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Butterfly Needles.

I've been putting off this appointment for a few months. 

I hate needles.  Any needle I'm not controlling makes me feel faint.  (I've talked about this irony before.)  So the idea of offering up that sensitive little fleshy crease of my arm to the phlembotomist makes me pale with panic.  Also, blood sugars have been a little nutty lately, fluctuating wildly after Grammie passed away and taking several months to sort of reclaim their sanity, so I haven't been feeling like a well-controlled diabetic. 

In fact, I've been feeling a little crummy about the whole thing entirely.

It's hard to avoid paying attention to diabetes, considering where I work and what I do for a living.  It's a large part of my life and one that, even if I didn't want to pay attention to it, I don't have much of a choice.  Ignoring it for a morning is one thing, but ignoring it for more than a few hours is non-negotiable. Eventually, it forces you to listen, one way or the other. 

So I had the paperwork for my A1c blood work sitting in my desk drawer for a few weeks.  I called and made an appointment, but then rescheduled it due to the weather, my weekend plans, my mood, the cat's mood ... anything that seemed like it could stand for a second as a reason to reschedule, I rescheduled.  I ignored.

An A1c, to me, is my diabetes report card.  Even though I know I should haveButterfly needles don't hurt, right? this test every three months or so, I haven't had one since last June.  I haven't wanted to find this number out because I'm afraid it will be higher than I'd like.  But it's always higher than I'd like.  I'm diabetic.  I just needed to suck it up and find out what that blasted number is and move on.

I made an appointment for this morning, 7:30 am.  No excuses.  The alarm went off this morning and I thought about snoozing through, but I woke up.  I got dressed.  And I drove there. 

"I'm here for an A1c and microalbumin test.  I'm Kerri."  I stuck out my hand, insurance card at the ready.  Paperwork filled out.  Consent form signed.

In the chair, I pulled up the sleeve of my sweater and closed my eyes.

"I can't watch.  It makes me feel weak.  So I'm going to look over here, okay?"

The lab technician started laughing.  "Lady, you said you had diabetes?"

"Yes, since I was a kid, but I'm scared of needles.  I know, I know."

The elastic band snapped tight arouind my arm.  "Okay, quick pinch ..."  I felt the hot spike of a needle against my inner arm and my stomach leapt in response.

"So tell me about yourself," I said to the corner of the wall, hoping my words would bounce back to the man who was holding my arm.

"My mom has diabetes.  Type 2.  She's on insulin twice a day.  You take insulin?"

"I do.  I have an insulin pump, though."  I gestured flailing towards the pocket of my jeans, where my pump was clipped. 

"No kidding!  That's cool.  I thought it was a beeper.  I'm gonna have to tell my mom about that.  Damn, no more shots?  That's cool."  The pinch in my arm shifted a bit.  "We're almost done.  I used a butterfly needle instead of the big needle, so it would hurt less."  His smile bounced off the corner of the wall and into my ears. 

"Thanks.  'Butterfly' makes it sound so cute and nice, even though it's still a needle."

"Yeah, but it's important that you have your A1c checked, diabetes and all.  You need to take good care of yourself."  He removed the elastic from my arm and slipped the needle out of my skin.  A bandaid was applied to my "wound."

"All set.  You did a good job.  And you know what?  That didn't hurt a bit, right?"  He asked me, taking off his gloves and folding his arms.

"Not a bit.  Thanks."

Back in the car.  Driving to work early, watching the morning commuters traveling beneath me as I crossed the overpass of 95 southbound, into New York.  The sun warmed the seats of my VW and caused the windows of the houses I passed to wink at me. 

My A1c result may not be what I'm hoping for.  It won't be "perfect."  It won't be ideal.  But knowing it will give me the chance to change it. 


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I'm the same way about needles Kerri. I've actually fainted a few times, so now I just lay down each time I get my blood drawn. It's a little embarassing, but better than passing out in front of everyone! :)

I know it's hard to make yourself get the A1c done, but you're right, it's important. Good luck!

I think seeing you constantly pricking your finger or injecting yourself made me not quite as squeamish with needles.

Except at the dentist. I still can't watch then.

Or whenever talking about the eye. Thank god they put me totally under for my retina surgery... I don't think I could handle the memory of needles in my eyes. (Now that you're all feeling those warm and fuzzies...especially Bob I'm sure!)

