Monday, January 18, 2010

24 Carat Plastic

I just made my second most expensive (in dollars-per-volume or dollars per mass) purchase I've ever made.  It's this little piece of plastic you're looking at.  Next time you're on "The Price is Right" and you're looking at this thing, don't guess 25 cents.  You're not going to find it in a gum-ball machine.  Guess closer to $1000.

Very fortunately, the insurance company paid for most of it.

It's the main functional part of what is called a Continuous Glucose Monitoring System.  Not pictured is the sensor itself that actually goes under the skin to read glucose levels.  While the sensor still has an outrageous price, it's not nearly as bad as this 24 carat plastic.

For the curious, it works like this:  The sensor goes under the skin into subcutaneous tissue, and this plastic doohickey reads the glucose level and sends it via radio frequency to my insulin pump.  My insulin pump can then alarm at me if the levels go too high or too low so I can do something about it.

It costs $1000 for this 5.4 gram thing.  Taking that cost to weight ratio and applying it to a the lightest weight 2010 Honda Civic you can buy (3204 pounds, empty gas tank I'm sure), your price tag would be $269,131,472.22.  Yes, quarter of a billion dollars. 

Fortunately I don't need to buy a car's weight in these things.  Just one.