Diabetes Technology in 1983

I think I did 3 injections per day in 1980s.
NPH + Reg in am. NPH covered basal and lunch.
Then Reg only dinner, and NPH only at bedtime. Additional Reg based on BG being over 200.

Meals somewhat constant portions using Exchange plan diet.

All changed when I started pump and introduced to carb counting in 1990s, and improved insulin (humalog) around 1996.

Diagnosed in 1968 … spent 2 weeks in the hospital (normal back then) … celebrated my 12th birthday there. Glass syringes back then … boil them on the stovetop to sterilize. Paper test strips in the urine stream. Those were the days, eh?

My first BG meter was the Glucometer II (https://americanhistory.si.edu/collections/search/object/nmah_741721). Huge drop of blood on the strip … wait for a minute … wipe off blood … insert in meter and wait another minute or two. Seems ridiculous by today’s standards, but these were a HUGE DEAL back then.

Even had an overnight summer camp exclusively for diabetic children in the greater Cleveland area - Camp Ho Mita Koda - which was a huge Godsend for me. 3 years as a camper, and two as a Counsellor. Learned a lot, and made a number of good friends. Great place, and still there … highly recommended if you have diabetic kids.

Will turn 65 this year … 53 of those as a diabetic. Lots of “adventures” … diabetic retinopathy, kidney transplant, etc. Thankful to still be here and still in pretty good shape. Would have hated to miss the grandkids!!


You are fortunate to have spent 2 weeks in the hospital. In 1959 I got 3 days and I was in very bad shape when I was finally dx.

Those first monitors were huge, but weren’t they wonderful!

So glad that you are doing well!

I went to Ho Mita Koda, too! Summers of ‘93-97’. Quite literally saved my life. Growing up in the 80s-90s, we didn’t have all the federal mandates for inclusiveness for those with disabilities. Or at least they weren’t known/enforced. I struggled with real depression and suicidal thoughts always being excluded, treated differently, ostracized by my peers because hey the adults were doing it, and never being allowed to do anything. I LIVED for those two weeks every summer where I got to be a “normal” kid surrounded by other kids who felt the same sense of camaraderie… I learned to ride horses, scuba dive, and kayak. Actually got to do the high ropes course for once, whereas I had to sit on the sidelines at other places. Actually got to go on the field trips to the roller skating rink and Geauga Lake, whereas my school left me behind for them. The mud hikes when it rained and we all jumped in the lake in our fully clothed, mud-caked glory. I even loved singing goofy songs in the squirrel cage, like a normal kid at summer camp. I still remember the camp song. :grinning:

Rich Humphreys was the director at the time, and I remember being in awe of him because he did so much. It was backpacking tips I got from him, things like storing my insulin vials in my sleeping bag for protection/insulation and how to protect your hypo stash from wild critters, that allowed me to backpack the Appalachian Trail.

I was even part of their inaugural “Adventures” group that did the Great Ohio Bicycle Adventure (GOBA), and other things. We all wore a different t-shirt everyday that said things like “If I’m goofy, give me sugar.”. Everyone knew who we were. Every morning of the trip , the GOBA organizers hosted a carb-loading pancake breakfast. All you could eat… IF YOU COULD CATCH IT! I could have never enjoyed something like that back then if not for Camp Ho and the doctor that traveled with us, who knew how to dose our insulin for all that carb and all the exertion of biking 50-100 miles a day.

Whenever I see a parent of a newly diagnosed child, “send them to camp!” is the most heartfelt advise I can give.

Shout outs to Rich Humphreys, our head nurse Paul, Allyson (diabetic equivalent to a counselor with the Adventures program), Dr. Rogers, and my best friend from summer camp Tiffany E., if any of you are still around and watching… You saved this girl’s life and I’ll forever be grateful!


I remember that meter. It was a big step up from my first “reflectance meter”, an Ames Dextrometer.

The step up, if I recall correctly, was that after exposing a strip to blood you could simply wipe the blood off and then test the strip in the meter. The Glucometer II was battery powered and remembered the calibration for the current bottle of strips you were using. Another incredible step forward. :slightly_smiling_face:

My very first meter was the Ames Dextrometer in 1980. It had no batteries and thus no memory. Each time you used it you needed to:

  1. Locate a power outlet for the AC adapter so you could use the meter.
  2. Calibrate the meter using a calibration solution on a test strip.
  3. Use another strip exposed to your finger stick blood to get a glucose reading.

I can’t recall the exact dimensions of the meter, but it was big. Maybe 5"x7" and 1.3" thick? I carried it, the AC adapter, water bottle, & calibration solution around in my school backpack. (I was finishing up my college degree in my late twenties at the time).

I think it was only available for a brief period as I could only find a few low resolution pictures of it on the web (below).

Notice the water bottle. After exposing the test strip you were supposed to wash away the calibration solution or blood using water. No blotting.

It was state of the art when I got it. I loved it. Prior to this meter the only tool I had to know what was happening in my body was to guess. This meter, clumsy as it may look now, was a huge step forward in my life. It was also the first time I met with a company training rep to learn how to use the equipment. :upside_down_face:

Dextrometer + wash bottle image

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Camp Ho was the best. Loved Rich and Mary Lou Humphreys. No telling how many thousands of lives have been personally and directly impacted in a significant way over the decades by the Humphreys. So happy to hear that Rich was still there in the '90s. He is a treasure.

I went back in '69-'71. Was even blessed to win the Kodian award in '71. What a great place that was and is. One of the highlight experiences of my life. So glad that your life was benefited in such a deep way from your years attending.


Thank you, I think you found a picture of the Ames strips and meter! I once was unable to get get the usual Chemstrips and had to use the Ames strips (visually read) for a while. The Ames strips I remember as being fuzzy, and you had to wash them in water, not just wipe them off.