Last Friday evening I was round at a friend's place, trying to get a modem to work on his computer which runs a proprietary operating system. (It kept telling us "There is a problem with the modem - either the modem is not working properly, or there is a problem with the driver or ...." I can't remember the last bit. CURSE those Arschlöcher at MS! But that's a different story.) The upshot was, I forgot my bag when I set off for home, and my survival kit was in it. Plenty of backup supplies of insulin and syringes at home. But no pricker to get blood out of my arm for a BS test. So I decided to improvise with a bare lancet. Technique question: is it better to place the lancet against the skin pressing gently until it penetrates, or to hit the skin in imitation of the pricker's action? I decided on the latter. Gripping the lancet between left thumb and forefinger, both of them protruding slightly beyond the end of the lancet, I hit my right forarm, expecting T and F to cushion the blow so that the lancet between them would pierce. Nothing. Coarser adjustment of T and F. Still nothing. Then a tiny inadequate drop. Three of four tries later, a tiny, barely adequate drop, with which I did the measurement. Same procedure the following morning, this time on my left forearm. Not pleasant (even less so than doing it with a pricker). Saturday afternoon I noticed a mildly painful lump on my left arm - a massive bruise. The bruise is still there four days later, but seems to be gradually dissipating. Somehow I think plan A would have been better: gently pressing the lancet through the skin. Of course, the above difficulty will _never_ occur again, but just in case it does, I'll be trying plan A. -- Alan Mackenzie (Munich, Germany) Email: [email protected]; to decode, wherever there is a repeated letter (like "aa"), remove half of them (leaving, say, "a").