T1D History

Richard Vaughn: Reflections on 72 Years with Type 1 Diabetes

Richard Vaughn: Reflections on 72 Years with Type 1 Diabetes

There was no way of testing blood sugar at home, so we tested my urine instead. A special procedure involving a test tube with a solution containing drops of my urine was boiled on our stove. The solution changed color, and that gave some indication of how much sugar was in my urine. Each morning my urine was tested, and there was an injection of the animal insulin...

...In the mid 1980s I bought my first glucose meter. It had been 40 years before I was able to finally test my own blood sugar. I saw very high blood sugar almost every time I tested with the meter. Numbers in the 200s and low 300s were frequently seen, and there was no fast-acting insulin to correct those highs.

A1c tests were first available in 1976, and my doctor had my first A1c test done in 1980. It think it was a 12%. In 1988, I found a magazine article about carbohydrates, and I started reading labels on products. I began limiting the number of carbs I ate, and my meter started showing lower blood sugars. My A1c's improved. In the mid 1990s I started basal and bolus insulins. By the end of that decade my A1c's were in the high 5's and low 6's...