Mike Hoskins

If you ever lock your keys in the car, old diabetes supplies could be the key to getting the doors unlocked.

That was almost the case for me the other day, when I found myself "MacGyvering" my boxed-up supply of former glucose meters to get inside the locked SUV running its engine in my driveway (yikes!).

For those who don't know what "MacGyvering" is, it's the street lingo for tinkering with an item to make it something that it shouldn't be but that works out perfectly for whatever situation you might need it for. The phrase stems from the resourceful '80s/'90s TV character played by Richard Dean Anderson, who could get out of any jam using any household or common item like a stick of gum, paperclip, or piece of duct-tape; he could even stop a bomb using a hockey ticket -- seriously!

Now, I may not have been trying to disarm a bomb or break out of a prison cell, but unlocking the keys from WWMGDmy idling car was an emergency enough for me. And so I found myself going all MacGyver.

Here's how it played out:

My smartphone was on the fritz and wasn't charging correctly, and along with that my main charger was also being fussy. So I turned to my car charger to help out and decided to plug my phone in for a bit while leaving the SUV running in the driveway. Being all neighborhood-safety-conscious, I decided to lock the doors — no problem, since my wife's set of keys were surely hanging on the hook inside the house, where they always are.

Err... as it turns out, she'd brought her keys on a drive the day before and for whatever reason left them hidden in my console... meaning the backup key was also inside the SUV with my keys, all locked up.

Of course, there wasn't a third backup key in the house. We do have a spare keyless remote, though, but as you might imagine it didn't work, because the stupid battery was dead. Opening the little device up, I saw that it used a watch-style circular battery — the kind that we don't normally have on hand, of course! So by now we thought we'd either have to go the coat-hanger route to open the door, or as a last resort, summon roadside assistance.

The coat hanger trick didn't work (!), so before calling in reinforcements, I found myself asking: "WWMGD?"

That's when the old diabetes supplies came to mind.

Newer meters all seem to be either re-chargeable or use more common batteries like AA or AAA these days, but I have a box full of about 18 old meters that date back to the mid '90s. And they're the type that used watch batteries. I didn't expect any would still work, since most have been sitting around for a loooong time.

But after trying the batteries from three old meters, I stumbled across a metMeter Batterieser inside a still-unsealed box that is only a couple of years old. And amazingly, the battery inside still worked and turned on the meter!

It seemed like I'd found an answer, going all MacGyver by finding a solution from the unrelated D-supplies on hand — as we PWDs sometimes have to do. Like when you're traveling to the Friends For Life conference and your airplane window shade won't stay up... so you make use of a lancet by jamming it into the window frame to hold up the shade. Now, that may not be an FDA-approved use for a lancet, but it did the job I needed it to.

The window-shade-holding lancet worked out perfectly in July, and it seemed like this meter-battery-fix would also save the day by helping me unlock the car door. I had high hopes.

Unfortunately, the battery didn't work in the car remote — making me realize the remote itself was probably dead, as it's been sitting unused for at least a few years.

In the end, MacGyver would've been disappointed; my jerry-rigging didn't work. We couldn't open the door ourselves, so we called in roadside assistance that we already pay for as part of our monthly car insurance premium and they got the door open for no charge. So there was that...

Curious if the meter battery would have solved the problem had the remote worked, I plopped that battery into the working car remote on my recovered keychain and found it did lock and unlock my doors! So, my "MacGyvering" would have worked if the tech would have still been working.

How about you? Any MacGyvering stories to share about D-supplies coming to the rescue in non-diabetes situations? We'd love to hear about it.

Disclaimer: Content created by the Diabetes Mine team. For more details click here.


This content is created for Diabetes Mine, a consumer health blog focused on the diabetes community. The content is not medically reviewed and doesn't adhere to Healthline's editorial guidelines. For more information about Healthline's partnership with Diabetes Mine, please click here.