Diabetes is a game changer in life – by Linda Fox
I suspected Freddie may have diabetes when he started displaying classic symptoms, a constant and unquenchable thirst and wetting through nappies after an hour. The defining moment was when instead of washing his hands, Freddie used them to drink the water. However, his symptoms were initially put down to an ear and throat infection and it was only after admittance to hospital that the diagnosis was confirmed.
I wasn’t surprised, but I was still devastated and at a loss to understand how he could have it when there is no family history, but the hospital team were a fantastic support. I was happy to hear that as long as we manage the condition Freddie’s life will be relatively ‘normal’, and surprised that insulin could easily be administered in the form of a discreet pen, amazing! But less pleased that I would have to try and remember my maths GCSE when calculating carbohydrates, which can be mind boggling indeed!
Almost four months down the line we are back to ‘normal’ and Freddie is stable and thriving. It has been life changing though and along the way we have unfortunately encountered many frustrations including problems with obtaining prescriptions, explaining the differences between Type 1 and 2 to family and friends, discrimination, learning to manage the condition and teaching Freddie a new routine.
So how did I persuade a two-year-old that pricking his fingers up to eight times per day is ‘normal’ when he can’t understand? You simply turn it into a game! We use the testing meter as a countdown to send a rocket (fingerpricker) into space, once it has refuelled (with blood) follow with rocket launch noises and reach for the moon!
Instructions for game – Clean and dry finger, attach needle to finger pricker, insert blood testing strip, inform Captain Freddie of imminent refuel; count down Thunderbirds’ style and blast off! Freddie isn’t perturbed when the ‘rocket’ comes to refuel now, he is so resilient, which is great but also sad as it’s not a game you want to play.
Diabetes is a game changer in life no question. A mixture of Snakes and Ladders with the highs and lows of hypoglycaemia and hyperglycaemic attacks; Cluedo when you are completely baffled as to why blood sugars are too high, Scrabble when you are trying to understand all the medical jargon for the condition, not to mention scrabbling around for a jelly baby or two…and Chess when you are trying to decide the best move.
We will continue to learn the rules of diabetes and manage the condition, rather than allowing it to manage us. Freddie is still able to have treats and have as much fun as other children and life is great. Let’s play!