I've had diabetes for 26 years, A lot has changed since then.
I stared on Regular insulin and NPH.
Does anyone else remember those test strips that you had to time with a watch, and wipe the blood off after a min, and then you only got a range in the end of say 80-140 or 150-200 . HA !
Makes the CGM seem like spot on perfect ! It is hard to believe any of us survived those days.
My first finger stick meter weighed 2 lbs and I felt lucky to have it !
I wonder if anyone else out there remembers even before that.
Humulin R just came out as I was diagnosed so I never used animal insulin.
I went to the Minimed museum after I had my pump training and those early pumps were laughable !
How did anyone dose insulin before home testing? Surely there is 1 or 2 people who survived to tell.
I was dx'ed in 1984 and remember the blotters! I never used animal insulin either. I think that before testing, the doc would guesstimate a dosage and prescribe a fixed amount of food based on, what I presume would be height/ weight/ age data and you'd eat to the insulin, and make adjustments if you were passing out all the time?
The more progressive docs, before bg testing, used urine testing as a very rough substitute. I have a workbook from the late 70's or early 80's, based all around 2 times a day R+N with dose adjustment based on urine tests. It really was pretty empowering, compared to having the doc do all the dose adjustments. All that said, I had some really super lopsided doses back then, and when I switched (... late 80's?) to a MDI scheme with shots 4x a day, rather than twice a day, it was such a huge leap forward.
Blotters!! OMG, along with the old blue (accucheck, right?) meter that weighed about the same as a brick. And they required so much blood. Ugh. Yes, back then, our insulin was dosed based on weight. And then you ate, exercised, and lived around that dosage (especially the NPH peaks).
You are talking about "Chemstrips". They were on the market from like... 1981 until like 1999 or so.
Just before the chemstrips, for home bg testing, there were some strips sold by Ames that were fuzzy and the blood had to be washed off under running water not just wiped off. Those were a PITA. Chemstrips were so much better.
The first finger-sticker they gave me circa 1982 was the "Autolet". The pic below I pulled off the web and isn't exactly like what I had in 1982 but is very very close:
Of course before then for urine we had "Testape" and "Diastix" and the tablets in test tubes that got hot. Oohhh... I cannot remember the name of those. All of those were urine tests that would not indicate anything until bg got above 180.
When I was first diagnosed, to get a bg test, I had to go to the local doc's office, his nurse would draw the blood, then send it to the local hospital lab, and in the next day or two they would call my parents back with the number.
When I was first diagnosed, they taught me how to boil glass syringes for re-use, and they even gave me my own U-40 glass syringe, although I never actually did use the glass (I went straight to plastic upon discharge from the hospital).
A very big part of diabetic education I remember from back then was the difference between U-40 and U-100. They drilled that into me very deep. I still get bothered when I see a modern insulin vial that doesn't have an orange top.
I was on animal insulins all the way up through the late 90's. Just never switched until I had to.
Thank you! "Clinitest" I had forgotten the brand name. I remember carrying those to junior high school and a glass test tube that got broken way too often. Not that I was all that enthusiastic about bg testing when they switched me to it, I remember being horrified that in addition to urine testing I would have to do bg testing, it seemed like the biggest burden in the world. And here today I'd feel naked if I walked out of the house without a bg meter in my pocket.
I know my local hospital was behind the times but even today I find it curious they gave me a glass U-40 syringe when I was discharged. I came along later than you and I never used the glass syringe or U-40 insulin at home, just in the hospital.
I remember the Tes-Tape. I had some sort of a meter but could never figure out how it worked. Therefore, it wasn't used.
No wonder that years ago, I just didn't care. A Milky Way is still one of nature's most perfect foods.
I had a meter for the chemstrips but it was the size of a shoebox and I never ever used it. OK, maybe once a month. I just read them visually for the longest time.
And your milky way comment reminds me of a memory that I had nearly suppressed:
The "classic ADA approved hypo cure" in the 70's and 80's was extra table sugar mixed into orange juice.
Oh, god, I hated that. Even today 30+ years later the thought of orange juice with sugar mixed into it just makes me gag. I remember at the local hospital them trying to force me to drink that on at least a couple of occasions because they didn't know if I was hypo or not and didn't want to take any chances (before home or even portable bg testing). Gah!!! I'd almost suppressed those memories...!!!
Remember the glucose tolerance test? I remember having one of those when
I was first diagnosed, and by the time the shoved the needle into my vain for about the fifteenth time, I thought I would have rather been thrown under a bus. Never again would I take one of those, although it was recommended several times.
Believe it or not, in the United States, they still teach EMS providers that orange juice mixed with table sugar is an option for patients if they test low and are conscious, or if you are unable to test their blood glucose but suspect it might be low i.e. altered mental status- I have used it before, but only because I hate taking patients with mild hypoglycemia to the ED, which I would have to do if I started an IV to give dextrose. We don't carry oral glucose on ambulances where I am from.
We used to test urine sugar in the '50s and 60's. The only time blood glucose testing was done was for a dr. visit. You would have a test tube and eye dropper. Put five drops of urine in the test tube, 10 drops of water in, and then drop in a "Clinitest" test tablet. The solution would boil for a few seconds and change color. The scale was from "negative" to one plus, two plus, three plus and finally four plus. Negative was a blue color, and four plus was a dark orange color. One to three plus' were lighter shades of orange. It is a miracle we've survived this long!
Wish I had a nickel for every time I did it.