From the moment I got to the hospital it all at least went by so fast, it’s something I can’t bring back to the front of my mind. The ‘check-in’ so to speak. My parents didn’t leave my side, my brother… I think perhaps he was with a friend, no doubt a 10yo boy would hate being stuck at a hospital for no reason to do with him.
I was taken in a wheel chair to the children’s ward (I assume because given my internal health they didn’t want me getting any worse than I already was), eventually I was given my own bed and they wheeled me in to what was going to be my 7 day home.
*insert forgotten memory here*
Next thing I can recall is sitting in my bed, my mum, my dad, an Endocrinologist and nurses standing by. Here they sat me in a chair and weighed me (I’d never seen ‘chair’ scales before!). I recall I weighted 27kilo’s. I can’t recall my height but it was obviously too tall to be a weight that small. I was skinny, I could suck my stomach in and look like my ribs were a cave. I was withering away. This was one of the symptoms as listed here
One of the most poignant moment of this hospital entry was when the Endo told me to breathe on his face. Now I know I was only 8 but I knew this was abnormal. I did as he asked, after all he was the doctor! He turned and asked my parents to also have my exhale on their faces.
What was the purpose of this?
“Your daughter has so much sugar in her system that her body cannot get rid of, that even her breath has a taint of sweetness to it”
I was literally sweet.
This week was a crazy week, so the timeline of events quite possibly are not in correct order. It is nearly 22 years ago that I am trying to remember, so please bear with me; perhaps what I will do is notate my memories and what was pinnacle about them… yeah, that’s a good idea in this situation I think.
In the night I was diagnosed, another girl had been let out from her being diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. The lady in the bed opposite me was experiencing gestational diabetes.
During pregnancy the overload of work the body has to do to accommodate for the baby can take over that of general care for the mother. In this instance not enough insulin is produced for both mother and child, thus the mother has Gestational Diabetes. In some cases the mother then is no longer able to produce insulin and can end up with Type 1 Diabetes. In other cases her body functions go back to normal and once the baby is born is able to produce, and use her own insulin.
John Travolta… I fell in love with someone famous for the first time ever.
When I was diagnosed there was limited VHS’s that we could watch at the time, so I was introduced to Grease. And wow, was I blown away. The music, the dancing, the beautiful story of Danny and Sandy… How could you not? The nurses would wheel in the TV and for those two hours I was watching the movie I could escape into a wonder land of love, passion, drama… oh, and John Travolta.
I don’t care what they say, that man has the best moves of anyone that I know!
The boy that stole my lollies
It was my last couple days of being in hospital, some family friends had found by some miracle sugar free lollies (I never really ate lollies anyway but the thought was all that mattered to make a child feel ‘normal’)
There was this one boy… he was a character… no wait, he was a trouble maker. Plain and simple, a trouble maker.
My lollies were on my side table, as they had been. I hadn’t eaten them even though they were sugar free. I was timid, and I wanted to save them for when I got out. Good old Double D lollies they were haha.
Well, at one point this boy thought it would be hilarious to scamper past my bed (I was out of his way in my ward, but hey… when a kid is on a mission right?) and grab my lollies.
The nurses went frantic chasing him, I was upset naturally as not only was I in hospital, getting needles all the time, finger pricks, and blood tests, but now this boy had decided to steal a comfort that someone had given to me.
Day time, night time, all the blood tests
Unless you’ve ever been ill and had no idea what was wrong with you, or similarly was diagnosed with diabetes (These days most people only spend 3 days, not 7 in hospital like I did). Given the nature of my diagnosis there were finger pricks every few hours, I remember being woken up every night for a mid-night blood test, drawn from the arm. So this meant disrupting my sleep, dragging me into another room, and then putting me back to bed
I didn’t cry, I just went along with it, what was I do to? I was 8. I was more surprised at how well I handled the constant drawing of blood from my arm… What a tough nut I was as a kid!
Other diabetics I have since spoken to that had been diagnosed 15 years or more ago all seemed to train in a similar way…
It was time for my parents to learn how to administer my injections. The Diabetic Educator took us to a room where we would learn information about Diabetes. We all went to school together.
She pulled out an orange, and a syringe. The syringe was filled with a saline mixture, nothing crazy or interesting, just a salt water mix.
The orange was used as a ‘fake human’ for mum and dad to learn how to administer an injection. She advised that an orange represented the human body most in terms of how it felt to put a needle in, and the pressure when pressing the plunger. Thank god it didn’t represent my skin!!
After my parents injected the orange, it was then turn to do an injection on her… Well, this is where I hid behind mum and cried… And mum remained strong as always bless her soul. Dad of course did the best of his ability taking it in his stride.
Vegemite v’s Promite
Mum had given us Promite growing up, and that was completely fine, I didn’t know any different as I didn’t really experience other food unless at parties and the like.
Then came the midnight snacks, or afternoon snacks.
We would go to the kitchen and mum would make me Savoy’s with Butter and Vegemite… Oh my… the salty goodness!
I have never looked back and LOVE vegemite from that moment on. Standing and watching slightly impatiently so I could get my little mittens on the biscuits with the creamy butter and salty brown tar smothered all over. Yum!
Some things you never forget. I never forget the love I had for horses, reading books, watching “The Silver Brumby”, “Black Beauty” and any others. Playing with my toy figurines, learning breeds, colours. Dad and I had been talking about maybe going horse riding when I was young. I fell in love when I rode a Shetland pony at the Shepparton Show one year, it was all over from then. I had my passion, I had my beast, and now I needed my own!
When I was diagnosed with diabetes it was hard to try and think of normal life as I was locked away, trapped in bed, and attached to an IV.
But there was a light.
Dad had made a promise that he would take me horse riding once I got out, life would go back to “normal” (haha, right?) but I would finally be able to learn how to ride a horse!
I love you dad – you kept your promise and I learned how to ride horses… This had to be one of the most amazing gifts you ever gave me.
And then, I was discharged from hospital and my daily routine had to change forever. I am now a diabetic
An individual with diabetes
I have to change my ways, as does my family for me