Monday, September 17, 2007


I figured it can't be THAT hard, but the Rn wanted to be the one to teach us how to use the equipment that tests blood glucose (sugar) levels.  Fine.  This was going to be Friday, but I didn't know until the night before, as she didn't know, that her time slot with Dad was moved to close to my morning visit with Dad, but not early enough for me to do w/out advance notice to Boss, and not late enough for me to count as lunchtime.  I mean, I would, but she was apologetic and I was not needed.  She called me during her 10 minutes there (that trip), saying that I needed to pick up strips, also.  Oh.  Glucometers also need strips, apparently, gotcha, got them, fine.

So today, her appointment switched AGAIN, but doable, breakfast and lunch with Dad as she coming lunchtimeish, fine.  Naturally, he'd eaten a good snack, so the glucometer read high but she wasn't concerned as, well, he'd just eaten.  This was a long visit.  She's been really nice and we've communicated often.  She always tells Dad, who calls me or tells me, and she tells me things.  Great.  She concentrated more on showing ME how to work it, than with Dad, figuring I could show him more later.  Seemed fine, doable, great.  She told me that he could reuse the lancelets (the needle prick) a few times, change it, oh, every 4 days, but DO buy more.  I'd have just gotten more THEN.  Or all with the glucometer and strips with the cane, if I'd know.  But, fine.  I may not use the holder for them, that seems fairly unnecessary unless one has awkward/ big fingers.

Before I took Dad out of the physical rehabilitation center (his "discharge,") I had that nurse double check about the diabetes and testing and medicines and even insulin (which he hadn't had since the hospital, but still), along with oxygen.  No oxygen needed (the Rn said today his lungs were clear, great!), and no testing needed, just various Rx's.........  one is a pill that stimulates his natural insulin production.  This Rn was concerned, however, and asked the doctor.  I agree with the whole idea of Dad / I being able to verify his blood sugar levels just in case.  A degree of comfort there (and ,certainly it has to help a nurse feel good to help educate a family on diabetes management, even if his continues to be mild, will it stay that way?  This does help.)

Dad and I went over his mail, a variety of other things, and made him lunch.  I was trying to take him out for lunch, even a drive-thru, I didn't care, but he didn't feel like it.  Besides, he had the physical therapist coming in just over an hour or so.  Fine. 

Before he ate, I figured we'd try this thing again, check the new reading.  I wondered briefly if I could just shut my eyes when I do the price part, but, no.  With my eyes open, I still got,"Ouch." "Sorry, do you want to do this?"  "No."  "Ouch, Robin, this doesn't hurt whenever they do it."  Dag, it sure looks to me like how they do it.  I figured out how to get the little strip to stick out of this expensive digital glucometer, the little strips daggone expensive also, ready to suck up blood.  (The pharmacy was super nice when picking up his new meds, egads, they'd have run over $500., but she got me paperwork for applying for Medicare something, B or D, and he'll be on a prescription plan soon, plus I took down the phone # -- either Maryland or Montgomery County has a health care or pharmacy card applicable to EVERYONE, I got one and blessedly haven't needed it, but he wouldn't know where his is).

We got Dad "stuck," not a lot of blood, trying to squeeze the finger, get more.  That little lizard tongue-looking sucked up the blood.  Great!  Okay, now for the reading........  except, how do I get it to do that?  I pressed the buttons I thought I needed to press.  The woman didn't write anything down for me, nor had I.  I do need written notes, even if I learn kinetically.  I ended up having the glucometer spit out that test strip unintentionally, and then stick out a new one.  Ugh.  Dad wanted his lunch. 

These shouldn't be so difficult.  Medical science and technology has come so far, so many people in the U.S. (the world) have diabetes, this shouldn't be so difficult.

Heck, even his microwave which he uses without me, I can't quite figure out but I stay pressing buttons until it turns on for a while.  I can't program a radio station on my car radio (as it differs from my old car, and, well, it's not worth my effort to figure that out, and it's really not worth the effort to figure out how to reset the clock).  Digital stuff is fine, new advances in technology, fine.  But, it's not simple enough to actually work.  It's a pain.

This test was an extra for the heck of it testing, anyway.  I'll bring it into my work health unit tomorrow, and have the nurse re-show me.  Ultimately, I would like to know and should know.  I'd even like to test my own, well, except for the needle "lancelet" prick I'll try not to faint over (and I shouldn't really share anyone else's lancelet).  Or, I suppose I could try to decipher the instructions.  I don't usually tend to look at those things.  Too verbose and unclear, typically, who has the patience.


  1. You can call your pharmacist and they can explain it or the nurse herself.  Good luck with it all.  ~ Mike

  2. Wish that I could help you but meters vary by brand name. I am a diabetic and test my blood sugar several times a day. I would recommend the One-Touch meter becaue it is simple to use and gives the option of checking blood sugar by drawing blood from the arm which some people find less painful to do. If taking a sample from the finger. it helps to hold your hand down and gently shake for about 30 seconds to enhance blood flow to the finger. The lancing pen should have settings on the cap that allow you to adjust how much penetration that you receive from the lancet. Set it at the lowest setting that will produe enough of a puncture to obtain a drop of blood. Gnerally, you insert the test stip in the meter, puncture the finger, touch the finger tip against the end of the test strip until sufficient blood is absorbed and then the meter will start a countdown and reveal the result. No buttons to push after you apply blood to the test strip. Your dad should not have to pay for any of his supplies. My mother is also a diabetic and becuse she is over age 62, she gets free diabetic testing supplies all the time. If he isn't already a member, your dad may want to join AARP. They provide great information on diabetes and access to free and/or very low cost testing supplies. Hope that I'm not butting in too much, I just remember how frustrating it was when I was first diagnosed and had to learn all of this stuff.--Sheria

  3. Hang in there,Robin! I remember being So nervous about doing finger sticks in nurse's training, and now (100 years later,LOL) it's a piece of cake:) You'll get there!!
    If he has a 'penlike' thingy (I'm sure that's Not the technical term,lol, just woke up and only second cup of coffee:) to put the lancets in? it should have a dial to change the setting for how deep the lancet pierces his skin. Check that out with the health nurse when you take it in to work,that's a very good idea, glad you have that extra resource:)
    Hugs to ya!

  4. good luck with it all. and I hope you have a good week. ((((hugs)))

  5. Bless your heart,  I cannot imagine trying to figure out how to read the results, let alone get the blood.  I'm sure it will come easier with time.

  6. Wow...good luck!