Monday, December 5, 2011

Surviving Toddler Bloodwork

Ever since the boy ended up in the hospital after touching apeanut butter sandwich crust back in January, we’ve been on the waitlist to see the pediatric allergist.  We finally have an appointment this month and the allergist has requested some bloodwork.  To say I was nervous about taking my 2.5 year old, who doesn’t like to be touched, to have bloodwork would be putting things mildly.  I actually found myself feeling a bit anxious about the whole ordeal; I had visions of him screaming and flailing while I failed to restrain him.

Fortunately, I am neither the first nor the last mother to be in this situation, so I turned to social media looking for words of wisdom, advice or guidance.  Of course you all stepped up and shared tons of great solutions; here are the ones we used.  Special thanks to my Facebook Fans who were full of fabulous advice.

“Make sure he's well hydrated or they'll have trouble finding a vein...”

 The boy usually drinks tons of water, but of course the morning of his bloodwork he just didn’t seem thirsty.  I needed to pull out the big guns, he guzzled a cup of (half water) juice in about 5 minutes flat.  I also gave him a juicebox while we were waiting at the lab.

“Bring food. His favourite food. From my experience, a crying child usually finds comfort/distraction in yummy stuff :)”

This one comes courtesy of a friend who happens to be a nurse, so she has lots of experience with crying children.  Although I can’t speak for others, the boy loves his food.  The word snack literally grabs his attention and is usually followed by an adorable face and the words ‘want snack.’  I brought more snacks than could humanly be needed during the visit and saved his absolute favourite, a Halloween sized bag of popcorn twists for after the bloodwork was done.  A snacking boy is a happy boy at my house.

“Take a bottle of bubbles with you. When they are going to take the blood pull them out and have him blow them away from the side they are doing the blood work. He will be pre-occupied, Good luck!”

Although we didn’t end up needing them, I loved knowing that I had an ace up my sleeve, the boy goes nuts for bubbles, what a great distraction.  I love to buy the wedding bubbles at dollar stores, they create tons of tiny bubbles, they are compact and they don’t leave you with soapy fingers.

“Hit the dollar store after for toys and stickers!!!”

There haven’t been many instances that I feel warrant rewards, but getting blood drawn seems pretty valid.  Fortunately there was a dollar store in the same plaza as the lab and before we were even at the store I’m pretty sure he’d forgotten about having the bloodwork.  I think he felt pretty spoiled to have a chance to be in the store without his brother, getting to pick a toy was pretty much a bonus.

All in all, getting bloodwork for the boy was manageable and not anywhere near as horrible, for him or me, as I anticipated.  He didn’t like being restrained, but we plopped him in my lap, I used my leg to hold down his legs, wrapped my arm around him to hold one arm down and then one nurse held his arm still while the other did the bloodwork.  By the time they were on the last vial he was barely struggling.  After a hug, snack and the promise of a new toy the tears subsided and we were on our way.

How old was your child when he/she had bloodwork?  Do you have any other tips for making things go easier?