I had a conversation with a friend whose father lives with type 1 diabetes and is in a nursing home. He has other health conditions that mean that he requires help to take care of his diabetes. My friend mentioned something that happened at the facility that really concerned and angered her.
She said that a nurse was testing his blood sugar one day, and she clicked the lancing device on his finger several times with no success at forming an adequate drop of blood to complete the blood sugar test. My friend got upset and told the nurse, “You have one more chance to get that right before we call someone else to do it!” She saw that each click was painful for her father, but as a person that lives with type 1 diabetes, I also felt sort of bad for the nurse. I mean, I understand the part of the person with diabetes that is feeling the pain, and I feel bad for her father, but I also know what the nurse went through. I mean, how often does this happen to us when we test our own blood sugar?
I frequently have to pierce my skin more than once to get enough blood for my blood sugar tests. I know it is because of the substantial callouses that have formed from constantly using my favorite fingers. I know that if I just set the lancet device on a higher/deeper setting that I’ll bleed without difficulty. Still, I tend to shy away from the deep setting and just try to get enough blood with less pain. The nurse was probably trying to cause him less pain by using a lower setting. When my friend told the nurse she’d get someone else, the nurse probably just upped the setting to a high one to make sure she got a good size drop of blood thus actually causing more pain for her father.
Obviously my friend had the very best intentions. We should all be so lucky to have a daughter that wants to spare us pain. A daughter that stands up for us when she feels the medical staff is not well trained. I tried to explain to her that it is just another unfortunate part of life with type 1 diabetes. We test so much, some people even at 10 or more times per day, and our poor fingers just can’t keep up. They form tough callouses as a result. It’s not the same thing as a blood draw that uses our veins. It isn’t a training issue, rather a comfort issue. Sadly, I don’t think she understood what I told her. She was sure that she was 100% right in standing up to the nurse. I didn’t really argue it. I just explained about my own tough fingers and not wanting to set the lancet to a setting high enough to make it look like a crime scene had happened. I know that she meant well. Funny enough, the nurse probably did too.