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Entry Number Two: My childhood with diabetes, with less mention of hats this time round!
Anyone who read my last entry will notice my wonderful ability when it comes to continuity. I mentioned hats last time, and what do you know, I did the same with the title of today's entry! I think I'm done typing about hats now. They actually have nothing to do with my journey with diabetes. So last time, I went into my diagnosis. This time, it's all about what happened next.
It didn't take long for me to grudgingly accept the blood tests and injections. Eventually, I stopped trying to hide whenever the needles came out. Because you know what? My parents were cunning. They always went and found me. This was genuinely confusing. I thought I was amazing at hide and seek. Mum would count to 20 (or some other high number I couldn't yet count to), and I would rush off to hide. It would take her ages to find me. But now, she got me every time when I needed an injection. It was almost like she was letting me win when we were just playing.
Once I had accepted the routine, it was just something that happened to me. I did what I was told, because I was a young child. My parents on the other hand, they had to learn. They went to the meetings with the diabetic specialists, the dietician, and got thoroughly acquainted with how to manage a child with type 1 diabetes. I was in good hands. I had a mother who always put others before her, and had plenty of intelligence to back it up. I also had a father who applied his degree in engineering to everything. In his eyes, my body was a machine that needed the right fuel, and the right insulin amount to use it. So on the one hand, I had dad's calculating accuracy, and on the other, mum's gentle help. It was a great combination. My control was pretty amazing for the first few years as a diabetic. Of course, it didn't always run smoothly.
I have a habit. It's not a good habit. I subconsciously choose the worst time to experience misfortune, and go and experience misfortune. One time, I sprained my ankle when I was walking around with my (future) wife looking for wedding reception venues. And then there was the first time I had a big hypo. I was at infant school, in assembly. It was probably about two years after I was diagnosed. I was at a healthy weight, my broken arm had healed nicely, and all was going well. However, the thing about young children, they tend to use energy as and when they feel like it. I had been running around with my friends at break time. Afterwards, we went to the assembly hall. There was a general atmosphere of infant school children still wanting to mess around in the playground. My teachers were on the lookout for kids misbehaving. One of them noticed me, laying backwards and rolling about. She came over and said 'Young man, stop lolling around on the floor this instant!' Generally, I was fairly well behaved. My teacher looked over and saw me, and she knew this was out of character for me. Mum had also told her about my diabetes. The penny dropped, and she shot over. I was quickly rushed to the medical room.
MEANWHILE... Mum and Dad didn't get much time to themselves these days. Mum had two young children to manage, and Dad commuted daily to London for work. Therefore, Dad decided to take a day off. They would go out for a nice meal, and enjoy some time to themselves. Picture the scene. Two people having a relaxing day. They get ready to go to lunch. They are about to leave the house. Perhaps there is laughter. Was there an embrace at some point? There may have been, dear reader. Then, the phone rings. Oh, it's their son's school. He's collapsed! Day cancelled, drama ensues. Thankfully, I avoided hospital thanks to some dextrose tablets and Mum's hurried instructions.
Generally, hypos were very rare for me as a child. The occasional one happened, but Mum had the hypo stop and dextrose tablets on hand just in case. I got on well with childhood. Diabetes was there, but it was just a thing. I even enjoyed some benefits. Every now and then, I would get to go on trips. They were organised by a local charity, with the backing of The British Diabetic Association (Which is now called Diabetes UK). I got to go to Chessington World of Adventures one time, with a coach load of other diabetics and their parents. As far as I was concerned, Diabetes wasn't that big a deal. My parents were responsible for my meals, so I ate what I was given, when I was told to eat it. Planning my meals was fairly straightforward for my parents as well. You see, I had a phobia of food as a child.
To this day, I don't understand what I was scared of. If I had not tried something before, there was no way that it was going into my mouth. I could be extremely stubborn, and there was no way to change my mind. While my younger brother enjoyed cheese, pizza, curries and all sorts of other things (occasionally and in moderation), I would not go near them. I would feel extremely sick if someone tried to make me eat something unusual. I stuck to peanut butter sandwiches, sausages and burgers. And plenty of vegetables. I absolutely loved carrots and cucumbers. The dietician looked at my diet, and said I actually wasn't missing much. However, I wouldn't drink milk, so I was prescribed a calcium supplement.
This was a mixed blessing for my parents. While they had to make me separate meals to the rest of the family, it meant that my eating habits were predictable. I think that's probably what made my infant and primary school years so successful in terms of diabetes management. When Mum told me that some people poorly controlled their diabetes, I literally could not understand why. When I went to diabetic clinic, I loved it. My numbers were great, and the doctor and nurses were really friendly. At this point in my life, diabetic clinic meant that I was getting at least half a day off school.
In summary, at this point of my life, diabetes did not control me, or worry me in the slightest. To find out how that all changed, come back for my next entry! I reckon I will call it something like 'The plot thickens!' or something of similar intrigue.
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