Two year old Benny has started checking his own blood sugar. Every parent is proud of their kids’ milestones, I just didn’t expect my son’s to include piercing his own skin. At least not before he became a teenager.
Blood sugar testing is one of the main tools in treating Juvenile Diabetes. Briefly, you use a automatic lancing device – it looks like a pen and has a small needle inside – to poke a hole in the skin. Usually, you’ll stick the finger tip, but some newer models can test the palm, arms or other areas. Touch the drop of blood to a test strip and the monitor gives you the blood sugar number. The number tells you what you need to do next – too low and the child needs some form of sugar, fast. Too high and more insulin is needed (this is a very rough explanation). We do this test at least six times a day.
Benny has decided he can do this himself. He unzips the case, loads the test strip, puts the pen next to his finger and presses the button. Of course, since he’s two it doesn’t go very smoothly but we do get it done and I like that he’s enthusiastically involved in something so important to his care.
The insulin injections? Not so much.
Benny gets 4 to 5 shots every day. It’s a small needle but it’s still no fun. You don’t need to any special medical training to give these shots – they just go right under the skin and you usually give them in the back of the arm, the back upper thigh or in the tush.
We were pleasantly surprised how agreeable Benny was to the shots for the first few weeks, but that’s over now. The books tell you to give the child a choice of sites, to give him some control. Yeah right. Benny’s choice is always, “No.” Or he lets me rub the alcohol wipe on the site then says, “all done!” and runs away. For the past week or so I’ve had to actually hold him down to give him the shots. Luckily, I’ve gotten good enough at it that it doesn’t take very long. It doesn’t seem to hurt much; he doesn’t cry or act upset after the shots. In fact, he usually jumps up and laughs, gives me a kiss and goes back to whatever he’s been doing. It’s the moments before the shots that are giving us fits.
Listen, I know this could be a lot worse. I’m not looking for pity. I just want to find ways to keep a sense of humor and bring Benny up with one as well. I don’t think I’m going to have to work very hard on him for that – he immediately realized he could gross out his big sister by showing her the blood on his finger after the sugar check. Then, he learned that if he kept squeezing his finger, he could “finger-paint” on my walls!
Labels: Juvenile Diabetes