As a d-parent, you may not think this is a big deal at all (and we should all pick and choose what’s an important issue for ourselves). And that’s okay. But changing his lancet regularly is something that we have our own child do and something that we feel is an important part of his diabetes management. What follows isn’t a rant, per se, but I wanted to share my thoughts on the lancet changing debate and why adult PWDs* should stop judging d-parents.
It’s funny because some of the most seemingly small issues related to diabetes get under my skin the most. (Pun not intended.)
Until your own child is diagnosed with diabetes, you simply can’t know what it feels like. The guilt (even though there is really no blame that should be placed on us d-parents). The need to take the best care of our children and their diabetes that we can to keep them as healthy as they can be. The exhaustion from during-the-night blood sugar checks and never getting a full night’s sleep ever again. The wish that we could take it on ourselves and away from our child.
Of course, we parents can never know what it feels like for our child to have diabetes. We don’t presume to know what it feels like to have a blood sugar of 31 mg/dL or feel like crud because we are stuck in the 300s or not get invited to a party because the other parent thinks a kid with diabetes can’t eat cake and will be a downer.
But what I’m really tired of is this judgment by adult PWDs who don’t change their lancet on parents who insist that their children do.
Parents who regularly change their child’s lancet shouldn’t be criticized by PWD who don’t (which happens ALL the time!). We are not micromanaging. We are just trying to instill good habits in our children so that they have a good toolset to start from when they are managing their diabetes on their own.
I see this written by adult PWDs very frequently:
Time to change the clocks and batteries in the smoke detector. Time to change my lancet!
It’s my d-anniversary. Guess I should celebrate by changing my lancet!
Happy new year! Better do my annual lancet change.
It’s a badge of pride for some.
PWDs get virtual high fives from others who do the same.
Is it an easy way to rebel? Sure.
After all, you can’t rebel by not taking insulin.
But many parents of children with diabetes (CWD) cringe when they see these proclamations. I think there are several reasons why many d-parents want their kids to use a fresh lancet with every (or almost every) blood sugar check.
Changing out the lancet with each blood sugar check is incredibly simple to do. If we can’t teach our kids to do the simple things, how can we teach them to do the harder things?
And in the road to independence, it’s an age-appropriate self-care item that we can have our children do long before they take on more complicated tasks.
By the way, lancets dull with each use, making them more painful. And once they have penetrated the skin and been exposed to blood, they are dirty.
Shouldn’t we want checking blood sugar to be the most comfortable it can be for our kids?
It’s all about habits. If we instill good habits in our kids, they can take those habits with them as they begin more and more self-management, eventually doing it all independently when they go on school trips as high schoolers or go off to college.
Will they do 100% of what they, in theory, should do 100% of the time? Probably not. But if we set up good habits now, maybe they will continue doing most of the things they should do to take care of themselves properly.
Conversely, we don’t want to teach our kids bad habits. Bad habits that could stick with them for a lifetime. It’s better for good habits to occasionally slide than only have bad habits, which can only get worse.
So there are some things that we can empower our kids to do that may get an eye-roll by some adult PWDs like always cleaning off the insulin vial with an alcohol swab before inserting the syringe, washing hands before checking blood sugars, rotating pump sites, counting carbs, and yes, changing the lancet each time.
Our kids have a lifetime of managing diabetes ahead of them, so why not set them up for a lifetime of success by instilling good habits from the get-go?
Let’s just agree that if you personally choose never to change your lancet again that it’s your own personal choice. But don’t make parents feel that they are doing something wrong by insisting that their children do.
*PWD = person with diabetes
Please remember that I never give medical advice. Ask your endocrinologist or pediatrician for advice about your own child. Make your own informed decisions for your own child.