I love those butterflies! I used to make the lab techs take my blood from the top of my hand for as long as they would let me get away with it. Even after I switched to my adult endo, I continued to get blood taken from the children's lab... for a little while. They always give out little hand knit finger puppets to all the kids. Lab techs can be really good at making people feel comfortable with something that isn't comfortable.

I'm with ya on the aversion to needles!! 2 of my biggest fears are needles and the dentist. I'm fine when I'm doing it myself, but if someone else is giving a shot or drawing blood it freaks me out.
I had to have 2 root canals done on my teeth last week. Lots of needles and lots of drilling. Awful.

As for the A1C, I noticed that when I had it checked when I lived in MI that they drew blood, but here in NY they just had me prick my finger and took a tiny bit of blood to do the test. Obviously I'm really new at this whole thing, but is there a difference in the tests? Is the blood draw more extensive results wise? (Hope this question isn't too dumb!)

I agree with the needed irony also. I hate not being incontrol of the needle peircing me. yuck!

I am about to get my a1c soon but this post has made me realize, i have to see where i am to plan where I want to go.

Thanks Kerri!

Strive for perfection. You may never achieve it, but you'll achieve better results than if you didn't strive for it at all(that's what I always tell myself when it comes to managing B's D).

I think of A1C as a report card too.

I think I got over my fear of shots/needles after my dad had his heart attack & bypass surgery. First dr appt after that (right before senior year of high school), I needed to have a fingerprick iron test and a tetanus shot. I was refusing to do either, then my mom told me to think of what my dad had been through earlier that summer, then decide if it still seemed like the end of the world to have a little blood taken from my finger & get a shot.

Sure, I squirm about it, but it's not the end of the world. Butterfly needles make it so much easier - I watched last time!

Hopefully the A1C won't be as bad as you think.

I have passed out several times getting blood work done HA! Always a big joke in my family.......I call my lapses in diabetes control my "diabetes vacations". They happen, it's life...I just try to keep them infrequent! Oh yeah, I am also OCD about my control, so one bad reading and I think the whole A1c will be shot!

Thanks for reminding me.......I'm set to go tomorrow morning so I have the results for my Endo visit !

Half the reason those butterflies are better is because they are usually much easier to insert. When I was working as an EMT I much prefered blood draws over IVs because butterflies are ten times easier. And there are many times that I cancel appointments because I worry about my A1c or my weight. It's silly. Like you said, once we know we can change it.

Kerri, the texture of your writing is so natural and, as usual, they resonate with me.

Knowledge is power.
It's always better to know.

I hope your A1c isn't as bad as you think it will be.

When Diabetes gatecrashed my lifeparty with my husband and Demarco, I lost a lot of my confidence and bravado in the children's ward somewhere...I felt that everytime I would see someone medically related to diabetes, they would shatter me with terrible news and shocking information for me to digest, and it knocked the life out of me temporarily, and unfortunately, my marriage. (Still great buds with Scott though,anyone related to Demarco is pretty amazing..)
During my "healing" process, I developed a mantra, "expect the worst, and hope for the best." It seemed to make potentially troubling news regarding bloodtests or opening the phonebill seem to be not half as bad as I had expected! In 2006, I set myself a challenge,and altered my mantra."Strive for the best, and expect the best." It works even better! To hear Demarco's endo say recently that he is in the top 5% of his patients (he has 2000 in Queensland, Australia) in terms of control and A1c, has made me realise that I have grown and healed a lot since Diabetes made it's grand appearance. If I always do the best that I possibly can for Demarco, there is no reason why he should not expect great results in life and health. Don't be too hard on yourself, Kerri, since I have become a SUM devotee, you have helped SO much to inspire me to be the best Mum (Mom) I can be to Demarco. If he can learn all of his healthy habits (mental and physical) from me,then hopefully he will grow up to be a successful and confident man, (who happens to have Type 1 Diabetes.)I'll always have the crazy cat lady in RI to remind him of how to accept and get through any bumpy parts that may come his way. We treasure you,Kerri.

Kerri, I've been lurking here for a while, your blog is great. I used to have hypoglacemia (spelling?), but when I changed my diet 6 years ago my blood sugar corrected itself. I think that you are very brave and I love the way you devote yourself to helping others through your experiences.

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