Meters and Other Stuff

There I sat on my scooter, in a patch of ice and snow in the dark of early evening. I was close enough to my house to touch it, but couldn’t get in. My scooter just kind of sat at the bottom of the ramp, looked up, and said: “Uh-uh. Not gonna go there. You can try all you want, but it ain’t gonna work.”


And that’s how I came to spend the night in a hotel about five miles away from a perfectly good house I’ve lived in for more than 20 years. (On the other hand, I had a king-sized bed that was mine, all mine, and I didn’t have to share the remote with anybody else. I could get used to that.)

That’s one of the problems with this “handicapped” thing: If your scooter doesn’t want to maneuver in the cold and/or if there’s ice and snow on the ramp, you’re stuck. If an ingredient you need is out of reach or is too large to use a grabber, you’re not making that dish right now. If the dishes are too high to reach, you have to find something else to eat. (And who all of a sudden decided to put the dishes away instead of leaving them in the dish drain where they can be reached, anyway?)

Which brings up the question of accessibility, which takes us back to the hotel. I had an accessible room. Was it? Pretty much. The room, that is. There was plenty of room for maneuvering and a handy outlet to plug my scooter’s charger into.

But the bathroom was a different matter. There were plenty of grab bars in the tub, but no seat. To position myself so I could slide over onto the toilet, I had to start in the hallway, back into the bathroom and maneuver around in a small space to get my scooter next to the aforementioned appliance. The sink was in an adorable little alcove. It’s a good thing I carry antibacterial wipes with me because there was no way I was getting anywhere near the sink. So much for brushing my teeth, too.

I mentioned the problems to the desk clerk on the way out. She wanted to refund half my money. I declined. It’s not about the money: It’s about making people aware of things that need to be fixed. I hope all of you speak up when you notice things that aren’t quite right.

Blood glucose meters can have accessibility problems, too. People with vision problems may be unable to use a meter with a small screen — or may even need a talking meter. Problems handling small strips? Some meters have large strips. Some have strips that are on a disc on in a drum so you never have to handle individual strips. Tiny meters may not be best for those with arthritis in their hands.

Your best bet is to see a certified diabetes educator, who should be able to walk you through what you need and make some recommendations. If you’ve never been referred to a CDE, ask to be. They’re very handy people to know.

If there’s a diabetes program near you, there will probably be vendors showing their wares. That will include meter companies. Go and get some hands-on time.

Make a list of what you want and/or need: Ability to upload data? Large screen? Small sample size? Alternate site testing? Go to a meter comparison site, such as the one here and see if you can find your dream meter that way.

You may not get everything you want. So prioritize. Find meters that have the feature that’s most important to you — for example, larger strips or strips on a disc or in a drum — then compare all meters with that feature to find the one you like best.

There’s no reason you have to use the meter you’re handed. You do have a choice. (Unless, of course, you have a continuous glucose monitor that uses only one kind of strip, which means you’re confined to one kind of meter.)

And don’t forget that your meter is covered by insurance if you have a prescription for one. Strips are, too. Yes, I know they’re over the counter. Doesn’t matter. If you have a prescription, your insurance will cover it.

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  • Natalie Sera

    I just wish my insurance would cover a CDE — they have a lifetime benefit of $50, which I used up a long time ago! All it does is allow them to say they cover diabetes education, what a joke! So they’re in compliance with Nevada law, but don’t really understand what diabetes education is. But what do you expect of a board made up of teachers who don’t know anything about medicine anyway!

    Good luck with getting your new life set up and accommodated, and have a happy new year!

  • jim snell

    Jan – merry Christmas best wishes. Special thanks for all your introspections and comments on disabilities and impact. They are massive.

    Big problem is we have folks designing this crap who have never faced these issues becase they are 99.9 per cent disability free.

    Bathroom’s, showers and manervability major issue. I had to have my son come in here and add safety bars,hand holds etc. In fact hospital demanded it before they turned me loose on the world.

    Glucose Meters – yup – right on. I had to throw out those tiny displays when my stroke knocked out binoccular display. Took major effort to find optometrist crew that could manage strabismus issues and get prisoms invoked to kill the two images for price of one.

    Lastly, glucose meters – you need min one meter that has FAD-GDH technology that is oxygen insensitive and targeted to human glucose and rejects other. Or – one of those meters and a cheaper alternative so that when fun begins you can check against the FAD-GDH technology.

    Contrary to the nuts who marshall artic lemmings, I routinely check meters against each other and find when no crap sugars in blood, ALL meters run good/fine. As soon as crap shows up, I see 30 to 200 offset. ( hello FDA – where are you?)
    I routinely get two different meters comparing with eqal readings and sometimes 1 to 10 points off between em. When crap sugars show up, offset is dramatic and continuous for 4 to 6 hours.

    Test strips martial food fungus – aspergillus
    to work this issue. Most meters use strip that are some form of aspergillus niger – glucose oxidase while latest use aspergillus oxydase – glucose dehydronase. See article from Kobe universtity
    detailing comparison of technologies.

    Having your meter suddenly out by 60 to 200 points for 4 to 6 hours over trick sugars you ingested is real mycardial heart attack time. It is not just hospitals have this problem, I routinely find food at grocery store that causes havoc.

  • Peg York

    Didn’t realize you were using a scooter. Haven’t seen you in 15 yrs! We are now in Florida. Rob also has a scooter, but he is still able to get around on his own.

    After 51 yrs of being insulin dependent, we are now facing many problems. He was recently diagnosed with an irregular heart beat. His numbers also put him close to dialysis.

    Diabetes is a terrible disease and the complications are many. We are hoping that some day there may be a answer and that our grandchildren will not have or pass it on to their children.