Thursday, March 3, 2011

The blood sugar check/no pain enigma

I checked L’s sugar for him today and I asked him straight out…”Did that hurt?”

“Nope,” he said.

“No?” I said.

“Nope,” he said again.

Wait a minute…STOP THE BLOG!

(Long, dramatic, thoughtful pause…)

It has to hurt, right?

A little bit? Right?

It hurts me just pullin’ the trigger. It has to hurt him! I mean I just shunked a needle into his finger and drew blood. It HAS to hurt.

Then…no more than 10 minutes later, I see J checking his sugar…ON. HIS. THUMB!

Rewind the tape! When J was younger, and I did most the checking, the thumb was OFF LIMITS! It was a HUGE deal. No thumb poking…EVER!

And here he was right in front of me testing his thumb like it was the most normal thing in the world.

“What are you doing?! I thought there was no trespassing on the thumb!”

“That was when I was little.”

“Since when are you not little anymore?”

“I’m 13, it doesn’t bother me at all anymore.”

“Seriously J, I thought your thumb hurt more?”

“Turns out it doesn’t.” And he walks away as my jaw falls open, practically unhinged, like a recently abandoned swing set.

So then I decide to do more research…I turn to B…my hypochondriac.

“B, did that just hurt when you checked your sugar?”

“No, why?”

“Because it had to hurt.”

“Maybe a little…I don’t really remember. It is like a speck. Who remembers a speck?“

I’m gobsmacked.

So as I’m trying to wrap my head around this I decide to check my sugar.

Son of a gun! It REALLY hurt!

I have seen my boys wince before. I know there is pain involved, but when you do something 10,000+ times…I guess your brain acclimates to it all...?...

Maybe my type 1 friends can shed some light on this.

I asked J how he thought it was. How come it doesn't hurt? He said, “I’m awesome. That is the only answer.”

I’m going to stop wracking my brain over this one and go with that.

My boys are just awesome.


  1. Yup... they are awesome. Just like their Mom!

  2. Sugar Boy winces EVERY time. And when he is sleeping and I poke his finger, his hand always jerks. But when I ask him if it hurts he AWLAYS says no... every single time. Blows my mind, too.

    And yes, your boys ARE awesome! :)

  3. Your boys are incredibly awesome! But, really, 9 times out of 10, it doesn't hurt. Every once in a while, it'll sting a tiny bit or feel kind of like having a hangnail pulled out. The rest of the time, it doesn't hurt for more than a nanosecond, so it doesn't even register as hurting. Of course, all of that is null and void if someone else does the poking!

  4. hysterical!! When I check my own it hurts so bad!! And believe me, I can feel that tiny little throbbing spot for hours! When I complain, Camden laughs his head off. He can't figure out why it bothers me when 'it's nothing'.

  5. I hurts every time I've done it to myself! And your boys ARE awesome! Charlotte is like them and says it doesn't hurt! I KNOW she didn't feel that way initially...she cried when we checked her sugar when we were in the hospital after her diagnosis...I can't remember when the change occurred, but I know it's been a few years and other parents have even commented about how it doesn't seem to phase her a bit! Glad it doesn't...if that can be one less thing to cause her pain then I'm all for it : )

  6. OK I totally agree it DOES HURT and it even stings after for like 2 minutes. My husband and I took like an hour of going back a forth trying to get up the courage to poke our fingers!! Kinda funny our 5 year old does it ALL the time and we are scared shit-less of it!!

    But Cara says it does not hurt too. I think that they are all crazy :) lol

  7. LOL. That is the way it is with my J too. If I poke in the wrong spot to close toward the knuckle, he yells and says that is "too far down". When he tests himself, he pokes RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE of his thumb. I really don't understand how that doesn't hurt.
    I think it hurts whenever I do it.
    But here is the weirder. If I ask my 3 y/o non T1 daughter to test (like a paranoid mom I sometimes do) she just holds her finger out and doesn't wince or anything. She just says, "Just like J!"

    The are ALL awesome.

  8. I can speak of my own experience since I'm pre-diabetic. The trick is in the amount of pressure that you add when you test. I've learned that if I just rest the lancet pen ever so slightly on my skin, it really doesn't hurt much. I get the most blood from my ring fingers so I use those the most. Andrew holds his pen so lightly that he usually has to do it many times to get blood.

    I agree, our kids are AWESOME!

  9. You and your kids are all awesome ( and so is the hubby and Lawton by the way, lol)! If it weren't for the blogs you write, I would go diabetically insane! Thank you Meri! Don't ever stop writing..........

  10. Complete awesomeness in the "Meri" household! Ally used to complain a lot. We switched to the One Touch Delica lancing device and now she says she can't even feel it.

  11. when we had to practice on each other in the hospital, I swear my finger hurt for 3 days!!
    Bryce never flinches and will test himself randomly, just for fun(...ok?). Even my 2 year old doesn't complain if he gets poked. So a couple months ago, I thought I would let him test me again, thought maybe cuz we weren't using an Accucheck Multiclix 2.5 years ago and that was why it hurt....NO, IT STILL HURT! Ok, I am a wimp and my boys are AWESOME!! All our kids are awesome!

