Single-Handed Care

by Leighann on January 14, 2010

I had surgery to repair a tear in the tendon in my wrist. Surgery and subsequent recovery is hard on anyone. But the immobilizing splint has left me with the use of only one hand.

Everything is slow and labor intensive. The first night I couldn’t even open the bottle of Vicodin! I need help with everything, something I am not at all used to: asking for help.

I was laughing at myself one day as I tried to do something diabetes-related. I thought: How can a one-armed person* be diabetic? Of course you would get occupational therapy and learn to compensate.

It’s the small things that I cannot do.

I cannot unzip her meter or pump cases.

I cannot open a vial of test strips.

I cannot hold her hand in mine as I poke a finger.

Last summer our endocrinologist said that my daughter’s “homework” was to be able to check her own blood sugar by the next appointment. She can do all the steps, but is not so good at getting a drop of blood on the test strip.

What I think is more important is that she can talk other people through it.

Like her teacher.

Like the vice principal, who now checks her blood sugar each day before lunch.

Recently, he was not in his office at 11:30 as he normally is. My daughter told a staff member she saw in the hall and this person took her to find Liz, a fourth grader who also wears an insulin pump (a Minimed, I believe). Together Q and Liz checked her finger and wrote down her BG on her daily log slip. And off they went for lunch.

I was very proud of my daughter that day for finding a solution and taking care of business.

I have been very thankful these past weeks that we are using the insulin pump. I couldn’t possibly draw insulin from a vial, pinch her skin, and inject with one hand.

It has also been the push for my husband to become proficient at pod changes, something I typically do only because we do it after school, before he gets home.

I love that I have been able to ask her to check her own finger and I walk over just in time to get the blood on the test strip. I am once again proud of her.

But with that pride comes a little sadness. Sadness that my five-year-old needs to know how to do this.

*No offense to any one-armed diabetics who might be reading this.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 Shamae January 14, 2010 at 11:37 am

I like this post. My little girl is in kindergarten too and learning how to manage her diabetes at school. But they are learning and it’s great to see their growth!


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