Saturday, January 09, 2010

30 Days of Touch -- Prick

Snick. Click. Prick. OUCH!

Ah, after 12+ years that last word always follows the other three sounds. The "ouch" comes because the "prick" is the touch of my lancet shooting out of my "finger pricker" (real name "diabetic lancet device") through the slightly tougher epidermis of one of my fingers searching for the capillary blood that will provide an accurate reading on my glucose meter.

The touch of that lancet (nicer word than @#$!needle) still makes me jump. It still hurts. Yes, I know I'm a wienie, but... I am glad I don't have to do it as often as I used to. But I still bear the tiny tell-tale signs of a diabetic -- slightly callused finger tips an tiny little red marks where the lancet has plunged. And it also -- to the delight of music lovers everywhere -- means my steel stringed guitar has largely been retired. The lancet has to be set to plunge deeper if I play a lot to get through the string hardened calluses. And so it hurts more.

Still, "taking the plunge" so to speak is a part of my life. As is recording the findings that the tiny computer called a glucose meter spills out. It's easier now than it used to be -- the meter has a memory, so I can enter them in the computer and track my blood sugar story. Make pretty graphs and charts. Show my doctor what a good boy I've been -- most of the time.

In the old days, the touch of the finger pricker was accompanied by the feel of paper and pen as I opened my little log books and entered the date, time, amount of medicine I took, any unusual activities (like extreme exercise or a piece of food that had sugar in it), and the glucose amount.

As I thought about that today, I went and looked at the old log books. I am a pack-rat -- keep way too much stuff. But in them I read the story of my diabetic life. Then I thought about journaling -- an art I've never much been very good at. Not compared to people like George Fox or John Woolman or many of my friends. At least in the traditional journaling sense.

Instead, I journal through my writing -- here on this blog, on articles and essays I start (but may never finish), the books I've written, sermons composed, prayers, poems, and other forms of placing thoughts on paper (real or virtual). And there is often an accompanying "prick" -- something that sticks me somewhere and says "Time to think about this...."

I am grateful that "prick" is often much gentler than the lancet device's is. Often it is more like a soft nudge from a good friend. But sometimes it is more direct and painful -- and really gets my attention. Regardless, the result, as I've seen after I've looked over old files of writing today, is my spiritual story -- the true story of my life.


Snick. Click. Prick. OUCH! For the touch of the lancet -- physical or spiritual -- I am grateful. Whether it stings or not.

-- Brent


Cathy Shouse said...


My memory was "pricked" today to think about you. I remember some time I spent in various groups with you during the 2008 Midwest Writers Workshop.

I'm working on a photo history book about Fairmount, which was founded by Quakers. At topic has come up and I found your response to it on the Internet. Would you please e-mail me at cathy underscore shouse at yahoo dot com?

Robin M. said...

I only had about two months of that series, always ending with the "ouch," during my last pregnancy. It is one of the things that motivates me to manage my weight and health in other ways, because I hated it, five times a day, even for such a short time. But I suppose I am grateful for the successful outcome of the process, which was a healthy baby in my case. Who turned eight this week.

But I am inspired by your comparison of blood sugar level records with journaling. I keep saying I'm going to be more regular about journaling, and I'm not. But maybe I just need to draw on a different source of self-discipline.