I've always been a wiper -- a blood wiper, that is. Never a licker, or someone who rubs my fingers together after a glucose test to get rid of the excess blood.
Nope, in my 30+ years of doing blood tests, my routine has typically been to just wipe my finished finger on the inside of my meter case. Occasionally, I've used tissues, a paper towel, or even the bottom of my comfy office chair.
This might sound gross to some. But then again, for many fellow type 1 diabetics, a few drops of blood just aren't a big deal anymore -- considering we poke our fingers so many times a day.
But now, there's a handy new product that gives us glucose-testers a more sanitary way to do away with that extra blood on our fingers. It's called Dabs (formerly Diabetic Dabs before going more mainstream), and these are created by a Massachusetts D-Mom named Liz Sacco. She's created a little "Small But Mighty" business out of these dabs and is getting some pretty snazzy reviews by those in the Diabetes Community.
Liz started this all after her oldest of four sons, David, was diagnosed in March 2011 at 9 years old. While helping him with fingerstick tests, she realized they were having a constant struggle to find a clean and easy way for him to wipe off excess blood -- not to mention a way to prevent him from wiping the blood on his pants!
Necessity being the mother of invention, Liz came up with an idea for little matchbook-sized pads of non-toxic, highly-absorbent sheets that tear away after each use (or a few, in my case). Like Post-It note pads, these have an adhesive back that you can peel away and stick onto any blood glucose kit to carry with you easily. Liz says this invention made David's daily testing process a lot easier and cleaner and his clothes stayed blood-free.
Here's how Liz tells her story:
As anyone with diabetes can tell you, testing your blood sugar levels is a regular part of every day. With David being a young and active boy, he tests his blood minimally six times a day. I attempted to find an efficient solution to help simplify his testing routine. I tried placing a travel size Kleenex in his case, which was much too cumbersome. I put a single tissue in his case, which he would wastefully throw out after just one use. I felt not only were we trying to balance his new lifestyle, but we had an added aggravation with where to wipe his finger after the blood glucose testing. Being a typical nine year old boy, David resorted to wiping his finger on the inside of his case or on his clothes. Two years later, with testing his blood minimally six times a day, that adds up to over 4,000 pieces of stained clothes and a very blood-soaked case!
After diligently searching for two years for a solution to this simple problem, I decided to develop Dabs. I started my company with the hopes of making a positive impact in the lives of those living with diabetes. As a member of the diabetes community, I am passionate about helping to simplify and improve the lives of families like ours. As such, a portion of the proceeds from Dabs will be donated to diabetes research.
The Dabs traditionally came in little square pads, but they've also recently added new heart-shaped pads for a little added fun. Liz tells us she hopes to introduce even more shapes down the road, too! Liz sent me a box of the original square Diabetic Dabs recently, and I have to admit that they're pretty handy. Of course, my instinct is still to just wipe my finger on my case like I've always done, so I've been struggling a bit to remember to use them.
Since I'm a Flintstones fan, I couldn't resist tweaking the hallmark "Yabba Dabba Do" cheer into my own version, "Dabba Dabba Do!" every time I did a blood test and wiped my finger on the dabs. For reasons I can't explain myself, I even went so far as to decorate the front of my dab-pads with that line and a little Flintstones image I printed up and pasted on.
See, even grown-up PWDs like to have a little fun with their supplies! Ya know :)
Of course, there are a few suggestions I would offer Liz to consider for the future, to make Diabetic Dabs even better:
- Even at the size of a matchbook, it does seem to be a big pad for only a single drop of blood. I used each pad at least a few times before tearing it off and starting a new one. So, maybe they could be a little smaller?
- Whether I wiped my finger once or a few times, the sheets are very absorbent and thin so they "bleed through" (ha!) to the next one, and even a few layers through. I noticed that my little blood droplet seeped through to about the next four pads. So if they don't need to be thicker, then perhaps we need a sheet to protect the yet-unused pads -- like the plastic sheet that checkbooks offer to protect the carbon copy checks underneath the one you're writing on. Actually, I created my own solution by tearing off the little cardboard cover on one pad and putting that in between the Dab sheets -- and it worked perfectly!
- I am not always the brightest bulb, and it took me longer than it should have to figure out that the Dab pads have that adhesive backing you peel off to expose the sticky part. Maybe there could be a little note on the box that just says, "Peel away backing" for those people like me who just don't find it so obvious.
Diabetic Dabs are actually pretty affordable and you can order online.
While prices vary by location and change over time, they're pretty affordable for 200 or 1,000 count boxes of Dabs.... Price checks show it's really only about 3-4 cents per wipe, and if you re-use them, it's an even better bargain. Nice! And as mentioned above, a portion of the net proceeds go to research, so you're not only helping out a D-Mom, but also a great cause.