Size Matters

Last night around midnight I woke to check Sugarboy’s blood sugar.

He uses the Animas Ping pump with Ping meter. The Ping meter uses the One Touch Ultra test strips.

We have been using the Ping and One Touch Ultra meters for over 7 years. We love the Ping and feel pretty good about the Ping meter although it isn’t our favorite meter. We prefer the One Touch VerioIQ meter because of the color screen, smaller blood sample size and the very appreciated light at the test strip port. My two older kids both use the VerioIQ – one also uses Ping pump but doesn’t wish to use the Ping Meter. My oldest uses the TSlim pump so there would be no reason for her to use the Ping meter.

I don’t know exactly when the change was made – I can’t remember what I had for breakfast yesterday so remembering when One Touch made the change would be ridiculous. I believe it has been within the last year though.

When the change was made I was initially excited – yea for having more strips in a container. Other test strips manufacturers had been putting 50 per container for some time.

It took only a few days for the change to seriously frustrate my son. He is only 10 and has tiny fingers but still had a hard time retrieving a test strip from a freshly opened canister. The frustration continued until he had used about 20 test strips. To combat his frustration (and mine) we began just putting half the strips from a new canister into the nearly empty or empty canister he was using. This worked fine albeit annoying. The problem of course would be if we ever had issues with the test strips there would be no way of knowing if the test strips were truly part of the LOT number listed on the canister. Not really an issue since we never had a quality issue to report.

So last night like I said, I woke up to check my son’s blood sugar. He had just replaced his canister of test strips at his last check. He didn’t just reload his empty canister – he put a whole new canister in his diabetes bag. That meant it had 49 test strips in it.

Considering my 10-year-old with tiny fingers has trouble getting a new strip out of a new canister of strips you can imagine my frustration at midnight with my 40-year-old fingers that aren’t nearly as cute and slim as my sons. After my third attempt at pulling up a single test strip I had to shake them half way out of the canister to retrieve one. This resulted in a half-dozen strips falling into the bed-clothes. Since the Ping meter doesn’t have a light like the Verio I was doing this with only the dim light of the hallway. Since test strips are costly and not to be wasted I had to turn on the bedroom light to find the renegade strips. I watched my boy squeeze his eyes tighter shut as the light flooded the room. I found more than a half-dozen within the bedding. Realizing that some might be used (my boy puts his used strips back into his Dbag and opening the Dbag sometimes allows the used strips to slip out) I had to then peer at each strip with my sleep deprived eyes to determine if it already held DNA or if was an unused strip.

This whole process took about 7-10 minutes. Not a ton of time but those 7-10 minutes felt like a lifetime in the middle of the night.

Frustrated and more than a bit angry I sent a tweet to One Touch. I think I sent multiple tweets. But one tweet got the attention of One Touch.

strip2photoToday One Touch responded to my tweet. They asked me to DM them. Here’s my issue with sending a DM. Trying to express my frustration in 140 characters is like stuffing 50 test strips into a canister made to hold 25. Although I appreciate they reached out.

Here is the problem via pictures:

strip4photo

We have both Verio and Ultra in our home – different kids with diabetes means different preferences for diabetes tools.

The Verio canister is the same size as the Ultra canister and both contain 50 test strips.

strip3photo

 

Notice the the difference in ‘free space’ between the two types of test strips – both are new canisters containing 50 strips each. There is no issue retrieving a Verio test strip. Retrieving an Ultra test strip from a new canister is close to impossible unless they are shaken loose (often resulting in spills).

Why the difficulties with one and not the other? Well if you can’t see the difference in the size of the strips from the above photo look here…

strip1photo

Size matters people. The Ultra test strip is thicker. BTW it also requires more blood but that’s off topic.

One Touch in their response to my tweet said they wanted to help.

