Greyest face in the Easter parade – by Wendy Stafford
It was the 29th March of 2007 when I began to feel something that could only have been described as ‘not myself’. (I’m now 18). As this was during the Easter period my fellow class mates were preparing themselves by making cards, painting eggs in spring colours and planning their Easter bonnets for the parade in our local church, however I found myself overwhelmed with the feelings of thirst, fatigue and needing wee after wee!
During primary school any holiday we celebrated I was always 100% involved and enthusiastic but when the Easter Bonnet parade arrived I was nothing but drained, sleepy and bursting for a wee. My mum said that she can just remember my tired, grey face walking around in the parade line with my school uniform hanging off me (as I had lost so much weight).
After Easter myself, my mum and my grandparents all took a trip to Wales. I remember this trip being the worst point of my pre-diagnosis as all of my symptoms becoming a whole lot worse. I drank litres and litres of Irn Bru (because it was the only thing that would quench my thirst – how weird! I don’t even like Irn Bru), I was in and out of the toilets and loosing even more weight so finally that was it. The next day my mum booked me in to see our GP as she had a horrible gut feeling about my symptoms showing the signs of a diabetic. The GP checked me over and sent me straight over to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital for blood tests. After the blood tests my mum and Nan took me into town to buy me a toy of my choice for being brave and getting my bloods taken (which is a big deal for an 8 year old!). By the time we got home my GP was waiting outside of our house in his car. He raced out of the car and told us to go straight back to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital right away as the blood tests shown that I was a Type 1 Diabetic. I remember being hurried into the house and my grandad being called from work to drive us there. ‘A Type 1 Diabetic? What is a Type 1 Diabetic? I hope I don’t have to have any more blood taken, I don’t like needles…’ I ran the same thing over and over in my head as I sat in the back of the car, scared of what waited for me at the Hospital.
When we arrived in A&E they were expecting us, I was taking into a room with a nurse for a consultation about how I’d been feeling and then I was taken straight onto the A&E ward were 3 different nurses attempted to fit a cannula into my right hand. So much happened all at once and so quickly, nurse after nurse, doctor after doctor, needle after needle. I was so scared, fear of the unknown, fear of what Diabetes was and how it was affecting me. After several hours on the A&E ward they moved me up onto ward ‘B3’ (or in other words, the Diabetic ward). As it was a Friday when I was diagnosed I had to be educated by the ward nurses about the basics of diabetes as none of the Diabetic Team was available to see me during the weekend.
When Monday came so did the Diabetic Team. I was introduced to my doctor, nurse and dietician who helped me build a strong relationship and understanding with my new illness. They asked me to complete tasks such as make a leaflet to do with ‘how to treat a hypo’, I remember mine being bright pink paper with colour pencils drawings of food, Lucozade and my cartoon face all over it, haha! During my time in Alder Hey I battled with a range of different emotions… I was scared, tired, tearful, hopeful and assured. I was on ward B3 for exactly a week, they sent me home once they were confident that my mum could administer my insulin injections without assistance. I left the hospital as an exhausted yet confident new Type 1 Diabetic.