. I am once again among the faithful gathered at the altar of Excel.
And it is good.