This week is Diabetes Awareness week, and for once I have not been able to find the words to write about life with a child with Type 1. This week has felt like a battle zone, her blood sugars have acted like a petulant toddler, racing from a scary low of 2.4 up to a stupid high of 26. I can’t keep up. Sleep has been a luxury, snatched in 1 hour and 45 minutes sessions as nightly blood tests have become the norm.
I look like a zombie, and Molly’s moods have been close to the edge all week as the impact of too much and too little sugar has taken its toll.
It is rare for me to not try to find the positive, but quite simply, living with Diabetes this week has been utter shite.
But where my positivism fails, my ray of light appears, and although I can’t find any words to tell you why you should be supporting Diabetes Awareness week because I am sick to death of Diabetes myself; my daughter can.
With her permission, I’d like to share Molly’s current homework project which is all about Diabetes.
This is her recollection of the day she was diagnosed, in her own words.
My kid is amazing.
Molly’s words (age 9)….
When I was at school in Year 2, I became very ill. My mum just thought it was a bug that was going around the school. But then after 4 weeks of being sent home from school and complaining of being poorly, she decided that I needed to be checked out by a doctor.
In the school holidays mum took me to the doctors on Halloween [I don’t think I had another day available]. I was nervous and my head hurt and my tummy ached, it was all frightening.
We walked in and sat down in the waiting room while mum went to see the lady. She said that I was going to see a doctor at half past 10 (it was 20 past 10).
After that a doctor called out my name so we followed her into a room.
She said a few things to me about how I felt and why I was being sent home from school. She then got a little sharp pin and pricked it on my finger.
Then she looked at me and she explained what was going on
“You see your daughter has got Diabetes, she will have to go to hospital, I will call them so they know you are coming”.
Mum started crying, I started crying because my head hurt so much.
Mum called a friend of hers to see if Owen and Libby could spend the night with them and go trick n’ treating.
She said yes, so we dropped Owen and Libby-Sue. Me and mum went to A+E.
It was one of the worst day ever, going up to A+E with a banging headache and tummy ache, and not being able to go trick n’ treating. It was such a bad day. Mum was having a bad time too.
When we got there, the nurses quickly got me into a little room and then stabbed me with another little needle but this time it made a buzzing sound, quite alarming too. Then what they did was they said what Diabetes was.
She said it was a condition where your pancreas doesn’t work properly. [your pancreas is what turns sugar into energy].
So then you will have to take some medicine called insulin which is given by a needle. This made me worried, I didn’t like needles. After that she said that she was going to put a needle in me, so if I needed any emergency insulin it could get inside my body quickly by a tube that leads to my vein. So obviously the needle had to go in my vein.
They said my blood sugars were too high so that’s why I was having bad tummy aches and bad headaches. So they had to get my blood sugars back to between 4.0 and 8.0. My blood sugars were in the 40’s. They had to put some insulin to make it come down. [Insulin makes your blood sugars come down. So when you’ve eaten a sugary food the insulin makes it come to the right level. Sugar raises your blood sugars].
She put a needle in me while I was looking at a Where’s Wally book.
[The where’s Wally book was supossed to distract me and it did work, I didn’t feel a thing when it went in].
To hold the needle in, they put a bandage on. They left a little space for the tube.
They made me stay overnight because my blood sugars were still very high and I was still very ill and I had to learn how to do my own needles and give myself insulin four times a day.
So I slept over with mum but I didn’t really sleep because there was a wailing baby opposite us.
I was in hospital for three nights and 4 days and it was very tiring but my blood sugars came down and I learnt how to do my own injections so I was free to go.
I was six years old.
So I was free and I could do anything I wanted and not let stupid Diabetes get in the way of my life. But let me tell you I learnt a lot from it.
Later in my life I got a pump and that changed it all to a different story…
The signs of Type 1 Diabetes
Toileting (going more often)