Looking Back: Shots

From the time my daughter was diagnosed at 13 months old until she was almost 3 and got her first insulin pump, we managed her diabetes with shots of insulin.  She usually received 3 shots per day: breakfast, afternoon, and bedtime: thigh, arm and bottom respectively.  Each one was a challenge.

During our hospitalization, an educator suggested having a specific location in the house where diabetes care took place, particularly the painful and scary parts.  This turned out to be among the best practical advice we received. The upside was that she knew that in all the other rooms of the house, she was safe.  Nobody was going to appear with a needle or a lancet. The downside, of course, was that if she was being taken to the room she was bound to get jabbed with something.

The good news was that there was a t.v. in the room and t.v. was a rare treat.  People with kids my kid's age will remember the advent of 'Noggin' and be familiar with Oobi, Oswald, and Miss Spider's Sunnypatch Friends.  Oobi was on approximately 12 hours a day I think, despite a very limited number of episodes. Those peculiar talking hand people will be forever intertwined with my experience of giving insulin shots.

Day after day, we'd go into the room, I'd turn on Oobi and we'd check her blood sugar, which she called 'doopities.'  I'd draw up the insulin shot based on her blood sugar and anticipated meal carbohydrates.  Then came the fun part.

Anyone who's met a toddler knows they're not the most consistent bunch.  Sometimes she'd cooperate, and sometimes she'd (understandably) want no part of this activity.  Sometimes she'd change her mind about how she felt about the whole thing halfway through.  So it was necessary to immobilize her as much as possible.  If she decided to flail at the syringe halfway through a shot, not only would she not get her proper dose of insulin, but she could cause injury to herself and possibly to me.

For the arm and leg shots, I'd gather her into my lap and become a pseudo-octopus.  I'd wrap one arm around her, pinning both of her arms to her sides and her legs between mine.  Then, with the pinning arm, I'd pinch up a little arm or leg fat and with the 'free' arm, I'd administer the shot.  Bum shots involved pinning her standing against the bed with one arm holding her arms and the other administering the shot.  This one was easier with 2 people and 4 hands, so became our evening site so daddy could help.  These methods were not, incidentally, suggested by medical professionals but rather the successful result of much trial and error.

I surely couldn't have gotten through those first couple of years without help. I've thanked family, friends and medical professionals who gave support and advice. I just wish there was a way to thank Oobi, Uma, Keiko and Grandpoo.

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