My (Parents) Diagnosis Story

My diagnosis story is not really mine to tell. I know it sounds weird, but I was so little when I was diagnosed that it feels like it should rather be my parents’ story to tell.

I went to my mom and I asked her some questions based on what I have heard from other diagnoses stories and this is their (my) diagnosis story.

Why was I admitted to hospital?

You had a fever that we struggled to break and we decided to go see Dr Liebenberg, the pediatrition.

Can mom remember how many tests was done and what they tested for?

Dr Liebenberg examined you and immediately requested a urine test. We took you and later returned. The glucose level in your urine were very high. If I remember correctly it was about 42.

What made Dr Liebenberg test for Diabetes?

His 6th sense. After the results from the urine test he said we have a Diabetic. He immediately contacted Dr Esta van Schalkwyk (Dr Poppie as you know her) to advise her that we are on our way.

How did they test for Diabetes? Did they draw blood?

If I remember correctly they did a finger prick and drew blood. At the beginning during the treatment they had to prick your fingers (and toes) 6 times a day and from time to time they did a glucose tolerance test as well. It was very sad to see and know they had to prick your small fingers and toes.

What is my official date of diagnosis?

3 October 1986.

How long was I in hospital before they discharged me?

About 3 weeks. You came home to visit one Sunday, but we had to take you back as your glucose levels were not under control just yet. When we came to visit you and put you to sleep you decided this sleep is nonsense and woke up shortly after, but we went home with the peace of mind that you are sleeping well.

Dr van Schalkwyk told us that we can take you home when we can inject you, so I took the needle and poked it like a dart (my mom says it sounds mean, but I love it) into your thigh, looked at the dr and asked “Can we go home now?”.

Where did you learn about Diabetes management, like the treatment? Were you given “lessons” or pamphlets?

Dr Poppie explained everything and also pamphlets. We had to take you for regular checkups in the beginning and then Dr Poppie would explain more, provide further information and give advice.

Can mom remember how long the first glucose meter took to give a result?

Most certainly a lot longer than the glucose metre’s today. A minute at least.

How many times a day did you have to inject me in the beginning?

The Dr had to experiment with the different types of insulin, but at the beginning you had to take long acting and short acting in the morning and evenings.

How many times did you have to check my glucose levels?

6 times a day.

I asked my mom to also add a bit if she remembers anything and this is what she said,

It was very nerve-racking not to know if you are okay or not. We used to feel behind your little neck to check if your glucose levels were low as the tell sign was when you were covered in cold sweat that your glucose level was most probably low. Sometimes when we had to treat you for a low you bit down so hard that we struggled to get the honey/syrup/glucose gel onto your cheek to have it absorbed quickly.

The time in the hospital as well as the knowledge of what is waiting was very traumatic to process for me and dad. A lot of tears were cried. You were Dr Poppie’s star Diabetic with perfect scores thanks to your mom and dad. It was easy to manage at the beginning as you could only eat what we gave you based on what the dietician advised us. It was very difficult but we realised that your health is dependent on this and a lot can go wrong if we do not manage this.

My heroes

I got quite emotional when I finished reading this. I can not begin to imagine what my parents went through. I will never know, but what I do know is that they did a stellar job of raising me and looking after me.

I do not have a pre-Diabetes world. I only have a Diabetes world and in a way I think this is easier (kind of) as I do not have anything to compare it with. Look, the struggle is real and as you age the things impacting your management just keeps piling and the lists gets longer.

I am very grateful for what my parents have done for me, for looking after me and caring for me. I have lots of stories where they came to my rescue, but that is for another day.

Do you have any questions for my parents or to me? Please let me know if you do. We are happy to help.

E xx

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