My diagnosis occurred in 1945 when I was 6. There were no diabetes types back then, all of us were given insulin to help with our fight against high blood sugar. My family lived in a small four room house that was not insulated. There was no insulation in the attic, or in the walls, so we stayed very cold in the winter time. It was very cold in the morning wnen I had to take my insulin. My father loaded the big glass syringe with my insulin and brought a big wad of cotton he had dipped in rubbing alcohol. I lowered my pants and felt the cold air in the room. It made me shiver as I rubbed a spot on top of my upper leg. The alcohol would run down my leg and it felt icy cold when it did that. I hated everything about taking those shots. Even the smell of that alcohol was very unpleasant. The needles were very long and thick and my father pushed it into my skinny leg, into the muscle on top of my cold, shivering leg. I hated the cold, the pain and the smell of the alcohol.
Fast forward to the year 1963. I was visiting my girfriend, Anita, at her home and meeting her parents for the first time. The meal served that evenng was very good but there was an unpleasant odor of alcohol in my glass. I had never tasted alcohol, my parents never had alcohol in our home. It was white wine in my glass and I wished it was water. I hated the taste and the smell of the wine. After explaining that I did not drink alcohol, Anita’s mother took my wine and brought me water. I hesitated doing that, I did not want to upset that evening in any way. The rest of the evening went very smoothly. I proposed to Anita in the downstairs family room in front of a warm fire her father had bulit in the fireplace. She said YES and we were very happy!!!
I did not taste alcohol again until 1972, while visiting the home of the president of the college, where I was teaching. He brought me a glass with with some vodka in it. There it was again, the dreadful smell of alcohol. I pretended to sip some of the drink. When my host was greeting some other guests I poured the vodka on the ground and asked for some sparkling water. I have never tasted of alcohol since that day.
It was not until earlier this year that I realized that my hatred of the smell of alcoholic beverages stems back to the time I was taking those shots during my childhood. I learned to hate the smell of alcohol then and I hate it just as much now. I don’t mind being with people who drink as long as they are not drunk, but I hate the smell of their drinks. It can actually take my appetite away.
I now realize that I do not drink because of my hating the smell of alcohol. That is probably a good thing. Maybe I should be grateful for the shots I had to take in my early years of diabetes. Who would have thought that experience would lead to my never drinking?
Anita and my younger son do not drink but my older son does have some wine with his dinner. I don’t complain but I try to sit as far as possible from him when we have dinner there.