So the other night, I pulled Kaitlyn out of her car seat after she had fallen asleep on our way home from somewhere. She's a pretty sound sleeper, but as I unsettled her, she immediately put her hands up in the air with two pinkie fingers raised. Her pinkies are her favorite fingers to be "checked," so even in her sleep, she assumed the position to get her finger prick. My husband and I had a good chuckle as I told him about it, but it also made me reflect back to early in Kaitlyn's diagnosis, when dealing with the pricks and pokes was not so easy.
Unlike Jen and James' experience of not really minding finger pokes at the beginning, it was a traumatic experience for Kaitlyn every time. I don't know why some kids are more sensitive to it than others, but Kaitlyn is especially bothered by anything that causes discomfort. She hates getting her hair combed, having her teeth brushed or even dealing with an itchy tag on her clothes. When we were all thrown into this new world of dealing with diabetes, we literally thought we were living in a nightmare. My husband and I would work together and one of us would hold her tight, while the other would give her the shot. She would cringe and pull away and then just sob when the shot or finger poke was done. The worst part was knowing that we would have to do the same thing all over again in a couple more hours.
During that time, we searched for all the information we could get about how to help Kaitlyn get over her treatment fears. One nurse that we talked to suggested that we put a spoon in the freezer and then put it over her skin in the spot where I would give her the injection. We also got some numbing cream to put on her skin before shots. These things did help a little, but they also prolonged the anticipation of the prick. When all was said and done, I think the best advice I got was actually the same advice Jen's mom gave her… don't let her know I'm afraid. Act like it's not a big deal. Get it done quickly and then it will be over. Smiles, hugs, high fives and telling her how brave she is have worked wonders too!
She has actually come up with her own coping strategy as well. I think she has decided that if she gets a finger prick in her pinkie, then it doesn't hurt as bad. So, she tells us that all her fingers are pinkies, and even has some names for some of them: ringapinka, pinkylicious, pinka, and plinka.
I'm happy to say now that Kaitlyn is no longer bothered by her treatments. She's used to the finger pokes at all hours of the day or night and will even drink juice out of a straw while she is still sleeping. When other kids are worried about her getting a finger prick, she says in her cute little voice, "Don't worry! It doesn't hurt!"
About the author: My name is Kim. My daughter Kaitlyn (the third of our five children) was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes just a few years after my nephew James was diagnosed with the same disease. I'm excited to pair up with my sister-in-law, Jen, to share our story with you!
Disclaimer: The experiences and suggestions recounted in these articles are not intended as medical advice, and they are not necessarily the "typical" experiences of families with a child who has type 1 diabetes. These situations are unique to the families depicted. Families should check with their healthcare professionals regarding the treatment of type 1 diabetes and the frequency of blood glucose monitoring. Jen and Kim are real moms of kids with type 1 diabetes and have been compensated for their contributions to this site.
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