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.

1 comment :

  1. I guess you’re a glass half empty kind of person. It wasn’t too many years ago that home glucometers did not exist.

    Prior to the 1980’s urine testing was the gold standard. If you wanted to run a test on your child you had to wake them up and have them go to the bathroom. They had to dump the first urine specimen and then wait until they could produce another “fresh” urine sample. From start to finish it might take an hour to get a result.

    The result you ended up wasn’t worth much either. It only told you if you had no sugar in your urine or if you were “spilling” sugar into your urine. If you were low, it didn’t tell you how low. Practically speaking, it was damn near useless. But, it was the only thing available, so we were thankful.

    With the advent of the glucometer you can get an instant blood glucose reading (at any time) and use that information for immediate diagnostic decisions. Wow! Considering the power, finger sticks are a minor inconvenience.

    Due to the limitations of urine testing, many diabetics have lost limbs, gone blind and suffered many other afflictions including premature death. That sucks!

    Those diabetics and their parents would have considered 10 or 20 finger sticks a day to be a joy and a blessing if it saved them from a serious diabetic complication later in life.

    So, I guess it all depends upon how you look at the matter. To me, that glucometer is the key to a healthy life for any diabetic. That healthy life begins earlier for diabetics than most folks.

    Unless the diabetic child has some learning disabilities, then the child should take full responsibility for their own care. The quicker they learn, the healthier they’ll be later in life.