In Praise of Pain

Somewhere along the line, it was decided that the absolute worst part of living with diabetes was the finger prick. Not so much the process of checking one’s blood sugar: the washing of the hands, the alcohol swabs, the selection of a minimally calloused fingertip, the insertion and coding of the test strip, etc. Not even the test result. No, the worst part of diabetes was determined to be that very moment when the sharp metal tip of a lancet pierces your precious, delicate finger skin.

Exhibit A: This commercial.

No wonder people are terrified of this awful disease. Not only do people with diabetes have to worry about exorbitant health costs, possible complications, crazy carbohydrate and medication ratios — they have to stab their fingertips with ice picks, kitchen knives or shards of broken beer bottles! The horror.

Of course, everyone’s diabetes experience varies. But in my little reality, the blood sugar prick (not stab), is mildly uncomfortable at worst. I’m at least 37 times more anxious about what the results of my test will be than the process of procuring a teeny drop of blood.

Which brings me to Exhibit B: This little guy.

Available at Sephora and specialty lancing device boutiques everywhere.

It’s the One Touch Delica, a wee spring-loaded miracle that promises to turn each blood sugar test into a virtual fingertip massage. The Delica comes with a special lancet that’s no wider than a unicorn’s eyelash, and the spring system inside is designed to minimize vibration or some such nonsense. What the Delica is best at, though, is forcing me to prick my finger at least three times in order to harvest enough blood for a single test.

No one enjoys a fingerstick, but I’ll take the extra finger pain and the luxury of a usable blood sample over the agony of an Error 5 message on my meter. Or worse, the practice of milking my calloused pinky finger like a dried-up goat teat, all in the hopes of getting just a little more blood to test before the stoplight light turns green or the TV turns dark and I can’t see the test strip anymore.

I’ll be the first to admit that my issues with the Delica are largely a result of user error. Or user laziness, as the case may be. Delica lancets, in addition to being more expensive than the standard variety, turn blünt in an instant. I know that in some alternate universe, there’s a colony of diabetics who change the lancet after every single test. I wish I lived there, but I’ve already got a place in this universe, where we change the lancet every few weeks — or worse.

So, although I’ve got two Delica devices and a relatively fresh box of accompanying lancets, I think I’m going to go back to the old school contraption I’ve counted on for years.

Call me masochistic, but I appreciate a productive stab.

17 comments on “In Praise of Pain

  1. Colleen says:

    I bought a mini one touch as a backup but haven’t been able to get the Delica to work. I like my multiclix!

  2. JimG says:

    I really think the ice pick would be great for show & tell and blood checks in public places.

  3. Jonah says:

    I love the multiclix. I tried the Delica and didn’t like it compared to multiclix. And oddly enough, multiclix lancets feel better to me when they’re not fresh! I change the lancet at least once a day anyways.

  4. Sara says:

    I have been called a fanatic about it before, and I am willing to risk it again by mentioning it here – but have you tried the MultiClix?

    And wait until the next generation comes out – it’s called the FastClix and it will be a single action device. No prime and poke, one button to do it all!

  5. Jasmine says:

    Oh my, the wildlife references here just about killed me.

    And the delica…..I like it ok, but I just don’t want to pay for the lancets. I’d rather stab myself with a blunt one than spend more money, I guess.

  6. Marie says:

    You have read my mind! I heartily concur with every word you wrote! I figured i was just an old, not willing to change curmudgeon because the Delica is supposed to be so wonderful and I have been kind of … annoyed with it. Just got the dreaded error 5 message this morning. Hah! Now I feel vindicated. And I thank you for that. 🙂

  7. Brian says:

    +1 for the Multiclix!

  8. Beth says:

    I really thought it was just me. glad to know it’s systemic, i guess. I have a multiclix in my by-the-bed kit, which I like a lot, but I don’t want to carry it with my ultramini on a daily basis.

  9. Beth says:

    Also, I hate that my boxes upon boxes of bd ultrafine lancets don’t in the delicata, though I like the idea of the base of the lancet not being able to turn in the machine.

  10. maria says:

    Thanx. I thought I was the only one with sore fingers and calouses. I just switched to animas ping and the tester with this set seems easier on the poor babies. Good news I found to reduce th # on my tester….not as painful. Yiha. Oh and I’m new at all this since Dec….but my horror story on finger proclaim…I didn’t know to put the lid ok my first on before I used it !@! Ouch!!!! All is dopod much better now. But if fingers sore after 3 months I’m in trinkets do thanx for the article. : )

  11. AJ says:

    I love the delica! I find it less painful than my old one touch variety, even weeks into using the same lancet.

    I know one hardcore guy who carries the lancet, sans device, and just uses his hands to stick himself. I think he’s crazy, but to him its worth it for the space he saves…

  12. Jess says:

    first of all, LOVE the new layout!

    secondly, i also appreciate a productive stab. i’ve not tried the delica because i’ve heard similar things to what you’ve said here. though “dried-up goat teat” is a new one! 🙂

  13. quackademic says:

    I’m so glad to read this! I just got one with a new meter and it is the most useless thing ever. I thought it was just me!

  14. Mark says:

    In that colony of diabetics you mention I’m sure you’ll find those that change their infusion site every 4 days, or thier needles every shot! Love the humor in your post Jacquie!

  15. C says:

    Hello, Mark (poster right above me).

    You are adorable (based solely on your tiny circular photo). Are you by any chance single and live near Iowa? Just checking. ;o)

  16. shannon says:


    dude, i know my kid could concur with all of this (we have even mocked that commercial together). in december, john and i wore pumps for a couple of weeks, as a family ‘in this boat together” thing, and it hurt my fingers every single time i had to check BG. i think L got a kick out of seeing me flinch multiple times a day. i’m just glad it doesn’t have the same effect on her. or you!

  17. victoria says:

    I’m not sure what I like best about this post. I think it’s a three-way tie between you using the words “goat teat” in a diabetes post, a perfectly-timed link to Blunt Lancet or the line, “Call me masochistic, but I appreciate a productive stab.” I cannot wait to meet you for real.

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