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Blood Glucose Monitoring Made Easy

Reviewing: Bayer Ascensia Contour  |  Rating:
mustangsally82 By mustangsally82 on
Badge: Publisher | Level: 11 | Devices & Aids Expertise:

I got this meter a few years ago when I started regularly checking my blood sugar. Like most people, I was a bit apprehensive about whether I could stick myself several times a day. Never mind that I once worked as a phlebotomist and certainly have drawn blood many times: the thought of doing it to yourself is a bit daunting when you don’t know what to expect.

I bought this meter on eBay for about ten bucks total (including shipping). I had had a borrowed one from my doctor, and I liked it so much (and still had some of those expensive strips left over) that I went looking for one of my own.

I’ve heard that people used to have to “code” strips for their glucose monitors. I never had to do that, but I can appreciate simply opening the container of strips and getting one out, then loading it in the meter. This is what tells the meter to turn on, and it shows an icon of a blood drop to tell you when to put the strip up to your finger. The time it takes it to turn on and get ready is just enough time to stick yourself.

Then you squeeze the drop of blood into the grey rectangular area on the strip. It fills via capillary action, and most of the time you don’t have to worry about overfilling because it doesn’t draw in any more than it needs. A few times I’ve produced a really big drop of blood and it made the meter show an error message, which means you have to start over with a new (expensive!) strip. So now I err on the side of not having enough blood because I can always press on my finger a bit harder to get more if I underfill it.

When enough blood has gone in, the meter starts a countdown and beeps continuously. It takes 15 seconds for it to show you your blood glucose level (and stop beeping). That’s it! As soon as you remove the strip to discard it the meter turns off all by itself. It has a memory feature but I've never used it as I keep a small notepad with my meter to record my readings. This meter fits comfortably in the palm of my hand, and it came with a nice black carrying case that also has room for the container of strips and some lancets.

I shouldn’t have worried about the sticking part: the lancets are truly very small and I don’t even feel them even on my fingertips. When I was in school to be a phlebotomist we used spring-loaded lancets to do fingersticks, and those were designed to use on children and babies to collect small vials of blood drop by drop, so they were much bigger than the tiny ones I currently use to test with. The bigger ones hurt the next day and often left me with a bruise, but the only way I can usually tell if I’ve stuck myself with these tiny lancets deep enough to draw blood is to squeeze my finger and see if a red drop appears.

I never would have thought that blood glucose testing could be painless, but this is about as close as you can get. And not only is it painless, it’s very easy! The only downside is the cost of the testing strips and the fact that they expire.