Thursday, May 8, 2014

Young children and type 1 diabetes

When I was leaving the doctor's office today for my quarterly checkup, I saw a young boy in the hall, maybe four years old, with both of his parents trying to get him to let them check his blood sugar.  One of them had a wicked-looking lancet device in their hand, as long as a pencil, which probably wasn't helping the poor kid's anxiety any.  In any case, it made me think of what it must be like to deal with type 1 diabetes as a small child -- or as the small child's parents.

These parents were clearly having a hard time dealing with it -- or the kid was -- as I could hear him crying softly, "But it's gonna hurt, like last time!"  Poor kid.  I suspect he had just been diagnosed.

I almost went over and offered to poke myself and check my blood sugar at the same time as his parents did his, to see if that would help him overcome his fear.  In some ways I wish I had, but I also know many people are very private, especially about medical conditions, and especially especially about their children, which makes this situation a double whammy for some folks.  I didn't want to intrude where I wasn't welcome, and yet I wonder if I could have made a lasting difference in how this kid adjusted to his diagnosis.

I think dealing with a disease, especially one like diabetes that carries a lot of challenging and sometimes painful treatments with them, must be one of the most difficult things a young child can go through.  At times like today, I wish there was something I could do to help.

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