Trying to take the “ouch” out of yearly blood work

I hate needles.  I’m pretty tough myself, but I hate it when my children have to get “stuck.”  Every time they need immunizations, I get a knot in my stomach starting the night before, and I want to just cry along with them in the doctor’s office.  I can’t stand seeing my children in pain, even though I know it is best for them, and am so very thankful for the immunizations!

Because Matthew has Down syndrome, he also has to have yearly lab tests.  People with Down syndrome have a higher chance of having thyroid dysfunction, leukemia, and other diseases, so he gets his blood taken once a year to make sure he’s healthy.  I know he needs the tests, but I still hate the needles!  This year, I asked his doctor for some EMLA cream (a topical anesthetic) to see if it would help.

The cream numbs the skin, but is a prescription and must be applied 45-60 minutes ahead of time – so it takes some planning ahead.  When the technician first poked Matthew with the needle to draw his blood, he looked and acted like he didn’t feel it at all – didn’t even flinch!  But, then she had to “dig” a little bit to find his vein, and he started to cry.  It was short-lived, though, and the whole experience was much less traumatic (for both of us!) than I had anticipated.  I think the EMLA really helped.

I thought I would share the EMLA idea with you other mommas, but I’m curious about your own experiences.  What have you tried to make these experiences better or less painful?  Has anything worked for you?  What about immunizations?  Micah’s 4-year old appointment is coming up (4 shots!!) and I’m already dreading it.  Our doctor said the EMLA works well for blood draws, but doesn’t help very much for shots because the pain from the shots is quite a bit deeper.

 

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One thought on “Trying to take the “ouch” out of yearly blood work

  1. I’m with you on this one- I hate when they have to get shots or blood work. With my older kids (even Lillian at age 3)- – I talk about it all day long before the appointment. Things like “You have to get a shot to make sure you won’t get sick- – it is REALLY important, but it does hurt a little. . . . ” stuff like that. I also reasure them over and over that the hurt doesn’t last long, and if they are brave I will take them out for a special treat. I tell them that I am super proud of them and I know they can be brave! It does seem to help- they at least know what is coming and aren’t suprised when they are hurt. I made the mistake when Cynthia was three to hold her in my lap and the nurse told us to distract her. When she felt the poke, she screamed and looked at me with the hugest look of betrayal on her face. She had been a star patient up to that moment- and her confidence that seeing the doctor was a good thing was shattered. She still gets nervous going to the doctor. I vowed not to do it that way again, because I know that if I had warned and prepped her about the shot, promising a reward for being brave, it wouldn’t have been as bad. Anyway, I hope this helps!

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