Living with diabetes – the impact

Jetplanes - yummy but they stick to your teeth!

To be perfectly honest, being a diabetic has not yet had a huge impact upon my life.

It has however had a huge impact on the way I live my life and the things I think about. You see, I want to lead by example – much as my father did. I have a condition – diabetes – and I’m determined to do everything in my power to delay the inevitable insulin injections. Perish the thought – on a normal working day I have to make sure I’m in the bathroom by 6.30am so that I can do the hair, the face, have breakfast, take my pills, hang up the washing and get out of the house by 7.40 at the very latest.

Unplanned telephone calls are an inconvenience.

The doctors are unsure of my diabetic status. By all accounts I should be Type 11 – the most common form of diabetes. But I do not fit the profile. As well as the physical mismatch, I have far more energy than would be expected of a diabetic.

At the moment, the feeling is that I have late adult onset type 1. There is a name for it but it escapes me at the moment. I’ve never been good at biology.

The threat of the needle loomed this year – and I was petrified. Thankfully, when the blood tests came back, they were ok. My medication was amended and I’ve just got on with it. The biggest challenge is in remembering to take my pills and remembering to keep a supply of sweets on hand at all times.

I never know when my blood sugars are going to plummet. For a period of several weeks this year, they were plummeting daily. What happens? How do you know? I normally have a slight tremor in my hands. My father had it too. It’s most obvious when holding a sheet of paper or a cup and saucer. I’m far better with a mug! When under stress the tremor is more exaggerated as it is when my blood sugars take a dive.

I start to feel ‘wobbly’. I have difficulty processing my thoughts and words. A cold sweat begins and I feel faint and a little nauseous.

I’m experiencing a ‘hypo’ and I need sugar – instantly! It’s easier to have sweets on hand than a bottle of fizzy, which works more quickly. Ten or so minutes after a good dose of sugar, I’m back in the real world. It takes a bit longer to feel normal though.

At the moment I’m favoring licorice allsorts, having got heartily sick of jelly-beans. I also love jet planes, but they have a habit of getting stuck in my teeth.

Having experienced a few hypos during meetings at work, I took to taking sweets in with me. Not a good look but better than having to dash out of a meeting. (For work purposes Rowntree’s pastilles are perfect when you can get them because they’re in a tube shape and are yummy – especially the purple ones – and you can extract them from the wrapper without making too much noise.)

I never know when it might happen or why it happens.

Saunas and spa pools are off-limits for diabetics. After a few minutes in a spa pool I feel extremely light-headed and am dangerously close to passing out.  In very hot climates I experience the same light headedness and can feel myself losing it. I need to get inside to cooler air.

I’ve only had one hypo while asleep and it was frightening. I only just made it to the kitchen cupboard where I keep the jar of sweets.

All this and I’m not even on insulin!


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