Diabetes Story: How it all started

Originally posted on my website at www.janekdickinson.com

One way that people with diabetes can discuss the emotional impact of their disease is to tell their “diabetes story.” I found nine questions in an article recently, that can help people tell their “diabetes story.”

Question #1: What do you remember about your diagnosis? Before, during, and after.

I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes on a sunny day in June. I had taken a course of antibiotics for a supposed kidney infection, with no result. I had the classic symptoms: peeing all the time, drinking tons of fluids, wetting the bed, no energy. I don’t know if I lost weight, but I’m sure I wasn’t gaining as I should have been.

When we returned to the pediatrician’s office he checked my urine for sugar and sent us straight to the hospital. On the way, however, my mother stopped and bought me a milkshake for “being good.” Maybe it was a consolation prize. At any rate, I remember that I was wearing a blue dress. When we arrived at the hospital, a very old and scary nurse barked at me to take my dress off. I left my slip on and received some more barking.

I have no recollection of what took place between the “admission” (undressing) and arriving at my room, which was actually a ward. There were probably seven beds lined up in one room. There were windows to the outside and windows to the hallway. I met a 5-year-old girl (I was seven) who had a urine bag that she carried around, and she traveled by wheelchair. As I lay in the bed having an IV put in my arm, the little girl said, “Don’t worry, it hurts a lot more when they take it out.” GREAT!

I remember my parents visiting and then going to classes. I went to one class with them. It was in a fancy board room with a big table and a very heavy door. Being the last one to enter the room I decided to see if I could stop the door from closing with my pinkie. Nope. It closed, hurt the pinkie, and the staff insisted on having it x-rayed. They also insisted that I travel to the x-ray by wheelchair, so they took the one right out from under the 5-year-old. I felt very bad about that, but she didn’t seem to mind.

I remember turkey sandwiches on white bread, Lorna Doones for snack, orange sherbet in a cup that arrived on a meal tray and was hastily taken away by a nurse who said, “you can’t have that!” I remember angel food cake. My aunts and uncles came to visit and I received a lot of presents. My uncle gave me some Diet Pepsi, which I liked and everyone was very relieved.

My favorite part of the hospital stay was following my nurse, Sue, around while she took vital signs. She let me go with her and watch. I adored Sue, and because of her, many years later I decided to become a nurse. I often wonder where she is now. I remember a “sun-room” where they had toys and games, and where my snack was often delivered. It was basically an expensive day care while my parents took classes – ten days I was there!

My most vivid memory of getting home is of a cupboard full of “plain” snacks like Nilla Wafers and Lorna Doones, and diet soda in the refrigerator (which cracks me up since we never even drank regular soda) - Fresca and Tab. I still drink Fresca to this day! My dad had created a “diet card” - a piece of paper with my 2200-calorie diet all written out with meals and snacks - and hung on the inside of a cabinet.

It’s interesting to write about my diagnosis. It’s not scary or overwhelming, because for the most part it was an ok experience. I find it interesting that I started writing like a seven-year-old after the first couple paragraphs. Hmmm.

So, what was your diagnosis like?

I was posted in Bombay in 2006. Grew fat (Did’nt get obese). Was always afraid that i might get diabetes. Got myself regularly checked. Even last year i.e. 2010 i had a blood test. It was negative. though i had BP(always had but diagnosed for cholestrol a month back). Around Feb this year i started losing weight. Used to read the “signs of diabetis” chart but could’nt guess it. I even had ED since last year. Used to love sweet and excess use of jaggery. Two months ago I started having urine problem. Thought i had bladder infection that’s why i could’nt control. Got tested for urine and blood last month. Got 400 sugar. I was heartbroken. Now my favourte timpass of eating and lazyness are gone. Kind of frustrating. When i pass sweetmeat shop or other such place i get really sad. My freinds enjoy themselves. In bombay u don’t get sugar free sweets easily. And stupid pastry shops don’t even know what sugar free is.