Does a correction bolus mean I've failed?

Sometimes I get discouraged by the need to take a correction bolus. It’s as if my pump is telling me that I failed to measure my food right, or failed to balance the time it would take for my BG to rise with the time it would take for the insulin to work. Every day, at some point, I find the need to correct.

At first, I thought my goal should be to never have to issue a correction bolus. To never have to treat a low. That would be ideal, wouldn’t it? But with my lifestyle and the type of food that’s available, it’s just not practical to be able to measure every morsel of food that goes in my body, and to precisely calculate how many carbs are in each morsel. And even then, the I:C ratios, sensitivity ratios, effects from exercise (or lack thereof), are all educated guesses anyway. Yes, they are calculated and based on experience, but we all know that managing D is just as much an art as a science, and there is no way to precisely dose the amount of insulin needed with today’s technology.

Should the need to correct a high (or a low, for that matter) be accepted and considered “typical” for a T1 diabetic, provided the high isn’t TOO high and the low isn’t TOO low? Or am I just taking the easy way out, making a rough guess at my food intake, planning to fix the inaccuracies later?

I would love to never have to correct a high… I just don’t know if such a goal is even attainable.

No! You have not failied!

A correction bolus is diabetes management.
Guessing carbs is diabetes management.
Treating a low is diabetes management.
Enjoying the pleasures of a slice of pie is diabetes management.

The only thing that has failed is your pancreas.

A correction bolus is just that, a correction bolus. D has no constants. Sometimes I forget that I’m not a cyber borg, never-changing LOL. It’s yet another learning experience, even if we can’t always figure out what caused it.

A failure would be lack of attention to your BG, lack of action when it’s off. Troubleshooting is a success!

I don’t think I’ve ever had a day where I haven’t had to correct a high or a low. If I never had to make those adjustments it would mean my blood sugar was within my target range at all times, and to me that would be a cure!

All of the above is very true. The other thing to consider is that there are some unknown variables in the equation. As an endocrine disorder, the balance of hormones in our bodies play a HUGE role. That includes how much you’ve slept, how much sunshine you’ve gotten, whether you’re stressed or not, any low-grade infections, and all the other little things that make our body function. Instead of stressing over all the details, be proud that you’re choosing to fight the daily battle and that you care.

And if it’s a consistent tweak like every time you eat, then maybe you should try and up your I:C. I’ve actually got one for breakfast and lunch and a different one for dinner. Whatever you do, make sure it works FOR YOU.

In a perfect world with an exact, unfailing ratio, ultra precise carb counting & protein conversion formulas, with no exercise, stress, hormones or weather changes & a fresh vial of insulin for every meal, this might be considered a failure. Until then, we muddle on being human attempting to deal with a host of unknown variables.

It’s like Diabetic Wheel of Fortune. Only instead of Lose a turn it’s Give a correction.

It is so NOT a failure to have to do a correction or treat a low. You can eat the same things each day for a week and have differing success. This is a complex job and the body is not really helpful. It is no shame to have to correct an unexpected high; and it’s not failure if you find you have to take on some carb because you’ve gone low. These things happen. If being a pancreas was so easy, ours wouldn’t have quit. Stand tall, my friend, you’re doing just fine.

Thanks everyone… I always knew that the “goal” was to get it exactly right, but I didn’t know if that’s a “world-peace” kind of goal (do the little bit you can, knowing you can’t do it all) or if it was a pass/fail type of goal.

I guess I always knew that I can’t get it right all the time, and even a non-D person’s body REACTS to fluctuations in blood sugar after eating by producing insulin. Only us D-people need to be PROACTIVE and take the insulin first.

i am sooo with you, Scott E. sometimes i think i’m lazily looking at my food and ‘guesstimating’ my shot. i am just exhausted with all of the counting before i eat. it’s like a 2nd job!! LOL
finding also, that when i shoot the correction dose, i end up short term in a hell of a ’ low’ –

we seem to be ‘in the same place’ right now–in several of your blogs. just want you to know that i’m here if you ever wanna talk.


When I first started pumping insulin 8 years ago, I told the endo I just hate correcting and he said WHY, like what is the big deal, that is what you do, but…I hate correcting because I usually end up low and then I also know going high I have been hours in a bad, body damaging zone. For me it is not just an easy thought of you are correcting it is all the harm that is happening to my body that I can’t keep out of my head.