When I was first told I had Type I Diabetes on January 13, 1994, the tools for managing it were pretty primitive compared to today. We could test blood glucose, but it meant reading various shades of color on a test strip like a ph strip. A meter was available that could measure it, but the results were unreliable. To inject insulin, we had syringes, period. Insulin pumps were a novelty, hard to use well and only a last result.
Now we have continuous glucose monitors which measure glucose levels every 5 minutes, though with a 30 minute time lag and with poor accuracy that makes them best suited for knowing if the level is rising for falling. The meters are more accurate, comparatively speaking, but still inaccurate enough that a grass roots movement of patients has sprung up to force the FDA to tighten standards. Pumps are light years better, more reliable and with many options for delivering insulin. Syringes have smaller (less painful, not more comfortable) needles. A newer device called an insulin pen allows the patient to turn a knob to set the dose, then push a button to inject it - a more accurate and user friendly delivery device.
In case you were wondering what the "good old days" looked like, take a look at the first insulin pump. If you wonder what people with diabetes have to contend with, look at the graph at the bottom. If the wavy lines are "in the green" then we are doing what our doctors, friends and families think we should be doing. It isn't that easy.