Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Diabetic Kid

Since I was diagnosed at age eighteen, I missed out on being a diabetic kid.  The whole concept of a diabetic kid to me now sounds scary. I couldn't imagine my mom having to chase me around the backyard trying to prick my finger; nor, can I imagine leaving class to head down to the office to record and check my blood sugar.  However, there is one thing about being a diabetic kid that I feel as though I missed out on in a sense and that is the camps!

A lot of the diabetics I have met have been a part of a diabetic camp at some point in their lives.   They have built a strong community of diabetics that all enjoyed swimming in the lake and playing crazy games while all having to routinely check their blood sugar and give insulin injections every now and then.   It seems there is always a chain that links all diabetics and usually that common denominator is camp!

For me coming so late in the game, I began to wonder what I would have thought about this camp had I had the chance to go.  I can only imagine that it was like the similar 'camps' that I get to do now as a young adult with type 1 diabetes. I wonder if the camp really made diabetes any easier as a diabetic kid.  But, then I think to myself as much as I would have probably found the camp fun, in no way would I wish to have been a diabetic kid.

You see, there isn't anything wrong about being diagnosed so young, in fact those people often prefer their early diagnosis since they don't know any different. Me; however, age eighteen was a fine time for me, if there was ever a good time to get diagnosed with diabetes. I did enjoy almost nineteen years of being a non-diabetic and really didn't have any health issues growing up.  My parents weren't chasing me around my backyard wanting to draw blood and if I was called down to the office it was probably to retrieve a bandaid from an accident at recess.

I often get to talk to people that were diagnosed at such young ages like four, six and ten.  At those ages I had no idea that children around the world were having to take needles daily - that would have sounded like a nightmare to me - yet here were thousands doing it, being brave little children while I was dressing my barbies without a care in the world.

A few comments I often here from diabetic kids, who have since become adults - "Wow, it must have sucked being diagnosed so late!" or "You probably got to go on sleepovers!"     Kind of a mixed reaction, yet I don't think any of us really dwell on what age we were diagnosed, instead we live each day with diabetes hoping for good numbers, a clear head and no hassles.  

1 comment:

  1. I was diagnosed at the age of 5, back in 1965. We did not have home glucose monitors, nor did they do the A1c's. No instead we "checked" our sugar level by using the keto-diastix, which checked the sugar and ketone levels of our urine. That is how I did it until 1984. I got my first glucose machine because I was pregnant. I really wasn't thrilled with the idea, but since it was for my baby, I checked my blood sugars 10-15 times a day.

    So my parents didn't chase me around the yard to check my blood sugar. Nope, it was up to me, my sister or my friends to get me something sweet to eat or drink if I was acting funny and was sweating a lot.

    I went to a diabetic camp for 2 summers. Yes it was fun, but it was also a horrible time for me. See the doctor who ran the camp I went to was using all of us type 1's as guinea pigs. At this time I was on beef insulin, NPH U-40 one injection a day. This doctor decided to add Reg U-40 to my injections. Yes, he had taking 2 injections a day. This doctor was changing every one of the children's insulin requirements around. There were so many children going into multiple insulin reactions (low blood sugars or hypos) that it wasn't funny. He didn't change the councillors requirements. I think because they knew what they were to take.

    It really didn't make being a diabetic any easier on me having been to the camp. I didn't see any of the kids I met ever again. A few of them I wrote, but after a while that stopped... remember this was before computers and emmail.

    And each diabetic is different. I was able to go on sleep-overs. I got to do a lot of things I'm learning that many young diabetics aren't able to. I think it all depends upon how your parents teach you about being a diabetic. I was given total control of my diabetes after my second camp visit at the age of 9. It was up to me to decide how much insulin I was to have, fill up my glass syringe and inject it.

    I believe as long as each diabetic doesn't feel sorry for themselves, do the best they can that's all they can do. You're going to have your highs and lows.

    Look at me, I'm 52 years old, have been a diabetic for 46+ years, and have no complications. I'm not afraid to test my blood sugar in public nor have my insulin injection. It's a part of who I am.