This is the third interview in the Meet the Parents of Children with Type 1 Diabetes series here on my blog. To find out what it is all about pop to the initial Meet the Parents post.
Where do you live?
When was your child diagnosed and how old were they?
2 years ago at age 13.
What were their symptoms and how did their diagnosis come to happen?
I had noticed over a few weeks that Daniel was drinking more, but it was summer. He had got a bit thinner, but had grown. He was complaining about headaches and tummy aches and was generally pretty grumpy, but none of this really stood out.
Then during half term when I realised how much he was drinking and weeing. I was concerned but not overly. Then we had a trip out for an eye test when he drank an entire 1L bottle of water in the half hour journey there and was still asking for more.
I knew drinking was a sign of diabetes – but not the full implications so was not unduly worried but did take a urine sample into work the next day (I work for a medical charity) to be tested which showed high levels of glucose and ketones. I was still not particularly worried. As it was a Friday, I asked our nurse if I should wait until Monday but she said I should take him to the GP that day.
An appointment was made for that evening and I took another urine sample with me. The GP tested the sample which confirmed what I said and sent him for a finger prick with the nurse. This showed his bg was 29.1, ‘that’s quite high’ she said.
Back into the Dr who explained to Daniel he had type 1 and needed to go straight to hospital. Bit of a shock for me as I didn’t realise how serious Type 1 was then!
We were told to go home and pack for an overnight stay, then go straight in. We were there within the hour and seen on the ward. We stayed for 24 hours during which time my mind was blown with all the information culminating in me bursting into floods of tears on the poor car park attendant who had to release my car – But at least he felt so sorry for me I didn’t have to pay for the parking!
Did you know anything about Type 1 Diabetes before diagnosis?
I thought I knew about it, i.e drinking being a symptom, but, in fact apart from the real basics I knew nothing.
Is your child on an insulin pump or on mdi (multiple daily injections)?
He was put on a pump 3 months after diagnosis and also now uses the Freestyle Libre
What has been the hardest part for you and your child/children?
Because of his age all the care was handed over to him, with me overseeing – I have still never done an injection or cannula change (although I do his Freestyle Libre insertions as he doesn’t like them!) but after 6 months of being so good with it all (on the whole!) he started to avoid bolusing, forgot to prime cannula/tubing etc resulting in a nightmare Christmas. So I took over almost all of the diabetes care. I am now trying to hand some/all of it back to him ready for transition to adult care.
Between diagnosis and today, is there anything that has gotten easier for both of you?
Using the Libre has given me greater peace of mind and makes it much easier for him to check his blood.
I have mostly come to terms with his diagnosis now, but still have down days that his life is not as simple as his friends – and never will be.
Has your child’s school been helpful in terms of Type 1 Diabetes care?
He was diagnosed at the end of middle school and he had lots of support there but this was not the case at the upper school where he was expected to do it himself. Despite a very detailed care plan, it is down to him to manage day-to-day. He does have a fast pass for lunch queues and toilet access though.
If you could say one thing to a parent whose child has just been diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, what would you say?
It gets easier, take one day at a time and be kind to yourself – sorry that’s 3 things!
Is there anything that you would like my readers to know about Type 1 Diabetes?
Please know the 4 main symptoms (toilet, thirst, thinner, tiredness) as you could save a life.
Considering what pesky beggars they are for getting everywhere, where is the weirdest place you have found a blood testing strip?
Under the car seat as I was cleaning it. (I wouldn’t normally clean under the seat by the way, but I was selling the car!).
I always tell my son that Type 1 is not who he is, it is just a part of our lives we have to deal with. Tell me a random fact about your child, that has nothing to do with Type 1 Diabetes?
He can always make me laugh no matter how infuriated I am with him!
Thank you Clare. I was the same as you before, I thought I knew a bit about Type 1 Diabetes since I had friends with it. You really don’t know much at all, until you live with it every day. I also think ‘be kind to yourself’ is one of the most important things to remember.
If you are the parent of a child with Type 1 Diabetes and you would like to take part, then please do email me at firstname.lastname@example.org