The Corn Flake Traveller on Adulthood with Type 1




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The Corn Flake Traveller on Adulthood with Type 1

During my adult years I have only really had a couple of issues and I have generally found adulthood with Type 1 easier than adolescence due to the decrease in all the body changes. This changed for me when I hit my 30’s as my body changed again and I lost my ability to sense what my blood sugar levels were.
I was very accurate in my predictions until this change in my physiology, which I proved to nurses and doctors during my teenage years as at all my check-ups I was told off for not doing enough blood tests and they didn’t believe my argument that they were pointless as I always knew what my sugar levels were. I could tell by how my muscles felt as higher sugars tend to produce lactic acid so I was able to say it will be between 6 and 8 or 9 and 11 and I was correct 99% of the time. This made controlling my blood sugars pretty easy while growing up and this ability continued into my adult years although I became less sensitive and therefore less precise as I got older.

This change in my early 30’s has had a huge effect on my life because I can get false results or no symptoms whatsoever. For example I have eaten sugar thinking I was going hypo and then found out my sugar levels were actually high and more annoyingly I can be going hypo for a while without even realising which can cause more severe hypo symptoms as the hypo worsens and symptoms develop (See my ‘Hypos’ blog post for more about my experience with the severity of hypos).

Another problem I had in my early adult years was related to alcohol and fitting in with all my friends that were partying and socialising, although I say fitting in it was more like I didn’t want to miss out on all the fun. For this reason I could have had better control during my time at university but whenever faced with the should I go out question I used to think of my mum saying ‘she was here for a good time not a long time’ and couldn’t resist going out and enjoying myself.

Although I don’t want to encourage drinking alcohol I do think it is important to discuss as there are things you can do to make sure you reduce the damage you could potentially do to your body. The most important of these I learnt the hard way when I was 16 years old and England beat Holland 4 – 1 in the Euro 96 championship, I started drinking at midday and totally forgot to inject my night insulin and was emitted to hospital for the next 3 days with ketoacidosis – still it was a great game.

There are other, more obvious things you can do such as staying clear of alco-pops, cider, sweet white wine and other sweet drinks and make sure you have a medic-alert bracelet but injecting your night-time insulin before starting drinking is the most important one for those rebellious diabetics amongst us as ketoacidosis leads to coma and death.

Another problem I have had in my adulthood, but affects diabetics of any age, comes from the changing attitude of the NHS. They seem to have taken care out of healthcare and moved from being an institution that was there to help me treat my diabetes to something that wants to control it and tell me how to treat it. I also seem to be a statistic to the system and they seem to be more concerned about ticking boxes rather than actually caring about me. Although I would like to state that this is a general observation and that I have had many caring and concerned nurses over the years (fewer doctors) but they seem to be under pressure from the increasingly invasive ‘Nanny State’.

I have had to fight them to get what I need for good control, the most recent of these occasions was when I first lost my ability to self-monitor my blood sugars, as I obviously needed a lot more blood testing strips. The NHS made this very difficult for me making me first visit the doctor, who obliged and increased my dose but next time I requested a prescription they had automatically reduced it again. I was then asked to justify in writing all the reasons why I needed more strips despite having told the doctor face to face. During this battle for strips, which lasted several months, using quotes from diabetes.org and other websites was invaluable as it gave the people I was dealing with no legs to stand on so I thank these sites for the work they do.

So adult life so far has been a picnic compared to my teenage years but we shall see what my later years bring. With all the nights out on the town at uni I might find myself hopping blindly round the streets holding a colostomy bag shouting about how annoying the freakishly-controlling government is.

Click for my website if you want to know more about my Corn Flake travels

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