As you’ll be able to tell from the tortured headline above I’ve recently been dealing with young non-diabetics. As I don’t have children I don’t often come into contact with the youth of today, so it’s an unusual experience for me.
However recently my niece and nephew (aged six and three respectively) have been over for a nice long stay from the United States where they reside for 48 weeks of the year. Before they arrived I had been thinking about the best way of covering the exciting topic of diabetes – should it come up. After all, using a pump or testing your blood glucose is quite a visible thing. And as we all know kids are always looking at things and asking questions – some people call this a natural inquisitiveness, I just call it downright nosey.
However, the topic didn’t really come up; despite some issues. For example, I took my niece (the six year old) to “Robin Hood and Little John Archery” or something equally cheesy. Unfortunately this coincided with a nasty hypo where I got down to about 2.5.
Despite the low BG I distracted the niece – “Look! A pink, sparkly unicorn!” – while I tested my BG and shoved a load of Lucozade tablets down my neck. Five minutes later all was fine and the niece was non-the-wiser. We then went on to fire a load of arrows all round the place – which was enormously fun and dangerous! Woo hoo!
A few days later the nephew briefly noticed my pump’s infusion set while I was bolusing for something. “What’s that?” He asked. “It’s an infusion set” I replied. This, perhaps surprisingly, seemed to entirely satisfy him and the matter was dropped. So much for that natural inquisitiveness I keep hearing about.
So that was that. But still the questions remains – what’s the best and simplest way of telling young people about diabetes? Being some sort of windy lawyer I would almost certainly go into too much technical details and reduce them to tears (that happens with adults too). So how do you deal with this sort of thing? And, if you were diagnosed young, when did you first understand your pancreatic affliction? Discuss.