Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The life cycle of a test strip.

I've been observing closely the life of a test strip for many years now. They lead a fascinating existence...inspiring in fact...and as such, I hope you will see their valor in my findings today.

They are born into groups of 25 and live in the dark for months before their true life begins. It is a drastic change from the quiet of their family as one day they are ripped from their cocoon and thrust into a world of people and noise and emotion.

They watch their brothers and sisters be taken one by one to be eaten by the monitor and they gasp at what they think is their bloody end.

Alas, for many it IS their end. Test strips are only good to us humans ONE TIME. After we apply the blood and read the number proceeding the countdown, they are completely useless to us. They are thrown into the garbage and they will sadly live the remainder of their days at the dump.

But for a resourceful some...this is not the case.

Some of these strips have a will to live that is stronger than the forces of human nature. They find ways to survive and as a result they can be found in the most outlandish of places.

Some dive to the floor where they hope they will be ignored, and eventually be able to quietly escape.

Some find their way into pockets...which in turn find their way into the washing machine. They clog up the washer filter and congregate with other family members hoping never to be discovered. But, a little water on the laundry room floor alerts the humans to their presence and they are most certainly found out and thrown away to their garbagy grave.

Some find their way to the car. They can live happily there for months until they are vacuumed up. Ironically they are happy to be with their own kind within the vacuum canister...until...like the rest, they are eventually thrown away.

Some live for years in the corner of a closet, or the bottom of a dresser, or underneath a bed. I'm still studying how they get there...but there is some kind of instinct they have to find a dark, quiet place to hide. They are rarely found alone, so my research suggests that they prefer to hide in packs.

The most popular colony by far in our house is the one that lives in my purse. They live contently there with hundreds of their sisters and brethren. They thrive in the deep dark recesses of my purse pockets. Between you and me, I believe they populate there too. Unfortunately, their offspring are 'used' test strips too, and as such, are no use to me.

And then there are the heroes. The few that go where no strip has gone before. Once, one was found in my hair. Another one was seen swimming in the toilet, and another two somehow made it to the gutter by the mailbox. A brave few have found the courage to base jump out of my car into the parking lot, and an especially bold one was found inside my bra in the summer of '99.

It isn't an easy life for a test strip, but those suckers are resourceful. They can be truly annoying at times, but you have to give them props for their ingenuity.

Unfortunately though, no matter how smart or resourceful they are...they ALL end up in the garbage eventually.

It is a sad life, but one I would like to honor today.

I would like to thank each and every test strip that gave up their quiet life in the vial so that my sons may live. There must have been over 100,000 so far, and their sacrifices are appreciated more than they will ever know. So to pay homage to their short life spans, I will put off cleaning out my purse another week...and maybe wait until Saturday to vacuum out the car.

It is the only human thing to do.

Rock on test strips. Rock on.

(This is day 15 of my 30 days straight of blogging for National Health Blog Posting Month, in honor of Diabetes Awareness Month.)


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