|You wouldn't want to make me cry|
I certainly pray that Monica will end up being more like me than him, especially so that as an adult, she can experiment with her diet and see what effects different foods have on her triglycerides. It's a big interest of mine to discover what helps her to overcome her reaction to run when she sees that lab chair. This is what we've tried so far:
Preparation - When you check in, make it clear that you are willing to wait in order to get the best 'peds stick' on shift that day. A little anxious waiting in the waiting room is still SO much easier than multiple pokes into a little squirmy arm. For afterwards, make sure you have some snacks (fasting is hard on little bodies!), an extra fun Band-Aid or two (sometimes they run out!) (or a regular band aid and a permanent marker to draw a smiley face, ha, been there!), a sticker, a temporary tattoo, whatever will distract your kid as fast as possible afterwards. Monica hates the coban that they like to put on needle stick sites these days, so we don't even allow that to be put on her anymore. I hold the cotton ball in place until she stops bleeding, and then we require a band-aid to hide the evidence.
Gifts - We had success with a set of dolls that Monica helped pick out, and she got to choose one doll with every blood draw. She admitted that she's looking forward to her next set of labs, so that she can get the next doll in the set! Though I'm sure the doll won't be that appealing when she's actually waiting for her name to be called, oh well. You could even wrap up a present, and have the (one handed) opening of the gift be part of the distraction during the blood draw!
|Is there anything more alluring, exciting, and distracting, than an unopened box?|
Distraction - Basically anything that we can think of for a distraction is what we are working towards. For Teresa we will wave a new toy, preferably a noisey and visually interesting one (and even better, a toy that the clinic provides so that it's brand new to her, too!), since she's too little to understand much of a movie or a wrapped gift.
Knowledge - I'm hoping that, as Monica matures, this will be the major incentive. This last blood draw was the first one where we tried to teach her WHY we check her blood every 6 months, what kind of numbers (we talk on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being triglycerides of 1,0000, and our goal of 500-700, or 5-7. Monica was at 5! Hurray!!) we want, and what those good numbers mean (we don't have to worry about her getting sick!). But again, not sure it will help when she's sitting in that lab chair!
Perspective - I wish I could remember how I came to realize that shots and blood draws just don't hurt that much! I mean really, falling and skinning your knee is WAY more painful than a needle stick, but I don't see kids afraid of running down the street! I've tried to allow Monica to see me get my blood drawn or get my flu shot, and show her that it doesn't hurt me enough to even make a face, let alone cry. But at this point, seeing me get hurt like that is too scary, as well. Maybe someday she'll be able to watch. Or even better, working in the medical field as I do, maybe someday I can have a colleague could show her how to give me a flu shot or something herself! And with active participation, realize #1 that it doesn't bother me much at all, and #2 how hard it is to draw blood sometimes!
Things that haven't worked:
Talking it up days beforehand - whoo, this was a mistake with such a little girl! She was anxious and unhappy for DAYS instead of just an hour. Oh well. Never again!
Candy - I'm not positive, but I think her triglycerides might have been a little higher than they should have one time when we started feeding Monica jelly beans as soon as she sat in the lab chair to distract her. Sugar hits the blood fast and is turned right into triglycerides sometimes! That's why it's important to fast to get the best numbers. So hold onto that candy until the needle is out!
What other ideas do you have? What do you do to make blood draws easier for you or your child?