Dear One Touch – Im not sure how you can help. It means a lot that you responded at all. We have been loyal One Touch customers for many years. Not that we haven’t tried other meters but we always return to you. I’ve already said how much we like the VerioIQ. Anyway – my youngest likes using his ping meter to remote bolus. How can you help – work with (if you’re not already) Animas to get the VerioIQ to have the same technology as the Ping meter so it can remote bolus. That would be the best solution. Might be out of your hands though. I appreciate any attempt made to reduce waste and make managing diabetes easier and I believe those were likely the contributing factors that lead to putting 50 Ultra strips into the same canister that used to hold 25. I actually applauded the decision initially because it meant half the waste and less time replacing canisters in my kids diabetes supply bags. But alas – the first two to three days of a new canister is really frustrating. Im just not sure there is anything you can do to remedy the problem without increasing the size of the canisters. I see a few problems with increasing the size of the canisters: a) it would seem counter productive since you would no longer be reducing the waste b) would leave more space then necessary in the Verio canisters, assuming you would still use the same canister for both types of strips c) no one wants to increase the amount of bulk their diabetes supplies create.

Thank you One Touch for responding to my middle-of-the-night exhausted Dmom slightly irrational tweet.

If you still wish to chat I can always be reached at stickwithitsugar@gmail.com.

 

 

About Christina

Mom of 3 kids, all 3 have Type 1 diabetes - I blog to share stories. I am not a medical professional and my thoughts are my own. Please do not make changes to your medical care plan based on my stories - always consult your medical team. Hope you find something in my ramblings helpful and or amusing. You can find me on twitter @momof3T1s and on my Facebook page Stick With It Sugar. May all your dreams forever be bolus worthy.
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12 Responses to Size Matters

  1. Kim says:

    When you open a new container, take half the strips out of it and put them in the old container. Now you have two 25 counts, and when the newest one is empty again, repeat with a new container and discard the older one.

    Voila!

  2. Scott E says:

    “Trying to express my frustration in 140 characters is like stuffing 50 test strips into a canister made to hold 25.” Most brilliant thing I’ve read all day!

    And I’ve done the same thing as you (except for the tweeting OneTouch and being a mom part). I used to tip the canisters so half of each strip would fall in the palm of my hand, then I’d hold one in place with one of my fingers as I dumped the rest back (or not). Crawling around looking for the escapees, and then inspecting them to see if they were bludgeoned or not, was a regular routine.

    But now that my pump is compatible with a Bayer meter, that’s just not a problem anymore. I hope J&J comes out with an upgrade for you.

  3. Great post. I’ve done the same thing. We went from the OneTouch to the Verio IQ (and still have 4!). My DD wanted to switch to the Bayer Contour Next Meter so it beams to her Medtronic pump.

    We miss the light of the Verio IQ, the teensy amount of blood required for testing, and the cost. Gah! I love reading about other people’s preferences. Must be interesting having three differing opinions in the house!

    • Christina says:

      “Interesting” – that is a fun word to describe how my kids share their opinions with each other and me. Yes that fits – I often rest one elbow on the island as I sip a vintage pinot and listen intently as my kids converse calmly regarding all things diabetes <<< said no mother of multiples ever. Sorry - I shouldn't jest - it is fun to chat with the kids about their individual preferences regarding diabetes care and tools. I do feel it gives me a unique perspective on how different all the people and families in the diabetes community are.

  4. Suzanne hoy says:

    OMG! I am glad to know it is not just us. Good gosh I never realized it I just assume my skills are fading.

  5. Briley says:

    One of the (not often thought about) things I love about the Verio is that I can always grab a strip, no matter how many are in the vial!

  6. Cassie says:

    That’s awesome they responded. Hopefully there will be some type of solution.

  7. Need A Nap2 says:

    Very nice of them to respond. I agree, the One Touch meters need more blood. 🙁 My oldest daughter has the t:slim. I think we should’ve received a reward for keeping up with her One Touch Ultralink meter (linked to her Medtronic pump) for four years! Since the t:slim didn’t have a linked meter we had to go with something insurance would cover. Of the available choices, she chose Freestyle Lite (feels really old), small blood sample and ability to add more blood. 🙂

    • Christina says:

      haven’t ever tried the freestyle. I have friends that use it though. Right now the VerioIQ works well for 2/3 of my kids. If the Animas Vibe comes out soon we will loose our link meter anyway in exchange for a CGM/Pump combo that can be trusted.

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