Confession time: I test my glucose everywhere. I don't care who sees. That includes the checkout line at Trader Joe's, where some fellow shoppers looked especially grossed out the other day not simply by my drawing blood, but the act of licking my finger afterward. It's none of their business of course (they don't have to do this crap!) but it reminded me that four years after I wrote about diabetes finger lickin', I haven't found any great alternatives...
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So do you? Here's the original post — a little off-season — from October 2006:
Finger Lickin' Good
Let's see a show of hands here: How many of you lick your finger to get the blood off after glucose testing?
Well, of course you do. Otherwise the digit keeps bleeding and you end up with spots all over your shirt/steering wheel/wallet, right? It's perfectly natural. Even non-diabetics do it after they get a little nick, don't they?
But I've found that this practice seems to be a much bigger deal than the glucose testing itself. Even some endos I've met are totally grossed out by it. And outsiders say things like, "You like the taste of blood?" "Why yes, diabetic is just a euphemism for vampire, of course!"
I also met an elderly PWD at a conference lately who compulsively washes her hands before each glucose test. She swears up and down that the oils and sweat on the fingers make your meter go coo-coo. Ugh, I thought, in that case I probably haven't had a single accurate fingerstick test yet.
Of course, the experts recommend that you should "check the package insert for each meter to find out what substances might affect its testing accuracy." You mean all those little pamphlets and folded papers we usually stuff in a cabinet somewhere? Oh yeah, I'll do that (someday).
Meanwhile, in real life, most of us are still lickin' our fingers and getting on with it. Even those of us using CGM, I might add, which still requires plenty of fingerstick tests/day.
And speaking of finger lickin' good, what about those GLUCOSE TABS? Let's take a moment to mentally savor that gaggingly sweet sensation. I would like to think of a low as my chance to consume CANDY. But if it were, it'd be Chocolate Hour of course. Never those pure-sugar tarts. Yech.
Remember, there are lots of places to look up the carbohydrate counts of common candies. My Halloween festivities actually start tomorrow, with the annual birthday bash for my now-turning-four year old. Surrounded by unlimited nibbles, rich foods, cake and candy (flowing from a Dora The Explorer Pinata even), this is my pre-test for the upcoming Holiday Season. Aaargh! Hope yours is finger lickin' good.
Afterwards, some readers organized a poll.
Turns out, of over 500 respondents, nearly 50% do the finger lick "every time" or "frequently." I find this strangely comforting ;). Seriously though, who's got a better idea?