Review of the ‘Accu-Check Aviva’ Glucose Monitoring System

The Crank

Or, as I like to call it, “Ignorance in Design, Futility in Function”. As you can probably glean from the title, this is one beige gorilla who will be looking for another way to test my glucose. Years of Twinkies and ‘hecho en Mexico’ Coke have started to take their toll. Maybe Hostess going under isn’t such a bad thing… Meanwhile, my dear Doctor has told me I must take horsey-pill sized meds to help me stave off the seemingly inevitable fat man’s disease…Twinkities.

The pills, while really big, and really harsh on ones’ digestive system, are not a big problem for me. It’s amazing how big or awful a pill one can tolerate when it is inserted in the gooey hole of a jelly donut. No, the real problem is: I want to monitor my glucose to see just what I can use for emotional comfort food, and what I can no longer successfully digest without marking time off my lifespan calendar.

Enter the Accu-check Aviva system, prescribed by my Doctor. As my wife is in the medical field, she read and informed me of the directions, none of which seemed out of my ability to comprehend and successfully master. Yeah-well, uh, maybe.

So the wife says, “Now tomorrow morning when you get up, before you eat your usual six bowls of Honey Bunches of Fructose Flakes, test yourself and call me at work and let me know what the reading is.”

Flash forward to the next morning. My very own personal fur-laden live alarm clock, my cat Cannoli, lets me know the sun is up as I feel the wonderful sensations of wet sandpaper on my arm. ‘Oh, did I wake you? Oh well, as you are up anyway, would you be a darling and put some kibbles in my bowl, please? I would do it myself, but I DON’T HAVE ANY THUMBS!” he says with a meow.

I get up and dutifully proceed to the kitchen, where said monitoring equipment has set up household by the phone. I am then reminded by kitty of the real reason I exist as a human. It is said that dogs have masters, but cats have staff. Oh so right. Anyway, after the aforementioned bowl filling, I sit down with all the equipment, and re-read all the instructions. “No problem,” I said to myself as I line up the little torture devices in order of use.

First: turn on meter. Done! Second: take test strip out of sealed container and place wide end in opening at bottom of meter. OK, problem. Sealed container is child/gorilla proof. After getting out my hammer and screwdriver, I get the bastard open. ‘Remove one strip.’ Well, I cannot, for the opening of the container is SMALLER THAN MY FINGERS. So, I dump them all out on the table, and get one inserted into the monitor. Hooray  success! Well, not so fast.

Third: get ‘LANCET PEN’ and set for depth of puncture needed to draw blood. One to five, I set three, midrange is probably ok…is what I am thinking. Fourth: insert drum of lancets into end of pen. Here is where the futility of all this rears its ugly gourd.

I have what is called ‘Benign Essential Tremors’, what amounts to a constant slight shaking of my hands, symptoms typically exacerbated by reading any Zano posts. As I try to match the shake of my hand with the pen in it to the shake of the drum hand, I am reminded of that scene from 2001: A Space Odyssey where the space station rotates and the incoming shuttle tries to match its rotation for docking. I am now wondering if playing ‘The Blue Danube Waltz” on my stereo would make this any easier.

Click-success!!

Fifth: rotate drum to where pointer is set to number 5. Each time you use the lancet, it will then rotate to the next number down. You cannot re-use any lancets; they will not re-load once used. Problem ; no rotation. Reread instructions. Hold tip of pen down and rotate drum, simultaneously. Yeah right. By now, the words “piece of shit” are rebounding from all the hard surfaces in my kitchen.

After realizing it’s already on # 5, I go into the living room and get my other glasses. When that is done, it says to hold the opening in the bottom of the pen firmly against fingertip and press yellow button. While trying to match shaking-rotations once again, I realize I see no yellow button. Reread. Yellow button is actually a clear button that appears slightly yellow when the pen is correctly set. No yellow. Go through the whole mind-numbing routine again, and lo and behold, I see a faint hint of yellow under the clear button. Re-matching shake-rotations again, with pen firmly held to finger, I go to press the now yellow button, only to realize it is not actually a button. It is a pressure sensitive recess in the side of the pen. A recess one would need fingers like pencils to operate, not, as it were, fat stubby gorilla digits.

Five B: jam lancet into eyeball. Rotate.

Ten minutes have now gone by. I move my hand so my fingernail is on the fukking button, and press. I hear a click, but feel no pain, see no blood. Reread. Reset pen to deeper setting. Can’t do, it won’t turn. Reread. Cannot reuse lancet, rotate drum, then reset depth.

I reread Zano feature to calm down.

It is at this point I realize there doesn’t exist ON EARTH enough Ritalin for me to do this regularly. Reset to deepest setting, match rotations, hold firmly, fingernail on button, press. FUCKING OUCH MAN. I did not for the life of me think a little hole would hurt that much. Now I have a hole, but alas, no blood. It is now going on twenty minutes, and I am happy to be alone at this point, for if either my wife or doctor were present, I would become intimately acquainted with the State’s civil involuntary commitment laws.

I used ALL FIVE lancets; I have FIVE fucking holes in the tip of ONE finger. I am squeezing the living shit out of my finger now, using words I have never even heard before and I am looking for the hammer to finish the job, when-TAD-DA! Blood appears. I quickly get the monitor and apply the paper strip to the blood. I watch the blood go up onto the paper, and turn the monitor around to look at the face to see what the numbers are. It is then I realize it is off. I turn it on, and it asks me to insert paper strip. THERE IS A FUCKING PAPER STRIP IN YOU, YOU BLOODY EVIL SADISTIC DEVICE FROM HELL!! I Reread the instructions, and some more Zano features, and here is the best part:

“You have exactly three minutes to do all of the above before device automatically shuts off and you will be asked to reset device and start over.”

There is blood on my shaver, on the mirror, on my comb, and all over the steering wheel on the Ram. There is now a pile of hammered plastic debris on the kitchen table, along with a bloody napkin and a note to my wife spelled out, in blood, on the kitchen table. Let’s just say the house will be a little quiet for a while. The whole monitoring thing WAS my Idea after all.

So I will forgo checking my blood sugar but will now need to add a blood pressure medication.

A note to the manufacturer: I know that you must have used thin, young, healthy, intelligent people when testing ease-of-use. Uh, the problem as I see it is that by the time a person is ready to use your product—fifty or so years of stress, fattening foods, and sedentary lifestyle later—you have made your product totally fucking useless to us fat-assed dim-witted shaky, high-blood-sugar types. You know, the ones who will, in all probability, be the ones actually purchasing your lovely little product.

Looks like I get a free pass this morning…Mexican Coke/Rum and Twinkies all around.

Breakfast of Champions!

The Crank

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