My 4 and 7 year old saw a young kid recently test his sugars and, of course, 1,000 questions followed. I explained to them as simply as I could but it made me think about the first time I was aware of diabetes.
I was in 8th grade playing at a local pool. 2 girls rounded the corner dragging their sister in a run to the snack bar - they got her juice and a candy bar and sat with her till their mom arrived. It was really scary - none of us had any idea what was going on! Her older sister told the crowd that had gathered that she was going to be find and was diabetic.
When was the first time you heard about diabetes? Have you ever been in a position to explain it to someone that was completely clueless?
I was 12 when my grand mother was dx'd. I helped in giving her shots daily. I learned by practicing on an orange. When she was having trouble I had to go get a chocolate bar from the frig. or from under her pillow.
It runs in my family and that is why I don't want it. I saw what it did if you didn't eat right - she went into a coma and passed away.
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I can't remember when I was first aware...seems someone or other in my family has always been diabetic. I do remember explaining it to my then 4 year old grandson the first time he saw me testing my sugar. I kept it simple, telling him that sometimes my blood had too much sugar in it and I had medicine to fix it when that happened. Today, he helps me....he loves to trigger the lancet and stick my finger and will read the result to me. He also likes to wipe the spot where I'll be injecting with alcohol for me. He's 6 now, but I still don't trust him to do the injections, lol.
I encourage both my kids to be tested at regular intervals. Both me and my ex husband are diabetic, as were both my parents and his mother. I think my kids have a high chance of being diabetic at some point and they need to be aware of it.
I was aware of Juvenile Diabetes, now better known as Type 1 when Mary Tyler Moore started being the spokesperson. Aware is not the same as knowing what is going on.
I really didn't know much until I started studying in college. Then my mother developed Type 2 and was insulin-dependent. I thought her doctor was crazy for giving her insulin, but I found out later that her sugars were always crazy high and pills did not control her diabetes.
Yes, I have been in a position to explain diabetes. I was a band mom and sat in the back of the room away from people. I needed to eat because I felt my sugar dropping. One of the mom's decided to sit by me and I decided to test and then take insulin. She was fascinated. LOL. For one, the stereotype of a Type 2 - you need to lose weight. The diabetics in my family were all normal body-weight and/or on the thin side. She asked me why I had diabetes. All I could say is that my mom had it.
I explained about high blood sugars and the need to watch my carb intake. She sat there and looked at the bag of potato chips she was eating and I told her to look at the nutrition label. I told her carb counting is important for diabetics.
It's quite interesting at the place I work. I work with a senior luncheon program for the Salvation Army. Quite a few people sitting there with meters and insulin. No one is embarrassed. Quite proud of them that they are taking care of themselves. When I see these things, I mention that, I too, am diabetic. It gets a good dialogue running. One woman was just diagnosed two weeks ago. She came running to me for help with her meter and carb situations. I was so glad that I was able to help her. I serve lunch and she asks me what she should eat, skip, etc. We're all getting the hang of it together.
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