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Butterfly Strips May 10, 2012

Posted by laosita in diabetes.
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***I found this post, written awhile back but never published. Better late than never! I have no idea why I was having smores for dinner.***

There are very few things that I haven’t been able to find in order to maintain successful diabetes management here in Costa Rica. Just like in the States, pharmacists are incredible people and have been able to find what I need or some version of what I need- generally. Strips, however make for an interesting story.

One Touch strips do not exist in Costa Rica, or any surrounding country, apparently. My coworkers are excellent drug dealers and often bring down boxes of One Touch strips when they make a States trip. (Note: Not real drug dealers. That I know of). A few times I underestimated my One Touch strip supply, but done so with enough time to purchase a new Costa Rica meter with strips.

The first meter I bought here was only slightly smaller than the first meter I remember using- a One Touch Basic. The strips for this new meter were about double long and double wide than that of my trusty One Touch UltraSmart or UltraMini. This new meter didn’t have a memory or provide an average, but it had strips.

After my move to Tamarindo, Costa Rica, I expected more modernity. Sure enough, now I have a newer, smaller meter purchased as a replacement for not only One Touch strips, but also for the ancient original replacement I bought.

Little meter with cute butterfly strips. It's on top of a post-it!

This meter is tiny, uses little blood, is fast, includes three alarm options and several other features I haven’t figured out yet- including how to turn off the noise. And it has strips, not only 50 strips, but 50 strips each with a cute butterfly.

Allow me to interrupt this story with a quick Costa Rica Spanish lesson. The lesson might contradict your basic Spanish I definitions, but that’s why we have culture.

  • Hoy: today, this afternoon, tomorrow, this week
  • Mañana: tomorrow, the following day or next week
  • Está tarde: this afternoon, next afternoon, or mañana
  • Ahora: now, but later
  • Por seguro: for sure today, or mañana, but at least probably sometime

Back to the strips dilemma. I finished my One Touch strips earlier in the week. I had already determined that getting the ancient meter strips in Tamarindo was a lost cause (hence the cute butterfly meter purchase). Now, when I bought the cute butterfly meter, the strips would be available por seguro. Mid-week, I visited four pharmacies in hope of buying more strips for the butterfly meter.

Pharmacy One: Don’t have them, but the doctor is in next Monday and she will find them for you.

Pharmacy Two: Never heard of your meter, check our main pharmacy.

Pharmacy Three (main pharmacy per Pharmacy Two): Nope…let me call.

Pharmacy Four: Como?? (uhh, what are you talking about?)

Hmm, not good. I revisited Pharmacy Three later in the afternoon. The pharmacist has contacted another branch, and good news, the other branch has the cute strips and is delivering them está tarde. So, está tarde I excitedly head to Pharmacy Three…where the wrong strips are waiting for me. No problem, I still have four days before I’m out of strips. Pharmacy Three calls San Jose, and the strips are being bused up, they will be here mañana por la tarde.

Mañana por la tarde: Turns into Monday. That’s not good. So I return to faithful Pharmacy One to buy a new meter. Interestingly enough, I had brought in the strips from the ancient meter, thinking that perhaps two meters used the same strips. I should have known better. We tried out some Accucheck strips, but to no avail. The solution- buy an Accucheck meter. No problem said the pharmacist, it will be here mañana por la tarde. Well, mañana por la tarde turns into mañana. Mañana turns into ahora. Ahora turns into Monday.

Stripless on a Sunday night with smores for dinner…thank goodness it’s almost Monday.


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