Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Down the Rabbit Hole

There are no stupid questions, just stupid people.

I was stupid today. But even if I'm stupid, it seems there are others out there even more challenged than I am.

Ever have a conversation with someone and wonder if you'd somehow landed at the Mad Hatter's Tea Party?

First let me set this up. For those of you who don't know, I have Type 1 diabetes, use an insulin pump, and test my blood several times a day. When I tested at lunchtime, for some reason, there was still an old test strip sticking out of the meter from my last test. It didn't register with me that I should have put in a new one to get a new test. So I stuck my finger to get the blood, and applied it to the old used strip. If this happened to any one of a number of other meters that I have, I'd get an error.

Countdown 5 - 4 - 3 - 2 - 1, and then the result displayed. It was not the error code that it should have displayed, but it was a number that I knew could not be. (A small problem, because that number automatically registers in my pump, which is what the pump bases my next dose on. Lucky for me, the pump forgets this number after awhile.) Anyway, it was an oops.

Being the curious sort that I am, I tested 3 more times with some old strips that were still hanging around my kit, just to see what would happen - an experiment of sorts. The second test gave me another impossible number. The third gave me an error code, and the fourth, another number.

So I thought I'd call the pump people to tell them.

Anyway, they never heard of such a thing, said they would report this to the people that care there. After a fashion, I ended up being transferred to the meter manufacturer, a different company, to let them know about this curious and mysterious issue.

This is the conversation, more or less:

Me: I was really silly, made a mistake, and used an old test strip by mistake. I'd never do this normally, and I expected an error, but it gave me a result. Just to make sure, I tried 3 more times, and got the error only once. Shouldn't I get an error every time?

Her: You should never re-use a test strip.

Me (in my head): Well, duh. I know, that was part of my preamble.

Me: Yes, I know. I'd never normally do that. My concern is that it didn't give me an error, except for once, and I thought you should know about this issue, just for the record. Also, I certainly won't be doing that again.

Her: You know, you should never re-use a test strip. The results would not be reliable.

Me: Umm, sure.

Well, the conversation went on from there, but she didn't waver from her mission to make sure that I understood, under no uncertain terms, that I shouldn't have done that. In the end, she did offer to send me another meter, at no charge.

Well, thank you, I'm sure. I guess case closed. That was worthwhile.

Contributed by Jamie Naessens

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