Hunt the Monitor – by Olly Double


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It’s 10.30pm, and I’m on my way to bed. I’m starting to feel really knackered, but I’ve got to keep it together for a bit longer because it’s time to test Tom’s and Joe’s blood sugars to make sure they’re not having a hypo or going into the night with skyrocketing hyperglycaemia. Problem: I’m in Tom’s room, and his blood glucose monitor is nowhere to be seen. It’s not by the head of his bed next to his reading book where he usually leaves it. It’s not on his chair or his desk. Where the hell is it?

It’s time to play my favourite parlour game – Hunt the Monitor.

I call my wife. ‘Jac, do you know where Tom’s BG kit is?’

No reply. The problem is that we live in a small terraced house and it’s 10.30pm – no wait, it’s now 10.35 – and I’ve called quietly so as not to disturb the neighbours. I trot down the stairs from the attic and into our bedroom. ‘Do you know where Tom’s BG kit is?’

‘Isn’t it by his bed?’

‘No.’

‘Is it on his chair or his desk?’

‘No.’

‘I’m afraid I don’t know where it is then. It’s probably still downstairs.’

I emit an audible groan, a weary war-cry of disgruntlement. I trot downstairs from the first floor and look around. He’s not left it on the kitchen table when he tested his blood sugars before eating his tea. He’s not left it carelessly on the sofa of the middle room. He’s not left it by the armchair in the front room when he was watching telly. A little bit of me dies as I look at my watch and find out it’s nearly quarter to eleven.

Back in the 1990s, they used to sell key-rings that beep when you whistle. I’ve often thought that would be a great feature for blood glucose monitors. Or even better, couldn’t they make one with little robotic legs that comes running to you when you call it? It’s simply hateful not to be able to find such an important bit of kit, and it always seems to happen at the worst times, like when you’re going to bed or one of the kids says they think they’re blood sugars are low and you need to test them in a hurry. Goodness knows what people used to do in the days before home blood testing kits became standard.

I trot back upstairs to our bedroom. ‘I can’t find it anywhere, love, do you have any idea where it might be?’ I’d tried – and failed – to keep the exasperation out of my voice, and now it’s Jacqui’s turn to groan. She doesn’t enjoy playing Hunt the Monitor at this time of night either.

She puts her toothbrush down and stomps up to Tom’s room – although quietly so as not to disturb the neighbours. Her voice is soft but full of annoyance. ‘Oliver Double! Come here!’

I brace myself as I trot up the stairs. She’s standing there, pointing at Tom’s chair, where his blood glucose monitor is proudly sitting. How did I not see it there? Clearly Jacqui’s won tonight’s game of Hunt the Monitor. Or to look at it from another angle, maybe we’ve both lost.

It’s nearly 11 now. Jacqui’s back to cleaning her teeth, and I pop into Joe’s room to test his blood sugar. Now where the bloody hell is his monitor?

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They still sell those beep when you whistle keyrings in a few places, i bought one not long ago! Try in one of those gadget shops or websites, i found mine in a shop with lots of jokey style toys!

The cure I have for this is multiple BG monitors – I keep one upstairs, one in the car and one in the little pencil-case I take everywhere with me. They all use the same strips – so I’m never far from a meter.

However, the finger pricker is always somewhere else…

“Goodness knows what people used to do in the days before home blood testing kits became standard.” –

We used to pee on a stick and before that we used to pee in a pot, use a pippet to transport it into a test tube then drop a rablet (that we couldn’t touch with our flesh) into the test tube and wait. ;)

This set of circumstances I know just all too well -and it’s so often accompanied by one of two scenarios:

Either a low blood sugar or a disproportionate panic over what number I might be, in the very midst 0f the struggle to find the kit, only to find the numbers are smack-bang in the middle of the range they should be(!).

Great post Olly :)