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What is your connection to type 1?

August 4, 2009

Lili tagged me on Facebook with this meme, but I thought it would be more appropriate to post it here on my blog, where I have a larger audience of type 1 diabetics (and parents and type 2s, too). My Facebook friends are primarily colleagues, friends from high school and college, and family, so I thought my LL readers would get more out of it than they would!

You know the drill, copy the instructions and questions, past them in your own note, read my answers then delete my answers and answer the questions yourself.

1.When were you or your child diagnosed with Type 1?
I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes on January 27, 1994 at age 8.

2.What symptoms did you notice prior to diagnosis?
The most noticeable symptoms, for me at least, was the fact I couldn’t get enough water to drink – and I hated water as a kid. So bland. Yuck. I would also wake up at least three times in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, and I always felt terrible having to sneak around at night not waking anyone up.

3.How long did you notice symptoms before going to the doctor?
I had symptoms for approximately four weeks. We can trace symptoms back to just after Christmas, and I was diagnosed at the end of January.

4.Who diagnosed you or your child?
I was diagnosed by Dr. Jim Hansen at Emanuel Children’s Hospital in Portland, Oregon. I believe he was just the doctor on-call that night, but he ended up being the best endo I’ve ever had.

5.Did you try to explain away (rationalize) the symptoms prior to going to the doctor?
I was a kid, so rationalizing away symptoms wasn’t really something I had the mental capacity for. I suppose I tried to hide the fact I was drinking and going to the bathroom so much, because I noticed my teacher and parents were asking me lots of questions… I was just thirsty! But I didn’t realize that what I was doing could be the symptoms of an illness.

6.Who was with you at diagnosis?
My mother took me to the pediatrician to do the urine test, and then she was the one who got the call. Both my parents came with me to the hospital while my little brother (who had just turned 4) stayed with our next door neighbor.

7.Who was the first person you called after diagnosis?
My best friend Jenny. I don’t remember much of the conversation, but I do remember calling her as soon as I came home. The day I came back to school from the hospital, my mom and I went to my school and told my whole class about it. Clearly, I have never hid my diabetes.

8.Where did you go immediately following diagnosis?
It took us a couple of hours before we left for the hospital, because we were waiting for my dad to come home, but then we went to the hospital.

9.How long were you in the emergency room after diagnosis?
I was never in the emergency room, but I was in the ICU (Intensive Care Unit) for a little over 24 hours. Then I was in a regular hospital room.

10. How long was your stay at the hospital?
About three days… Wednesday night thru Saturday afternoon.

11.Who stayed with your child or you at the hospital at night?
Both my parents.

12.Who or what do you remember most from the hospital visit?
I remember staring at the clock that I could see from my bed and telling the nurses all the things I was missing at school… “Now it’s reading time… now it’s recess… now it’s lunchtime… now it’s math…” I’m sure they loved the play-by-play! I also remember the two sick girls that I shared my regular hospital room with. One girl had had something like 4 heart surgeries and she couldn’t get up so she had one of those urine containers attached to her. I remember be grateful I didn’t have that. I also remember the nurses waking me up every three hours to test my blood sugar. I am SO glad I don’t hav to do that anymore!

13.Did you have any overwhelming spiritual moments regarding diagnosis?
Now I do. Now, I believe God gave me diabetes to help others and to help find a cure. But I didn’t believe in God when I was diagnosed.

14.After leaving the hospital for the first time what do you remember thinking while driving?
I remember being pretty scared because I was going to the hospital and I was a kid! I also knew my parents were scared and that was scary in and of itself.

15. Do you remember the song playing on the radio the first time you left the hospital either to collect things from home or after checking out with your child?
No, I don’t think we even had the radio on.

16.Where was the first place you went after checking out of the hospital?
I think we just went home…

17.Did any family or friends come to stay with you after diagnosis?
No.

18.How long after diagnosis did your child return to school?
I went to school on Monday or Tuesday after being diagnosed. I think we just went to the school on Monday to talk to the staff, and then I went back to class on Tuesday. I think (it was 15 years ago! I was a kid! I don’t remember!).

19.What was the first food outside the hospital that you had to count carbs for?
I don’t think I counted carbs for anything. That’s what parents are for! I don’t think I learned carb counting for awhile, or at least it was pretty slowly, just learning from my parents.

20.Have you had any mishaps with medical equipment or medications?
The first few weeks were very nerve-wracking, wondering if we gave the right dose or if we even gave me an injection at all! You’d think you’d remember something like that, but there were many times when we weren’t sure if we dosed me or not.

21.What was the funniest thing you or your child has said in relation to diabetes management?
Oh, there’s a boatload of “I’m high” moments in inappropriate places, but I don’t recall saying anything particularly humorous and my parents haven’t reminded me of any moments.

22.Has diabetes limited you or your child in anything?
No. But that’s only because I don’t want to go into the armed forces or fly a commercial jet.

23.How many people do you think you have educated about Type 1 diabetes?
A lot.

24.How has having Type 1 or being a parent of a child with Type 1 changed you?
I think it’s made me a more responsible person. I also think it’s made me a more demanding, slightly neurotic person too. I think it’s helped with my leadership and interpersonal skills because of all the strangers I’ve had to deal with. I also think it’s made me a more caring, compassionate person too. A caring, compassionate, slightly neurotic person.

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