Leaving Blood in Bad Places

I hope I never lose my OneTouch UltraLink meter — and not just because I need it to survive. Instead, I fear that some unsuspecting citizen will unzip that little microfiber satchel, take a peek inside, and assume that it’s a device used to slaughter small animals and bleed them dry.

I am a wiper, and the evidence is all over my test kit.

The blood sugar testing instructions laid out by the American Diabetes Association — and most other responsible health professionals — would have us treat testing like a hallowed ritual. First, the washing of the hands. Then, the changing of the lancet. The wipe of the alcohol swab, the test, and another alcohol wipe to cleanse the blood from your poor pricked fingertip.

But here’s how I check my blood sugar:

1. Shake test strip vial, just to get a good idea of how many are left in there.

2. Open vial and stick a strip into the meter.

3. Locate least-calloused finger.

4. Stab finger with months-old lancet.

5. Apply drop of blood to test strip.

Here’s where it gets really shameful:

6. Smear excess blood on cloth of test kit.

I don’t usually even think about it. Unless, for instance, I’m in my office and someone is nearby. I’m sure my habit is a lot more off-putting to people who aren’t accustomed to making themselves bleed at least 5 times a day.

I’m not sure when I got into this habit — or out of the habit of using a piece of tissue or an alcohol swab to clean the blood off of my finger. At some point, the very dark and very absorbent material around the zipper and on one of the pockets started to seem like a good wiping option, and now I can’t seem to stop.

Every once in a while, my husband will try to “clean” the inside of my case — because he’s nice and far more obsessed with cleanliness than I am. For a few days, I’m left with a case that’s a little less crusty and discolored than usual, but then laziness kicks in and I’m back to my wiping ways.

I guess it’s just what happens when you get so used to doing something so many times each day. My blood sugar checks aren’t rare moments of wonder and magic. They’re a necessary evil, and I’m all about exerting the least amount of effort to keep tabs on my blood sugar. The way I see it, the more times per day I inconvenience myself with checking, the more I earn the right to turn my kit into a portable biohazard.

I just hope I never have to claim it from the lost and found.

Image via nataliedee.com

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19 comments on “Leaving Blood in Bad Places

  1. Batts says:

    I do the same thing when I test..only I either stick my finger in my mouth or wipe it on my pants at the end. ha ha.

    I don’t think I’ve followed the instructions they give you, since I was about…10? And I’m sure most people don’t either except those with young kids.

    Opening my kit is dangerous..you’re likely to get buried in a stack of used strips. I empty it out every couple weeks, but whenever I open it some of them fall onto the floor, car seat, couch, my work’s floor, etc. It grosses my boyfriend out a bit I think haha.

  2. Sysy Morales says:

    Oh my gosh I can so relate to this post…let me tell you what I have always done, first, let me ask you a question, do you notice how socially acceptable it is for someone to cut their finger and just stick it in their mouth for a few seconds (and they usually suck the blood too)? Well, after testing I have always just licked the blood off of my finger. It doesn’t even bleed after that one lick (ok maybe two if I prick too hard) lol…and you thought you were gross…hahaha I’ve never had anyone notice because I do it so quickly…what more, I can taste how sweet my blood is! (I know that’s TMI)
    I totally agree with keeping it simple in order to improve chances that we’ll keep on checking.

  3. Holly says:

    Gold! I can so relate to this! I’ve started “washing” my hands with instant alcohol sanitizer to feel like I’m at least following the directions somewhat.

    But I’m a licker. I test and stick my finger in my mouth while waiting the 5 seconds for my meter to give me the result. I must look like a toddler with my finger in my mouth and wide-eyed looking at something. LOL! =D

  4. Kerri. says:

    And here I thought I was the only one who shook the bottle of strips before testing. It’s like a tic I have. And you have, too. 🙂

  5. talesofmy30s says:

    I lick my fingers clean.

    And I think shaking the bottle of test strips is a requirement!

  6. I’m a licker, too, but I also have the biohazard feature. My dirty little secret? I just toss the used test strip into the case, where they smear all over everything. Sometimes I get QUITE the collection going…

    Never a problem until the endo appointment when I have to take out my meter and do a test – oh, the shame I feel when I realize there’s dried blood everywhere!

  7. Lisa says:

    As seems the consensus, I also always shake my bottle of test strips. I thought it was just my weirdness. Also, I am a blood sucker. I just can’t shake my vampiric ways. I love the looks I get. 🙂

  8. I’m a shaker too! I test Ellie and then I wipe the blood from her finger onto mine and apply it to my pants…right knee side…all of my clothes have the same little stain! Thankfully the wash does take the bulk of evidence out! Not sure what she’ll do when she’s doing her own testing full time??? Probably walk around with her finger in the air thinking what do I do with this?! HA!

  9. Kaitake says:

    Hehehe, awesome post! I too lick my finger, but only because that’s “environmentally friendly!” 🙂 I just had an idea for this of you who prefer to wipe your finger – what about sticking a piece of one of those black pantylinets into your testing case? My case is black, and the black liners are available here, cheap, with sticky glue already to go! Just change it weekly. How’s that for lateral thinking?

  10. Martin Wood says:

    I guess I’m the weirdo that still uses alcohol swabs. I swear by them, and even know the differences in quality and brands. But I’m totally with the folks who have a case full of used supplies. Sometimes I’ll let them accumulate for awhile, open my kit, and get a big ol’ whiff of alcohol fumes that were just waiting to escape. Or I’ll try to cram a spare pump inset in the front pocket of my meter case, and it won’t fit because there is “No Vacancy” in my kit. Ah, a day in the life of a person with diabetes.

  11. Sarah Jane says:

    *Raises Hand* me too. 🙂

  12. Haha. I just noticed recently that I always shake the container. I normally just rub the blood with my thumb and it’s gone. Next time I hang out with a fellow diabetic I’m going to be watching to see what they do.

  13. Rachel says:

    Holy crap, are we diabetes twins?? You’re seriously freaking me out here! hahah

    Comedy gold, as usual. I lick the blood off too…so gross!

    But really, washing my hands and applying alcohol swabs 5+ times a day? “They” should just be stoked we test in the first place.

    I’m a TOTAL shaker too. omg!

  14. jackie says:

    i’m vampire too! I hate it when i accidentally get blood on white shirt! So that’s why they make detergent that gets out blood…i always thought i was for something else lol

  15. Mellena says:

    My son does the same thing. I try to get him to lick it off by he refuses. Love your blog by the way.

  16. Mother of type 1 says:

    So someone else wipes onto the meter case too! My son does this, right on top of the mesh pocket that holds all the extra lancets he carries around just in case the mood to change a lancet might strike while he is out and about. In the scheme of gross things your kids are capable of doing, this one doesn’t really strike me as very gross at all, even though it does turn that mesh stuff kind of orange and shiny after a while. Maybe that’s because I was so in awe of the fact that he would quite willingly puncture his finger several times a day, starting at the age of nine. He would never, ever lick his finger, because he thinks that is disgusting. To each his or her own.

  17. Kari says:

    I too am a wiper!

  18. Kati says:

    my testing is almost identical to this, but i must admit i’m a licker. 🙂

  19. Diane J says:

    OMG! I am so glad I am not the only one. I use my old bottle of test strips for the trash for the used strips. My log book is a biohazard territory. I also wipe my finger on my jeans.

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