Sunday, August 2, 2009

Blast from the past

Okay, so a couple months ago Kerri over at Six Until Me has had a few posts where she dug up some of her old school diabetes equipment and what-have-you and reminisced about the "good old days" back in ancient diabetes times. Well, she and I started out on this diabetes road at sort of different parts of the overall timeline, so we don't exactly have the same memories of this stuff. She was diagnosed in 1986 (I think) and I was diagnosed in 1991. I know this doesn't seem too far apart but many of her memories didn't really reverb with me. For example, she remembers a time when you didn't use a meter to read your blood sugar, you just compared your strip to a color chart on the vial. I vaguely remember these types of strips being an option but by the time I was diagnosed, blood sugar meters were pretty common and that was what I was started on right away. And, unfortunately, there was no such thing as cutting the strips to make them last longer. :-) But it was funny trying to dig back in the cobwebs of my brain and remember this stuff.

Anyway, these posts have had me daydreaming about all my old diabetes acoutremonts and scrambling to find evidence of all my past relics on the web. It took a while because I couldn't for the life of me remember the old meter names. I knew I had an AccuChek as my first meter but do you know how many reincarnations of that thing there have been? Holy crap! Who can remember the exact model? But recently? SUCCESS!! I found a few pics of my old meters here. (And, btw, it was the AccuChek Easy.) So, for your enjoyment:

So even though by that time we, as diabetics, had advanced from peeing on sticks and/or comparing crusty old blood to color charts, this is not to say that these machines were very sophisticated by today's standards. No sirree. They needed lots of blood (which got all over the machine . . . or maybe I was just messy, who knows) and it seemed like it took forever to get a reading. It didn't have a countdown clock, so I couldn't tell you exactly how long it did take, but it felt like years.

And who knew how much I'd appreciate capillary action when I was learning about it in the 7th grade but DANG! Those old strips really sucked. You had to aim for that stupid little square and good luck with that when you only have the coordination of a 9-year-old and are low and shaky to boot. And there were times when you'd look at the back of the strip (the part the meter actually read) to see how much more blood you needed and none of it had passed through! It sure looked mostly full on the other side?!? WTF?

This was my next meter, the One Touch Profile. I loved this thing and thought it was the shiznit. Only 45 seconds until I get my result?? Plus a countdown clock, plus an easy circle to aim for that is nestled snugly in the meter before I apply so I don't have to mess with it and get all smear-y. And it looked so modern and cool too! Looking back, holy smokes, those strips were huge! But as a whole it was definitely a step in the right direction.I've had so many meters over the years. Any time I'd get a free offer, I'd try a new one. Why not? They always came with a few free strips so no biggy. But the next meter that I really liked, that really stuck was the One Touch Ultra. I fell in love with the strips that magically (see: capillary action) sucked in the blood and how tiny this meter was. I never needed the extra blips and buttons and I ignored newer, shinier models that cropped up as time went by. I kept this thing for years. I will say this: Yes, this meter takes a tiny amount of blood. But who can just get that tiny amount. Again, maybe I'm a big doof or maybe my calluses are the problem but I get these big ole' drops of blood and then what do I do with them?? Hmm, question for another day.
This is my current meter, the Freestyle Lite. And honestly, I love it. So many of the little problems I've had with meters over the years have been solved. First, no coding. Awesome, brilliant, why couldn't we do this sooner? Sheesh! Second, a light-up strip for testing in the dark. Again, brilliant!! Do you know how many times we've been in a movie and I made my husband whip out his cell phone and aim it at the meter in my lap?? If only we could do glow-in-the-dark syringes we'd be set!! Another small thing that I love is that if you insert the strip before the little drop of blood starts flickering on the screen, no biggey. . . just go ahead an test. Any other meter I had would give you an error message and make you start all over. I'm impatient and I do this a lot so this little thing gives me great pleasure! :-)
My only con for this meter is that the little dots on the strip where you load the blood are a little awkward. Unlike the other strips I've used, there is no landing strip where you can neatly see the blood fill up until you have enough and the positioning is awkward. But I guess no meter's perfect.

I don't know why this turned into tales from my meters past when it was really just supposed to be a couple of pics of ancient meters I'd used. Oh well. It is amazing when you think about how far diabetes technology has come in the last 15 to 20 years. Anyone else with me on these old meters? I know some of you folks had to have used one of these dinosaurs, I can't be the only one!! Please share!

Hasta la pasta,
~Layne

Semi-required Disclaimer: I am not, repeat NOT, getting paid by anyone to endorse these meters or anything diabetes related. Please do not get your panties in a wad because I discussed pros and cons of stuff that I actually use in real like in a public forum. But to anyone listening: free test strips would be welcome and appreciated! :-)