  12. I'm with you Meri, I think it hurts. It's all buzzy feeling. I crack up when Ellie does her own finger poke because she does it so fast and so light, I'm thinking no way she's getting a drop out of that... but she does everytime...when I try to do it all light and fast like it looks like she does, I get does she do that? I ask everyonce and awhile if it hurts, she always says nope! Troopers I tell ya!

  13. Hi, Meri~
    Just wanted you to know you're one of my fave. D-Mom bloggers. I refer a lot of fellow D-Moms to your blog.
    I'm putting together a book of resources for fellow parents in the Endo's office and I wanted to include 2 of your posts for the Encouragement section. I wanted to ask your permission...I'm thinking of "I want you to know" & "Ode to the Alarm Clock". I've forwarded them to the Medical Team and they enjoyed reading reminds them of the emotional component of Diabetes. Ok, let me know & thanks for all your do!
    Jessica, Mom of EL & EA, d'xd 2/9/07

  14. What a great post, Meri! Loved it, and particularly the ending - no doubt your boys are ALL awesome! I think we get used to it, as PWDs constantly testing. Sometimes, it REALLY HURTS but 9 out of 10 times it doesn't. Cuz we're awesome, and used to it. Thanks for the chuckle, as always.

  15. I can FEEL it hurting my fingers right now just talking about it. It HURTS. Your brain just must get used to it.

  16. When I was growing up, friends used to ask me if it hurt to poke my finger, give shots, etc. I said, "not really. no."

    Here's my theory of why:

    I think when you're a person with diabetes, you recategorize pain. You have to. If we let our brains think that how every poke hurt, we'd go nutty. So we turn off that part of our brain when we poke. We put it into a category of "necessary" instead of the category called "pain."

    Sure, every once in a while I have a stinger. A poke (pump site or blood test) that hurts. But it's certainly the minority.

    Unfortunately, it's just our reality.

    And... we are awesome. :-)

  17. It really freakin' hurts! I did it when I was doing the "delica" non-delica finger hurt for a day. Maybe that means I am a wimp. I dunno?

  18. I'm with Reyna on that one...the other day Isaac wanted to check my BG and darn it I gasped in front of him out of pain, and for days I could still pinpoint where the little lancet sliced open my delicate skin. So, I think your right and these d babes are AWESOME there is no other answer!

  19. @ Cindy....seriously...a hangnail??? THAT HURTS! LOL!

    I gave Jessi a shot the other day while we were out to eat and as I was putting the cap back on she bumps the syringe with her elbow, which sends it into my finger, and I swear I almost broke the window I was sitting by when I jerked my hand away and yelled OUCH!

    But hey...what do I know, I'm a wuss!

  20. I did not read through all of the comments but I think your boys are amazing and awesome all wrapped up! I had GD with my last pregnancy and had to check 4-5 times a day and I never got used to it. I would flinch every time and it hurt every time. I have since checked my sugar just to keep tabs on it since I am now high risk for T2 with various different pokers (we get many samples). The pokers make a difference. Some hurt a little, some a lot and some not much at all. IMO it's all in the poker, although your boys are still awesome!

  21. Love the answer! Love the attitude!

    My girlie says they still hurt a little bit. But I agree, they're awesome!

  22. His answer=pure genius. Love you and those boys!

  23. I'm with most of the people who have already commented. About 5 percent of the time, I'll prick a little too hard and it keeps on bleeding and those really do hurt. But a large majority of the time, it doesn't hurt me at all. It was scary in the beginning (7ish years ago), but these days it's as natural as brushing my teeth.

  24. Addison tested my blood sugar about two weeks ago and I can still feel it! No..not really but DAMN it did hurt like a son of a gun! I was in complete awe of him..just like I am of your boys. They are awesome indeed!

  25. Most of the time it doesn't hurt, but every now and then it will! I think it depends on the kind of lancet you use and how you hold it against your finger. I never tested on my thumbs until about 2 weeks ago and it hurt more than normal, so I decided not to test there. I just wanted another spot because my fingers are feeling beaten up!

  26. Callouses. They are the answer :)

    Although, I think using a lancet is kind of like learning to drive a manual vehicle...the more you practice the less it sucks.

  27. Smart kid! I think when something just HAS TO BE done, you can turn off the "hurt" of it all. And callouses really do help :)

  28. Yep - they are awesome. Nate says 'No Ouch' but I think it is a lot of ouch!

  29. "I'm awesome". lol

    I recently wore a CGM, and as just, checked my sugar regularly for over 2 weeks.

    I dreaded it. I braced myself every time. "Pinch". Ouch - it hurt.

    I asked Caleb over and over - doesn't it hurt? "No", he says with a sly smile like, "wow Mom, you are such a wimp.

    Makes me proud and sad all at once.

  30. I have poked my finger... it makes me want to cry and I am not a wimp!

    That crap hurts!

    They MUST be awesome! That IS the only answer :)

  31. Ok. This is maybe my favorite post EVER. They are right. They ARE awesome! And so are you, my sweet friend! I love this!

  32. Um, yep, THEY are awesome.

    And I am with you, it DOES hurt! Our kids must be more awesome than we are!


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