The Test Strip

teststripsThe bloody test strip counts down and beeps. 185. Decent. You’re OK. It could be lower, but at least it’s under 200.

That little piece of plastic tells you so much. It lets you know that you’ll survive at least another 12 hours.

The worst thing that can possibly happen is when you put the blood on the strip too early and you get the “Error” message. Bloody hell! Quite literally. And you can’t reuse them, until now. Bayer came up with a great new test strip that will tell you that there is too little blood on it and will give you time to add more. But can I use that? Nope.

No insurance.

Moving on. These little pieces of plastic give you glimpses into your body and your blood. What else can do that on a daily basis? You have to know what your levels are and how they’re going to affect your body and we have the capabilities to see that. Sometimes I feel like Superman.

Did you know that back in the day before these jumps in technology, tests used to be done with urine and a color coding system in the ’60s? The idea of testing blood for blood sugar glucose levels wasn’t an option until 1970 and the meter that weighed three pounds and cost about $650, was only used in physician’s offices.

My, how far we’ve come in the past 40+ years. And those meters have changed the face of diabetes care. Teaching people with diabetes to monitor themselves, to have some sort of control at their very finger tips is amazing. It’s what keeps us alive and in control.

Too bad these little strips are some of the most difficult pieces of diabetes wellness to come by. The meters, you can get for free. Ask any person with diabetes who has been diagnosed at least five years ago and they’ll tell you that they probably have at least three. I have about seven. Meters are a dime a dozen, but it’s the strips that cost you a pretty penny.

Yes, there are options and ways to pay less than what you find at the stores, but the hoops that you have to jump through to get that are sometimes outside of practical reason for a lot of individuals. At the pharmacy today for the county hospital, I heard it various times: “I’m supposed to come in for this appointment to get my medicine, but I have to work and I can’t afford a day off.” At which point, I thank my lucky stars and the Universe that I am able to be in charge of my own schedule and that I work for myself. I can attend all those appointments.

The way I see it, the more appointments I attend and the more people I talk to, the more I’m learning about myself and my issues at hand. It’s fine. But… back to the strips!

A box of 25 strips which would last me about five days is about $38 which would cost about $230 a month. It’s expensive and pricey. People who haven’t figured out how to get their hands on these little windows into their body, are splitting strips in half to use one twice. When I heard about this I was floored. I didn’t know you could do that, I said.

When you know you need something, you’ll go to whatever lengths to get it or to make it work for you. It’s incredible where technology has us now a days. And to think, my doctor told me the other day, “Give in to the technology.”

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1 Comment

Filed under Diabetes, Doctors, Health

One response to “The Test Strip

  1. I have a meter that belonged to my father and know how to use it. But, the strips are hard to find and it’s funny how buying a new meter is just easier. But,fortunately I don’t need one. I never did think you could cut the strips in half! How clever. Anyways, enjoyed this post 🙂

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