Hello…I’m a Glucometer

Diabetes Blog Week

Write a short story personifying a diabetes tool you use on a daily basis. A meter, syringe, pump, pill, etc. Give it a personality and a name and let it speak through you. What would it be happy about, upset about, mad about?  (Thank you Heather of Unexpected Blues for this topic.)

Hello, my name is Fred and I am a glucometer.  You would think with a job as important as mine that I would get a lot of respect but I don’t.  I am shoved in dark pockets, thrown around and basically taken for granted. Its a very rough life.

I am expected to be ready for service at all times of the day. It doesn’t matter if I worked hard all day, they still expect me to be bright-eyed and shining at three in the morning. And when I say shining, I mean that they really want me to light up all nice and bright showing them glowing pretty numbers. When they are done with me, they just toss me off to the side again.

My job is tireless.  They smear blood all over me.  They curse at me when they don’t like what the reading is.  Like that is my fault? How is it that I control what their blood glucose is going to be? I deserve a lot more respect.

The only time I get respect is when the parents or the doctor take a look at me.  They know how important I am.  They look at my display as if they are reading a holy gospel.  They value me and my knowledge.  My owner? Well, he looks at me like I am a rock, a burden that he is forced to carry around. I am the unwanted younger brother that he has to take everywhere.

Why does he have to think of me that way? It hurts my feelings. I am just trying to do my job. I am trying to work with him to keep him healthy.  I know that it can be tedious. It’s not picnic for me either. I mean, I have to be on all of the time! There is no time when I can be just a little less accurate. I have to bring my A-game every time we meet.  Its exhausting but I don’t get any praise or appreciation.

He just doesn’t get it and some times I get mad as well and when I do, I get even in my own way.  When he just grumpily and shoves a strip in me and expects me to instantly produce results, I come back and tell him “Error 4”.  Oh does that get his goat! He has to retest and take his time to treat me a little nicer–getting all of his blood just so on the test strip so that I will read it for him.  After he has done that, I reward him by saying “HI” but he doesn’t often see the humor in that one. I don’t understand why.  Isn’t it important to be friendly now and then? Perhaps if he could be a little nicer, we could work together a bit better and I wouldn’t have to resort to cheap jibes.

Maybe one day he will get it. One day he might understand how important I am! Oh well, at least he takes me most places. I usually only hear about the spots that we go to from the inside of a pocket but at least I get to tag along.  It’s not easy being me.  I guess it’s not easy being him either, but I still say, “work with me dude! It will make things so much easier!”  Darn! I shouldn’t have said that so loud, here comes another check. Back to work!

hi meter

Go Ahead and Complain

The other week I noticed nothing but customer service complaints filling my Facebook news feed. I was shocked and wondered if there was something in the wind.  It didn’t matter if someone was in a restaurant or dealing with their cell phone, they were having issues with horrific customer service. Sadly, this made me feel better when I began to have my own issues.

My son’s glucometer was having issues. It was eating batteries with astonishing speed. It had reached a point where he was no longer using it much to my dismay.  This is the meter that “talks” to his pump and gives me a true idea of his bg levels each week when we review things.

I called the customer support number and so began my run around. It appears, in a review of my situation later, that every crack that I could fall through I did! It was terribly frustrating but it also reminded me of a few things.

First is how important our pharmaceutical reps can be when we have problems.  After asking around and finding out that the service I was receiving was extremely unusual, I contacted my rep to see if she could be of any assistance.  She was horrified!  She apologized and was instantly looking for any and all help that she could get for me.  She did not stop until things were resolved.  I loved this lady before she became my son’s pump rep and now I truly love how she goes above and beyond for her customers.

Secondly was how those annoying spiels about how they are recording your conversations actually have a benefit to the customer. If you know exactly when you called and you feel that you were not treated properly, management can pull up the call and see what has happened.  In my case, I was treated fine, my issue just got lost in many transitions.  I have however received horrible service from a person on the phone with a different glucometer years ago.  The woman told me that the problem with my meter’s accuracy was related to me having dirty towels that my son was drying his hands on.  To say I was insulted was an understatement.  Later follow-up resolved that issue and the woman was re-educated.

Customer service is huge for those of us who’s lives, or children’s lives, depend on medical equipment.  Personally, I have met many people in the industry from all over North America.  They all genuinely want to help.  “Stuff” does happen.  Mistakes can be made but I have also learned that these same companies want to learn from their mistakes.  Let your reps know if you have issues.  They want to fix things for you. They want you to be healthy and satisfied with their products. That’s good for everyone.

complaints

Error 5

error 5I looked over and my clock said 3:00am exactly. My mind said, “what are you doing awake?” My heart said, “Get your sorry butt out of bed and check your child’s blood sugar.” Stupid heart!

I keep lighting to a minimum during these checks because basically, I don’t want to wake myself up. I know how hard it is to get me back to sleep and I really don’t want to experience that sort of torture.  I found a meter on the kitchen table. I inserted a test strip, grabbed a lancing device and headed up the stairs to check my sleeping child’s blood.  

My mind was screaming, “You’ve only just fallen asleep so you KNOW he is going to be low! You are just never going to get any sleep tonight!”

I tried to ignore myself. I searched for an available finger and eventually wrestle it down. The blood flow was good that night. He must have been high. I waited for those five seconds to see…..Error 5.

What the…..???? What the heck is an “error 5” anyway? Back downstairs to get another test strip. Stupid meter. There was a tonne of blood. Did the diabetes gods not realize that this is just going to wake me up?? I did not need exercise at 3am! 

Okay, new test strip, back upstairs, wrestle finger again, lots of blood still, strip full and…..Error 5.  What the heck is a flippin’ Error 5??? I had had enough! Back downstairs I went for the third freaking time.

Can you tell that diabetes had done it and woken me up? Yep, I was awake and I was not taking this crap from this meter. I grabbed its identical, although slightly different colored twin, who was coded for the same test strip lot. I also grabbed the bottle of test strips. I would get a reading without doing my morning workout on the stairs!

Again, I found a hand as it stretches in its sleep.  I snafu’d it quickly and lanced it. The blood remained lovely and deep red. Strip sipped said blood and….Finally a reading of 7.5 (135)! Good enough for me. I didn’t need a perfect 7. I needed some sleep! 



Stupid diabetes!