August 27, 2007

As Seen on TV - Not

It is a parenting reflex action. Check for a fever. We gently put our hand on a child’s forehead when they showing signs of being ill.

It is universal. So much so, I see TV parents checking TV kids’ foreheads in ads as a touchstone that symbolizes loving care. On TV they probably are not real parent and child and everyone is feeling good about a paying job.

In real life the gentle touch is in and of itself soothing.

I was thinking about this the other night. My daughter was sleeping but not well. She was tossing and turning and barking with allergy driven, post nasal drip cough. So what did I do?

I jabbed a sharpened shard if steel into a small finger and squeeze out of a drop of life’s blood. Maybe I make a correction this time. Maybe I don’t. Maybe I need to wake her up for glucose. Maybe I don’t.

At times like this it seems like there isn’t sufficiently eloquent profanity to express what diabetes has done to me.

It has changed my reflexes from a gentle therapeutic caress to a quick “painless” poke.

“Painless” I have done it to myself. It ain’t “painless.” Even the most calloused fingers feel it, sometimes quite a lot.

Sure most of the time, at night she doesn’t wake up, sometimes she flinch but occasionally she is jolted awake. All the routine in the world doesn’t change my understanding that this is game of finger stick roulette. Even if most of the time is doesn’t, I may hurt her this time.

There in is the real issue for me a parent. No matter how often I have done it, lancing goes against my nature.

It is painful. Painful to do to sleeping child.

Diabetes sucks.

I don’t get this message in the diabet’US ads old Wilfrod does on TV. But it’s hiding silently, clearly played to, in the “almost pain free” alternate site meter ads.

It happens late at night, past Wilford’s bed time and well into infomercial time. The regular world doesn’t see it. They don’t understand that it is painful to a parent even if it isn’t to their child.

So the other night I started checking for fevers that I knew weren’t there. She was still asleep but in real life the gentle touch is in and of itself soothing if only for me.

A big part of why we check for a fever is it makes us feel better.

Maybe the biggest part.