Holiday highs and lows – by Linda Fox
Summer is here and we have just embarked on our first family holiday, five months post diagnosis. Freddie’s dad Jon and I were not concerned, probably because we didn’t go abroad. We just ensured that we had spares of diabetic equipment. Sounds a bit blasé and naïve hey? Well not really, we just don’t want the condition to rule our lives and there’s always a hospital nearby, we have 24 hour phone access to the paediatric team and we know how to manage Freddie’s condition. So nothing can go wrong. Can it?
Well we didn’t anticipate such beautiful weather with the temperature soaring to 30 degrees. In practical terms this meant we had to store Freddie’s insulin in the fridge instead of room temperature. However, the next time we used it (test), the insulin did not leave the needle, so we had to remove the pen from the fridge well before Freddie’s next injection in order to ‘warm up’. And then there was the fridge itself. Boy did we regret not bringing our fridge lock!
Freddie attempted, on numerous occasions, to help himself to food he can’t have until meal times. Still, Jon and I sweated off a few pounds in weight running to stop him accessing it. The hot weather also had an effect on raising bloods, but we discovered that swimming is an excellent exercise to counteract this.
Sadly though you are never too far away from a diabetic dilemma and shortly before we returned home, Freddie refused to eat anything other than porridge for breakfast and yoghurt during the day, which is quite a quandary when you have administered seven units of insulin before breakfast. The 24 hour phone access came in handy as our diabetes nurse agreed that it would be necessary to give food and drinks not normally allowed such as fruit juice to keep Freddie’s blood level stable.
It seems nonsensical to give Freddie sugary food, but is often necessary during illness to avoid a hypoglycaemic attack and that’s the crux of our diabetic dilemmas so far. Toddlers are prone to picking up bugs and when you throw diabetes into the mix, it’s a lot more challenging and usually results in night time blood testing. Freddie is quite happy about this though as it usually results in glucose sweets and food, however, I’ve since realised that digestive biscuits are not the best food to provide at 2am when you are shattered. It seems to take an agonisingly long time for Freddie to crunch through it. Thoughts vary from “hurry up and chew Fred” to “I should have given him bread and butter, quicker to eat at 2am”. We live and learn and laugh about it!
Happily though, our holiday was not adversely affected, we simply adapted to the curve balls thrown at us Freddie had a whale of a time and was full of undisguised enthusiasm, excitement, curiosity, fearlessness and a determination that belies his age. He spent his holiday building sandcastles, kite flying, swimming, climbing and mosh pitting every night at the kids disco. Jon and I spent ours trying to keep up with him! He doesn’t know he has a long-term health condition and so it doesn’t stop him doing anything and this is the mind-set we will use as Freddie gets older, encouraging him to understand that his health condition is manageable and shouldn’t impact negatively on anything he wants to do. Freddie 1, diabetes 0.