The Quest for 117

I have a long history with the Clara Barton Camp for Girls with Diabetes. Those of us who attended as campers or staff call each other “Barton Girls” and we have many great memories and some inside jokes. One joke is about the number “117”. Back in the 80s, a staff member from the boys camp (Elliott P. Joslin Camp for Boys with Diabetes) was interviewed by a reporter. She had him check his blood glucose on camera and it came out 117, to which she replied, “Fantastic!” For the past 20-something years any one who has a blood glucose of 117 gets a rousing round of “Fantastic!” from anyone who understands. The great thing is that it really never gets old.

The other day I was driving with my daughter and I saw a vehicle with a license plate that simply said “117”. I just about flipped out. My daughter, believe it or not, had a camera with her and tried to take a picture at the stop light, but it didn’t come out. I lost the car when I turned to go to the grocery store. When we came out of the store I decided to go looking for the car. Crazy, but true. And would you believe I saw it again, going in the opposite direction on a nearby street. I watched it turn in my rear-view mirror, and then proceeded to turn around and try to find it.

Although I never did find the car, it got me thinking about people with diabetes and the quest for 117, in other words, “happy” blood glucose levels. We can work really hard at it and sometimes get the results we’re after, while other times we don’t. How often do we just give up? I know there have been times when I have just said, “forget it”, but luckily, I get myself back on track at some point (usually the next morning). It’s easy to want to throw in the towel when things (blood glucose levels) are not going the way you want them to. With diabetes it’s critical that we don’t beat ourselves up when this happens. We need to stay calm and focused and remind ourselves that we are good people and we can start again tomorrow.

Don’t give up on your quest for 117. And remember that no matter what your number, you are truly fantastic!

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12 Responses to The Quest for 117

  1. Filmy online says:

    Admiring the persistence you put into your site and detailed information you offer. It’s good to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same outdated rehashed information. Excellent read! I’ve saved your site and I’m including your RSS feeds to my Google account.

  2. jane k says:

    Thank you – I appreciate your feedback!

  3. Kassie says:

    LOVE the image of chasing 117 around town! In range numbers are just as elusive as that car for us, most of the time!

    • jane k says:

      In fact, I once heard the statistic that 25% of all blood glucose readings are unexplainable. Keeping that in mind helps me not beat myself up when I get a reading I don’t like.

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  6. Mike Hoskins says:

    This is just about the greatest blog post I’ve read in awhile… absolutely LOVED the imagery of you driving around town looking for the 117 license plate, and then the awesome insightful point you connect to. Yes, chasing those “happy” numbers can be very frustrating and so often (a lot, lately) I feel as though I’m driving around lost, trying to find that level but unable to. And yes, it seems as though night-time is the more common time it happens, and then I get back on track in the morning just like you! Here’s to staying on that course, and achieving those “happy” numbers as often as possible! And hey: great mention of Camp Barton… while I’m a guy, and have never been to either one, I am a longtime fan of Kerri over at SixUntilMe and so it feels as though I’ve been there myself thanks to one of your fellow “Barton Girls!” Great post, Jane.

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  9. marianne mealey says:

    What you have written here had a lot of meaning for me, not only about the 117 BS, but what you said about “throwing in the towel”and “never give up”. I had used the words throwing in the towel on a FB post because I had had it that day…stressed out from work, problems eith oour rented, dealing with my diabetes and depression, I was ready to throw in the towel, then a few days later I had read “never give up” then I heard it in a song, then I read it on a fortune cookie fortune and now I read it here in your blog. God works in mysterious ways. (I have had diabetes for over 43 years).

    • jane k says:

      Thanks for your comment. It is always strange and cool to see messages like that in different places. For me it is literally the number 117. I see it everywhere – not just on the BG meter – and it’s a reminder to stay on track. That’s my happy number, so it honestly makes me feel good when I see it. I hope you have a great day and that things are going well for you. Congrats on 43 years!!!

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