A humbling experience

Lab Note #4
May 29, 2014
For one week, I tried to understand what individuals with diabetes do on a regular basis by testing my blood sugar 5 times per day.  Not having diabetes myself or any immediate family members with the disease, to call myself a novice is an understatement.

On a Wednesday night at about 9:30pm, I made up my mind that I was going to go to Walgreen's and buy what I needed to test my blood sugar.  I spent about 10 minutes looking at the diabetes testing supplies section before giving up and talking to a pharmacist.  From there, I was instructed to purchase Walgreen's TRUEtrack Blood Glucose Monitoring Kit, a box of 50 lancets and a container of 50 test strips.  This was the least expensive option and still, I spent $54 for one week of testing supplies.

That night, I brought everything back to my apartment and tried to practice testing my blood sugar since the next morning would be the start of day 1 and testing 5 times a day.  8 test strips later, I was able to record my first blood glucose reading.  I couldn't believe how expensive the test strips were at the pharmacy and unsuccessfully using eight with various error codes was extremely frustrating.  

Throughout the week, I ran into several problems that I imagine most diabetics experience at one time or another.  The morning of day 1, I learned how important it was to be hydrated in order to get a large enough blood sample to actually get a glucose reading.  After a cup of coffee and a small breakfast (with not much water the previous evening or that morning), it was nearly impossible to get a large enough blood sample.  Needless to say, I ended up with a bruised (and rather sore) finger after squeezing my finger multiple times to collect a sample and avoid relancing the same spot.     

I also learned that some sites were better for drawing blood than others.  On one occasion, I had to prick my finger four times in order to get any blood at all.  Not only was this painful but it took longer and delayed my dinner since I was trying to collect a post-workout/pre-dinner glucose measurement.  Later in the week, I found myself conflicted between relancing a sore spot on my finger that I knew would yield a large enough volume or trying a new site that might be less painful but perhaps might not give enough blood to collect a measurement.    

After completing this exercise, I have a new appreciation for what individuals with diabetes do on a regular basis.  Blood sugar testing is still only part of the process - insulin injections and what I imagine to be extremely unpleasant feelings of high or low blood sugar are all part of what people with diabetes experience.  I am hopeful that evaluating Azurite's technology through proof of concept testing will lead to a breakthrough in blood glucose monitoring and allow those with diabetes to live less interrupted lives.

-Kelly Zebrowski
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