Something a bit different tonight. Below is a post written by my dad, giving a parents point of view on life with a Diabetic child. I’m forever grateful to both of my parents for what they have been through, what they have done and the support they always have for me. As always, please view, subscribe, comment and share my website to help me keep raising awareness.
Ours was not a typical introduction to this most insidious of diseases.
Kelly, over a period of several months had noticed a subtle change in our daughter; headaches, Hollies pallor usually if she hadn’t eaten and for Kelly, an overwhelming feeling that something was not quite right.
Hollie was a happy, well-nourished child, but never fat, an allegation frequently leveled by a misinformed public; so we visited our general practitioner and so began a run of tests, taking my wife’s concerns seriously as he himself said you should never underestimate a mother’s intuition.
We were called by our GP practice telling us to take Hollie to A&E as they had reason to believe she was diabetic. Numbly we did this but blood and urine tests were normal. We were advised the original test results must have been a blip and if we had any further concerns to return to our GP. We did, and asked if she could be beginning to develop diabetes. The GP said this was his thinking, he would repeat the fasting blood test and if this was again borderline he would refer her back to hospital. They were and we were referred to a specialist at Alder Hey.
When we met the specialist, she asked Hollie was she worried and what was she worried about. “Diabetes” she replied. The specialist told her don’t worry about that, whatever it is we will find out but you’re definitely not diabetic. We were all kind of relieved but that just gave us fresh concerns over what was actually wrong.
The first test we were called back for was a glucose tolerance test. Hollie arrived at the hospital having fasted, a blood glucose reading was taken then she was given lucozade to drink and her blood sugars were taken again at set times. When we saw a nurse rushing off we asked if everything was ok and he replied “No the reading is very raised.”
The same consultant came back to apologise for her earlier statement and she was then diagnosed with diabetes. Hollie was referred back to a consultant at our local hospital who stated it was diabetes, but highly unusual in its presentation.
Most diabetics are discovered when they are taken to hospital in ‘crisis’; meaning their blood sugars are dangerously high and causing them a lot of harm. In some small way we were lucky Hollie’s diabetes had been realised early, but it doesn’t change the diagnosis. So unusual were Hollies symptoms the consultant speaks of her in his lectures
Initially Hollie’s treatment required one injection, every evening. Personally, I went a whole gamut of emotions, so desperately sorry that Hollie now, at nine years old would have to face a life time of injections, a constant burden of self-awareness, a balancing act of insulin and blood sugars.
I took the turn of the first injection. Previously I had done my best to rationalise and not so much deny the situation but not think about it, but there was to be no more hiding. I did what thousands of other parents have to do every day, against every instinct of protecting your precious child I gave her an injection. Fortunately for Kelly and me, Hollie decided she would be the one to do all further injections, and she has ever since.
As I said, initially it was one injection and Hollie had to eat only as much as the medication allowed, very cruel at Christmas, but by Easter, having initially progressed to two Hollie was on four injections a day and as unpleasant as that was, it gave Hollie the flexibility to eat what she wanted and medicate accordingly. Now she is over eighteen we have the compounded issue of nights out, everyone worries about their child going to pubs and clubs, now add the fact alcohol again alters blood sugars but also impairs people’s judgement. You don’t sleep too well those nights especially if they don’t come home and stay with friends.
We get to be very proud of how grown up and responsible our daughter is, but you never escape the flip side. The constant fear at the back of your mind, when Hollie get a cold or an infection, small ailments can get big quick due to higher blood sugars and that’s before you factor in hormones, that crazy chemical roller-coaster that leads to a reduced effectiveness of insulin, so you have to administer more, carefully, your best guess, as too little can be ineffective and lead to organ damage, too much can put you in a coma.
This is not once or twice, this is every day. You do get used to it, but as a parent you are always vigilant. You have to trust your child more deeply, even though sometimes you know you are not getting a true picture. To further complicate matters for Hollie, in a cruel twist she has a couple of times appeared to produce her own insulin again, this has muted a possibly theory that Hollie’s pancreas is dormant not destroyed, as in other diabetics and perhaps she is lacking a trigger enzyme which activates her pancreas. Who knows it may turn out to be another classification of diabetes (as there are more than 1&2). As far as we know no further investigation is being conducted in this area, who knows with this blog maybe someone will.
So if you’re out and about and you see someone who appears to be drunk or confused take a moment, smell for alcohol, they may be a diabetic in need.