The vexing vile vial
I can’t stand it anymore. Will someone please re-invent the frickin’ teststrip vial??! Our meters get smaller, and sexier, and faster with each passing year—but the stupid tub that holds the strips still wallows in the past.
Only Walmart, of all people, has done anything at all with their tear-dropped shaped vial for Reli-on strips, but I know we can do better. Let me tell you what I want. (Listen up diabetes investors, because I doubt I’m the only one.)
I want a high-tech reusable vial that can hold any brand of strips. I want it small and flat, flat, flat. And it should have a built-in light that comes on when you open it. I thought of that just last night when I spilled 49 test strips on the floor in the dark while trying to get out one strip to confirm a bloody CGM alarm.
Naturally it was a false alarm. But thanks for asking.
So a light would be great. Not something that will blind us or wake up our type 3s, but something akin to those soft orange night lights of the 1960s that every house in suburbia had in each and every hallway.
Now I know what you are going to say, the problem with a reusable strip carrier is that the strips will go bad. The disposable tubs we’re stuck with now are lined with a white clay-like substance that’s a preservative and a passive anti-humidity system. But I don’t see a problem here. A reusable vial could have a replaceable insert to help it keep the strips fresh and in fighting condition. And this Über vial doesn’t need to hold fifty strips. It only needs to hold a dozen or so. Just a day’s supply. I don’t mind filling it up each morning if it means I can leave the vile vial from the strip manufacturer behind.
But, of course, I want more. Why should the vial just be a vial? Why not build-in a high quality lancing device while you’re at it? We have to carry both a vial and a lance with us 24-7-365. Why not make it one unit? And I’m not talking about the cheap ticky-tacky plastic crap we’ve been living with for years. I want something wonderful: well-built of quality materials. I will gladly get out my wallet and pay for that. And for a two-in-one, I might even give up flat—so long as it isn’t bulky. It could look like a quality fountain pen and I’d be happy. In fact, why not a hinged “pen?” Lance in the bottom two-thirds, strips in the top third. And don’t forget my light inside. And you should probably give me a second light on the lancing end, too. With a well-made clip, a pen-style vial and lance device could be carried in a shirt pocket, a purse or go-bag, a meter case, or just about anywhere else.
And just like quality pens, it could be either spiffy hi-tech or old world wonderful. I know a lot of people would go for hot-rod red enamel lacquer or a pattern-etched stainless steel. Personally, I’d like one with the exotic wood, like Cameroon Zebrawood. Or maybe Macacauba Monkeywood.
We need both function and style, and there’s no reason in the world we can’t have both.
And think about it, the vial and lance is the single universal need of all people who have diabetes. That means a huge market exists for the clever person who fixes the vial and lance problem for us. We have a vast variety of meters we can’t choose from, as we can’t afford to use a strip our insurance won’t cover. But something wonderful that we only have to buy once? Screw insurance, we can afford that no matter what.
Trust me, if you build this, we will come. And we’ll reward you with our wallets and purses.