June 27, 2011

Little Black Dots

Do you ever see the black dots?  I see black dots on Ally's fingertips.  Those are scabs from finger pricks.  Ally uses a lancing device to draw a drop of blood for checking her blood sugar an average of 8-10 times each day.  That is 63 times per week.  270 times each month.  3285 finger pricks per year!  She only has 10 fingers.  She doesn't like to use her thumbs or her index fingers.  That means that the remaining 8 fingers have to sustain 410 finger sticks each in one year!

It's no wonder that a certain commercial caught Ally's attention today.  She was watching tv and called me over, "Mom, you've got to come see this commercial!"  She rattled off a million miles a minute the message of the advertisement.  I couldn't follow what she was saying, but knew that she wanted me to see it.  Thanks to modern technology, she was able to pause the tv and rewind the commercial for me to see it.  I did not write down the exact words of the advertisement, but this was the gist of the message....

Are you tired of stabbing your fingertips to check your blood glucose?
Ally's eyes lit up!  "See Mom!  Did you see what I was talking about?"

Some other quotes from the commercial...

Easier to use and less painful.  This method really hurts less.

As it turns out, this was an ad geared toward Medicare patients with Diabetes.  But it did remind me that although Ally checks her blood sugar many many times a day and only complains occassionally, she does not like the finger pricks!  A while back she complained a lot about her fingers hurting.  Sometimes she would have to prick her finger more than one time because she was not drawing a big enough drop of blood.  We tried rotating fingers, preparing before the finger stick by washing her hands with warm water, squeezing her fingertip, shaking her hand below the waist.  Nothing seemed to be helping.  We were even changing the lancet with every finger stick. 

That is when we discovered and switched to the OneTouch Delica lancing device and we really love it!  It seems to be a little gentler on her fingers.  We also learned to test on the side of her fingers rather than the pad of the fingertip.  Since the fingertips have so many nerve endings, it is less sensitive on the sides of your finger.

I also learned something about alternate site testing.  The commercial that I refer to above shared a link to the Diabetes Care Club website where I not only found a picture of fellow DOCer Scott Johnson!, but also this very helpful information on alternate site testing.
Alternate testing sites can be less painful to prick because they have fewer nerve endings. Your lancing device should have a clear cap to use with alternate sites.  Some alternate testing sites include upper arm, forearm, thigh, or base of your thumb (the soft part of your palm).  There are a couple of things to note if you decide to use an alternate testing site.  Remember to check your meter's instructions because some glucose meteres may not be able to use blood from alternate sites.  Also, avoid using alternate sites when glucose levels are quickly changing, such as after a meal or workout, after taking insulin, or when you're sick or stressed.  The U.S. Food and Drug Administration suggests drawing blood from a fingertip rather than an alternate site if you think your blood glucose is low, you don't regularly have symptoms when your blood glucose is low, or how you feel doesn't match the results from the alternate site.

We have not tried an alternate site yet.  I'm curious, have you?



  1. We haven't used an alternate site. Our endo mentioned the issues you listed in your post and so I've just avoided the issues altogether. I actually hadn't thought about it in a long time...I'm curious to see if anyone else uses alternate sites and what their experience has been :)

  2. Bean tried it once and we couldn't for the life of us get any blood! Our CDE showed us how to 'pump' the lancing device on the site first and then poke, but it didn't work for us. Maybe we'll give it another go in the future, but for now Bean is happy enough to use her fingers!
    We use the Accu-Check Multiclix and LOVE IT. As Bean puts it...no more 'one, two, three, ouch!' when she tests! Plus I love the barrel it uses...no exposed needles and it makes it easy to switch the lancet.

  3. We also haven't used alternate sites. Our endo is type 1 and he said he usually tests on his forearm but didn't recommend it for us because of the rapid fluctuations we deal with.
    Bryce has been using the AccuCheck Multi-clix lancing device for a couple years now. After diagnosis, he called it the "poker that doesn't hurt" We've tried the Delica since it came out and he didn't like it as much as his multiclix (and I am too wimpy to try and compare them myself!!)

  4. We use the toes at night..J refused to try arms..his fingers are beaten up too :(

  5. It is the BEST!!! We love The Delica. Great post and those black dots tug at my heart when I really stop to "see" them. xo

  6. Nice little piece. Thanks for sharing. Fortunately, my son doesn't even care about finger pokes. Luckily, because he gets enough of them. We have a multiclix, which I love, because I only have to change the lancing drum once a week -- and it doesn't seem to be too hurtful.

  7. My daughter always comments on that commercial as well, but is adamant that we NOT test her arm (she thinks that would be like getting a blood draw for her annual labs). I've also heard that the fingers are the most accurate. I have wondered about the toes for in the middle of the night though. Wonder if you have to use the clear cap on toes. We use multclix. I hate those black dots too. Nicole Duckworth www.vabeachduckfamily.blogspot.com

  8. Oh.... Those dots. Yes. We see then.

    Sweets loves her Multiclix! And so do I. She was not at all interested in the Delica. But I have one in case. I think she'd run screaming if I suggested alternate site testing!! You'd probably hear her from your house! She's not a fan of change. But it's something to think about - especially for the future!

  9. I have heard good things about that lancet.
    We have so may black dots... I hate them. Justin so far has no interest to change "locations". I will leave that choice up to him. But I still hate the black dots!

  10. We need to try the Delica. I've heard great things about it. Matthew just loves the multiclix.

    But the site of his fingers! Oh my! And it's been less than 2 years...

    We need a cure.....

    Hey--thanks for stopping by my other blog. I may hit you up for a guest post soon! : )


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