The events leading up to my diagnosis is not something the I remember that well. It was 23 years ago! But I remember I was working as an apprentice and I was doing my first placement away from the school, out on the factory floor and I was thirsty, really thirsty. This is obviously what my parents picked up on and the next thing I can remember is that we went to see a specialist who did some tests, asked me some questions and then pronounced that I had Type 1 Diabetes. I know it was a Friday as I remember him ringing the hospital and booking me in the following Monday for a week.
When we got back to the car after the appointment I cried, as although I didn’t fully understand everything that just happened, I did realise what the treatment was; injections several times a day for the rest of my life. I don’t remember that weekend at all, or arriving at the hospital on the Monday morning. I do remember a diabetes nurse coming round to speak to me and working out that I needed about 18 portions a day (I think) and that I should have a set number of these 18 portions for each meal. I think this was based on my diet at the time but obviously now I needed to avoid sugar and sugary foods. I have a few vivid memories of that week I stayed in hospital with the most vivid being my first injection and, as I am sure you can imagine I was petrified which is why I remember it. I can remember sitting on my hospital bed with the consultant and the nurse and being shown how to draw up the insulin (I assume that the amount was also calculated from the dietary discussion that I had perviously but I don’t remember) and then them giving me the syringe. As I said, I was petrified and now I was crying, bawling my eyes out saying that I didn’t want to do it but somehow they convinced my to do it. The experience can’t have been too bad as I carried on doing my own injections after that, although with a lot of supervision, and have done them ever since, up until the day I changed onto a pump.
One of the other memories that I have was waking up on the Wednesday (or Thursday) morning and thinking that it was all going to be too much, extremely difficult and “why should I carry on with this?” I very briefly, but with no serious intention what so ever, thought about suicide as it would be an easy way out. This was the lowest point of my professional diabetic career and I don’t know what made me feel better as I was still injecting, counting my portions and avoiding some foods that I loved, but something did. Looking back on the moment now I realise that I would have had no idea how to do it and that, despite my diabetes, I have still achieved a lot in life and I have had a good time doing it.
I was discharged on the Friday morning and the diabetic nurse came round that evening and for the next few days at my injection time just to make sure I was “happy” injecting at home. I think I was seen fairly regularly for the first few weeks then I was on my own with the support of my family. A professional type 1 diabetic.