Blast From The Past

It’s interesting to me how seeing things from our past can bring up such weird memories. Take for instance, this meter:

First Meter 2

I can remember the sound of the beep. I can also remember that mine had a deep burgundy red button, not a blue one. I rememeber swiping that strip on the side through that slot beside the display over and over getting error after error until it worked (I think that was to code it? I can’t remember that part). I remember the strips it took, and that you had to press the on button, then prick your finger and press the time (blue button on that one, red on mine) for it to count down 60 seconds, then you were to wipe off the strip with a cotton ball, and place it into the meter, facing the on/off switch, and you would get your reading in 60 seconds or 120 seconds… fuzzy on that too, but I think it was 120 seconds.

I also rememeber cutting those strips in half to save money, and just reading them up against the chart on the back. Your BG was “around” 20, 40, 80, 120, 180, etc on up to 400+ , but with only 2 or 3 other colors, so there could be as much as a 100mg/dL difference between them.

… and I also remember that if I hid my alcohol swab in my cotton ball and wiped off the strip, the color would be lighter, thus looking as if I had a lower BG than what I did.

“Look ma, I’m sorta between 180 and 240”, when I really was around the 400 mark.

Then, came this meter…

Second meter

Ah, the One Touch Basic… with it’s smaller-yet-still-large blood requirement, and no way to cut the strips to save money, yet faster (60 second, I think) glucose readout. Also, there was no cheating with this one. There was no alcohol swipe trick on the strip, but sometimes testing with wet hands did the trick. I remember how thin yet oddly shaped the strips where, and I remember seeing that wildly blinking red laser light beneath it while it was “reading” the strip. And for some reason, I remember testing in my old school’s bathroom (which happened to be a church-school) and having this sit on the changing table while I “did my business”… since, you know, I couldn’t fudge that I wasn’t high…

I think back to how things used to be for me (granted, I came into the “d” world after things like test-tube pee tests and stuff), and my tiny 4 year old finger being poked by this thing:


to get a blood drop that was as big as the tip of my finger. Even to this day, I still have the habit of squeezing a much bigger drop than needed, becuase in my mind, the reading can’t be that accurate if you’re not giving it an ample sample. (Just in my head, folks, probably not true.) And that looooong dreaded wait that could equal 12 bg tests with my Verio meter.

Looking back on my past and seeing these images, remembering the sounds and the feelings that came along with them… going from 120 seconds to just 5 for a BG reading, from a blood drop that required many minutes of “milking the cow” (a.k.a, my finger) to a tiny, minuscule drop makes me ever so thankful for the technology we have now and the progress we continue to make.

4 thoughts on “Blast From The Past”

  1. Ah, I forgot about the alcohol-swab trick! Though I always used a tissue rather than a cotton ball, because cotton left those stringy things everywhere, including on the strip.

    I never owned the Accu-Chek II in the picture (I had its predecessor) but used it in D-camp. That slot, I believe, is for the calibration. It was calibrated with a bar-code on a clear plastic film. On the original Accu-Chek, you had to calibrate it each time (by opening and closing the door; the film stayed in place), but I think they put a memory in the newer meter.

    It amazed me when the newer meters went to a simple number (1-25) to calibrate, rather than all the info that could have been stored on a bar-code; I remember thinking you lost some precision with the newer “easier” coding. Never mind that the electrochemical measurement was much more accurate than the photo-eye scanning the strip!

    Did you also repeatedly use the alcohol swabs to clean that photo-eye lens? (On the II, you needed to slide out and disassemble the test strip slot, on the original it was easily accessible). Somehow, those things always got blood-covered despite the “cleaning” off the strip after 60 seconds.

    1. OH wow!!! I remember that barcode strip now!!!! Holy wow!! I remember my sister and me getting SO frustrated because it took several swipes for it to read. But I don’t remember cleaning the lens though. I was probably too young to do it myself, so my mom or sister probably did.

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