Last week, my diabetes educator gave me a new glucose meter to try out while I think about an insulin pump (I wish there was an easy answer to that question). It’s a meter that also acts as a blood glucose logbook, and calculates my insulin doses for me instead of the usual guesstimates. Unfortunately, the new meter uses a different set of test strips. Which means that if I do decide to “adopt” this meter permanently, I have a hoard of test strips (that I’ve put a lot of effort into collecting) that are completely useless. Or, I deplete my old hoard and go weeks upon weeks before I get to finally use my new meter. Wonderful!
On the day I began using this new meter, I accidentally ripped open one of the test strips belonging to my old meter from its foil packet. I realised before it was too late, and put the unused strip back into it’s foil packet and tucked it away for next time.
Yesterday afternoon, I decided I’d use my old meter for the “odd” afternoon test. It was around 3 in the afternoon, and I’d just come home from work. I’d had lunch and given my insulin just over an hour ago, but I had a feeling that my blood sugar level might be higher than it should be. I’d probably had a few too many carbs at lunch, thanks to the Muesli bars and Old Gold dark chocolate sitting in my locker at work.
I pulled out that test strip that I’d ripped open from it’s foil packet a week ago. I pricked my finger, applied the blood to the test strip and waited. And this was the result that came back.
I was in shock. It had been a while since I’d seen a number that low. Normally I test often enough to stop a hypo in it’s tracks, but I’m pretty confident that I can feel one coming on. Add to that the fact that I had just driven home. I couldn’t believe it. I knew that I should have been reaching for the bag of marshmallows on my desk ASAP, but I just could not believe it.
I was in absolute disbelief.
I ripped open a fresh test strip, and tested again.
And instantly, everything clicked.
For five years, I’ve been ripping test strips out of their individually wrapped foil packets. Ripping them open at just the right angle, to get the right end of the strip out first to stick into the meter. Without thinking twice about it.
But it took me until today to realise that those test strips are individually wrapped in foil packets or stored in capped vials for a reason. I guess the outside air, light and temparature can wreak havoc on the results.
I love that after 5 years, I’m still learning something new about diabetes every day.
And, also this quote from Tuesday’s #OzDOC Twitter chat, just because I think it sums up diabetes perfectly.
Q8 Just because diabetes management in theory is simple, doesn't mean it's easy. #OzDOC
— OzDiabetesOC #OzDOC (@OzDiabetesOC) November 10, 2015