Diabetes Technology in 1981

Saw a post with someone’s meter from '83 and thought some might find this interesting. I got my first meter in '79 (an Ames glucometer) and first pump in '81 (AutoSyringe AS*6).
This pump used U40 Lilly Regular insulin which had to be diluted with the saline made specifically for the lilly regular (i.e. it was formulated identically minus insulin) as standard saline caused insulin to precipitate!! Bolus needed to be calculated as number of “clicks” needed to get ‘n’ units of insulin (since the insulin was diluted needed to do this calculation whenever basal rate was changed. Batter was an (almost) 24 hour 9 volt rechargeable (you got two so one chagred for 16 hours while one was being used).

We’ve moved quite a bit from those days - and hopefully will keep advancing!!

first pump & meter


Love these looks back at the stuff us old-timers started out with. Though the question does periodically come up, due to the cost of insulin and fragility of coverage, “can you run R insulin in a pump?” To which I answer yes, that’s what the first few generations of pumps ran, before the analog insulins came along. So if you have to resort to “Walmart insulin” for a while, you can still use your pump. You just have to experiment and tweak settings for the slower acting and longer duration times. Not that anyone should have to but that’s the world we live in.

Crazy thing is we acheived excellent results with very early hardware (and NO cgm). Our range was tighter and while we didn’t have CGM to check values we all woke up a few times a night and at various times during the day to check blood sugar values so I don’t think we were as far off as some suggest.

Obviously CGM a huge help but for those of us who it isn’t always working for we’re still doing checks/calibrations a few times a day for safety! [try flatline on cgm at 127 and both fingerstick and actual blood test measured in low 20s)