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[IP] Re: What to tell the children
I was diagnosed shortly before my ninth birthday and I turned twenty-four yesterday, so that's fifteen years of the "diabeasties", as someone here calls 'em. The first diabetic I knew was an older man who'd had his foot amputated. I
always had complications on my mind the first few years. I lived in a gloom and doom cloud, just waiting for my sight to go, my limbs to be severed, or some vital organ to just crash. Then when the early teens arrived, I lived more in
total denial. I would take my injections every morning and evening, never adjusting for what I ate, and rarely testing if I could help it. Except of course for a few weeks before time to see the doctor, just enough to trick him into
thinking I was being "good".
And here I am with no complications other than a knot in my left thigh where I overdid the injections for years (hey, it was handy because I have a freckle there that serves as a bullseye). And I am hoping now to keep it that way. I
think the emotional baggage is what's so harmful.
When I first came home from my week in the hospital after being diagnosed, my two brothers were mad at the attention I had gotten, mad about my mother raiding the snack drawer and tossing away cookies, mad that they were now supposed to
drink diet sodas, and just plain resentful. They didn't understand why I started acting "like a girl". I guess MDI will make you flinch more when you are hit in the upper arms. And my mother (who was overweight) would get the strangest
looks at restaurants ordering me a diet soda while she drank regular. I remember feeling hyper-sensitive when the cost of my supplies was even casually mentioned. I remember sometimes letting my parents sometimes give me injections if
they offered, even though I could do it better, because I felt like it hurt their feelings when I did it myself. And I would try very hard to take a deep breath and keep my face blank so that I wouldn't make them feel bad it it was a
"bad one". My father had the idea that if you pinch the arm so hard it losing all feeling, the shot won't hurt. He was right...but the pinching bruises take longer to heal. haha
I recently found out that my mother came to all my softball games and lead my Brownie troop because she was afraid to let me out of her sight. I never knew that then.
I remember a friend in the fourth grade telling me that I couldn't be an astronaut because it would be too hard to take my insulin in space. Okay, my science grades weren't that great anyway, but the feeling of being different is what
you remember. In the sixth grade a girl I knew started the rumor that you could catch AIDS from me because she just knew I was sharing needles. (with who I don't know)
I always knew that my parents loved me, but the guilt, resentment, anger, and confusion you feel as a kid are worse than any physical symptoms, in my opinion.
God, I wouldn't go back to being a kid for all the money on Earth. For me, being an adult and being more in control of my own health and my own life are a thousand times better than childhood.
I don't know what advice to give you about what to tell your kids. Tell them that being diabetic does not necessarily mean they will have complications. Tell them that you love them. Mostly just be available for them to talk to. I
guess that's all any parent can do.
>From the massive city of Bowling Green, KY
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