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[IP] Re: 1st meter stories

On Monday, March 10, 2003, email @ redacted wrote:

>  from
> the beginning I just poked myself with the lancet w/o a device.

I worked in a medical lab for a while in the 70s, and the lancet we 
used (not for blood sugar, that was only from venipuncture then) was 
sort of a an elongated triangle razor blade, with which you controlled 
how far you went in by how hard you were pushing. I remember showing 
the lancet shaped more like current ones to a med tech in the early 80s 
after I started testing regularly, and he was so impressed by the 
"stop".  But when I got an autolet (the "guillotine" referred to in 
earlier posts on this subject), I  much preferred it, and used it long 
past the time most people had gotten newer ones because I could see the 
site through the hole and point it more precisely at those areas of 
skin that didn't have black dots <gr.>.  Now I sometimes just use the 
lancet again -- always if I am testing someone else.  But those are 
lancets that I do change with each use <gr.>.

In the early 70s, I had had a bottle of bg strips that turned shades of 
purple -- don't remember what the brand was.  I used them occasionally 
to differentiate between very high and very low blood sugars, something 
that I was having a problem with right then for some reason.  (I was 
perfectly capable of being hypoglycemic when my urine test was showing 
a lot of sugar, the urine test being representative of past history 
<gr.>).  But visual inspection didn't allow much differentiation more 
accurate than that, and my memory is that I was told the "machine" that 
read them more precisely cost a couple thousand dollars (this memory  
could be faulty, or my informant could have been wrong <gr.>).  I think 
I used my syringe needle as a lancet:  they weren't anywhere near as 
thin then <gr.>.

In the mid 70s, I saw an article in a newsletter from the urine test 
company (BD, I think) about bg testing, but my then doctor discouraged 
me from using it.  I have to temper my resentment at this by 
remembering that it really took quite a while before many people really 
knew how to use the technology effectively (certainly that doctor 
wouldn't have known how, or been able to show me how.) I started using 
accuchek strips read visually in 1980 or 81, and a while later bought a 
glucochek meter for a couple hundred dollars that used accuchek strips 
and came with a strip splitter to cut them in half.  At some point  
around then my diabetes expenses began to routinely go beyond the 
deductible on my health insurance policy, and I remember the strips 
were not initially considered a covered expense, but became so pretty 
quickly (I think I had a little, but not a lot, to do with the change 
in policy).  And I'm pretty sure I paid (with insurance help) for my 
first Accuchek meter a couple years later, and that it was still quite 
expensive.  I don't think I've paid more than a few dollars for a meter 
since, though.

And I remember in 1981 being actually yelled at by the head of 
endocrinology at a university medical center when he looked at my 
logbook because I sometimes tested a couple hours after meals (I 
ordinarily saw a resident, but occasionally had to see this monster).  
I explained to him that I was doing it mainly to make sure that I had 
eaten enough and was not going low (like, before I drove home <gr.>), 
but he was insistent that it was inappropriate for me to have this 
information.  The resident that I had been seeing, who I otherwise 
liked, kept insisting that I could learn to read the strips very 
accurately visually because one of the nurses at the hospital could.  
Well, when I got a meter and saw the color next to what it read on the 
meter, I was able to learn that skill, too!  But not from just looking 
at it and not getting any feedback <gr.>.  The next doctor I went to 
looked at my log book and told me those were useless, but it turned out 
he thought it was a urine test log book, never having seen anyone with 
a bg logbook.  He didn't last long as my doctor, either <gr.>.  Having 
spent over 25 years without home bg testing, I wanted to get as much 
use as possible out of it, and still consider it  the greatest 
improvement in diabetes care in my lifetime (but would be very happy 
for a greater one to come along <gr.>).

Linda Z
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