Alcohol – by Helen Whitehouse
I have to say, one of the questions that my mother has to ask every time she attends diabetic clinic with me is “ Is she allowed to drink…?” I add the ellipsis to this question as I feel she would very much appreciate my lovely diabetic nurses strictly forbidding alcohol until the age of 18 ( I obviously don’t touch any form of alcohol ever. Ever…cough) however, my nurses are pragmatic people and they realise that in some time within the no-mans land of teenager-hood, the problem will arise. And what is really the sensible answer to it?
Illegal or not, we all know of youths hanging round in parks, downing fish-tank bottles of white lightening. Although this isn’t right, its inevitable that we do drink occasionally… Sensibly or not.
But it isn’t just age that diabetics need to take into consideration. I literally never knew the array of stuff that surrounded alcohol. It puts your sugars up, then pushes them back down, alcopops are bad, beer and cider are “better”… Make sure you take your insulin, not too much insulin and for gods sake, make sure you get yourself a nice greasy kebab afterwards. It seems like logic gets turned on its head slightly. Eat greasy food? Not alcopops? Isn’t it a right of passage to be sat there with your tropical Bacardi breezer? Well apparently not. I never knew exactly what was going on and what I would have to take into account when I wanted a drink.
To be honest, I am a pretty wary drinker. Even at Leedsfest I didn’t touch it, I just sort of pretended to be intoxicated as I pranced around listening to Pulp ( yes, I gave into peer pressure and pretended to be drunk at a festival. The plus side is I didn’t actually fall over into the foot deep mud). I mean, I am 16 now and it’s not something that really appeals to me. I don’t like the taste of it, and it makes my skin look scummy the day after. And for me, even if I do drink, I am too aware of injections and blood sugars for it to be enjoyable to me. It’s a token drink before my OCD kicks in about severe hypoglycaemia (I think of worst case scenarios). It is a difficult situation. But like anything, at some point in anyone’s life there is a time where they think, “Wow, maybe I have overdone it”.
The point to remember is, you can do anything in moderation and lead the life that maybe you envisioned for yourself before diabetes. And for me personally, sometimes drinking becomes a peer pressure thing. But, don’t let anyone rule your life about it, and remember that it isn’t diabetes stopping you, its your own decisions.
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