First things first

By | 19 May, 2010

I don’t remember being diagnosed and I’ve never been good at the “what’s your first memory” thing – I’m sure what I think are my first memories are actually just stories I’ve been told by friends and family enough times that I’ve absorbed them into my brain via osmosis.

However, as the broken pancreas has been a constant throughout my life, it’s given me quite a list of firsts that I do remember:

  • First time I met another diabetic: at a Diabetes UK family weekend. Quietly watching a very grown up 5 year old boy do his own injection and thinking “freak!”. Then realising that I did that too.
  • First time I was sick on a doctor: on a Diabetes UK children’s holiday aged 6. I think even the Dr was amazed by how much vomit a 6 year old can produce.
  • First time diabetes made me look like a genius: when asked to name an organ of the body at school, my classmates went for the ever-so-dull heart, lungs, kidneys. I was the only one who knew what a pancreas was.
  • First time I realised diabetes stops some people doing stuff: aged 9. I was gobsmacked. It had never even crossed my mind that diabetes could stop you doing anything.
  • First time I had fish and chips: aged 10 when I got my first Novopen and could eat more than a miniscule number of carbs per meal.
  • First time I realised Dr’s weren’t always that clued up about diabetes: hearing a Dr shout at a pancreatically challenged child on the ward who was running around “It’s no wonder your blood sugars are so high when you’re running around so much“.
  • First time I realised quite how scary complications can be: when I got a slightly abnormal kidney test result and having discarded all sense of perspective and spent a short while with Dr Google had virtually signed myself up for dialysis by the end of the day.
  • First time I realised the value in double checking stuff: when the second kidney result came back perfectly normal, just like every one since.
  • First time I realised not everyone shares my expectations of my diabetes: when my optician told me that some retinopathy is to be expected after 25 years of diabetes. Factually correct, but a million miles away from the expectations I like to set for myself.
  • First time I discovered the power of the internet and diabetes: when I was thinking about getting a pump and CGM and wanted some real life stories from people who’d used them both, rather than just the marketing spiel from the manufacturers. I got all that plus a huge wealth of diabetically useful stuff online.
  • First time I realised what a shock diagnosis must be: when I started using my insulin pump after 23 years of diabetes and felt like I’d entered a whole new world.
  • First diabetic blog post: taking a step into the great unknown of cyberspace to look back on 25 years of being pancreatically challenged

Any more interesting diabetic firsts out there?

Category: Living with diabetes Tags:

About Alison

Diagnosed with Type One in 1983 at the age of four, Alison's been at this for a while now. She uses Humalog in a combined insulin pump and continuous glucose monitoring system and any blood glucose meter as long as it takes five seconds or less.

9 thoughts on “First things first

  1. Tim

    Since being diagnosed at the age of 28 I’ve never been sick on a doctor. This is something I aim to remedy as soon as possible.

  2. Michael

    Being diagnosed back in 1984 at the ripe ole age of 5, I was the first and only diabetic kid in my school district for most of my years. This presented some fun and interesting challenges for all, like what happens when a KWD swings at a first grade teacher and clobbers her in the face while having a Low – discipline or no? Good times, back in the 80s…

  3. Annette A

    I’ve never been sick on a Dr either. I was 4 at diagnosis. 32 years later, you’d have thought I’d have managed it, but no.
    I do actually remember the Dr coming round our house to tell my Mum I had to go into hiospital because he thought I had diabetes. My Mum doesn’t remember this, so I’m fairly sure it’s a real memory.
    How about my first punishment for a diabetes related occurrence – in a particularly tedious lesson at about the age of 8 I blew up and popped loudly the plastic bag that had held my emergency chocolate supplies (which my friends had all just eaten – a fairly regular happening). Spent the rest of the lesson (15 mins I think) in the corner sniggering at the (useless) teacher.

  4. Cecile

    While we’re sicking along so merrily, the first time I was hospitalised for hypoglycaemia (1999), I unfortunately missed the doctor and parked it all in the parking area. My first hyperglycaemic hospitalisation (post-diagnosis) followed in 2004 after another session of hypo-heaves (thanks to Protaphane), which lasted all day (the heaves, not the Protaphane) and ended with me hyper-heaving nicely into one of those kidney-shaped basins in hospital for my 10 yr D-reunion. Leaving all that retchedness behind, my first and only hospitalisation for diabetic complications was in 1995, when my foggy lenses were sucked out with an ocular vacuum cleaner (leading to a first clear peek in the mirror and the search for a really robust chin-hair weed-eater)

  5. Alison Post author

    There have been plenty more incidents involving vomit, but I’m pretty sure that’s the only time where the Dr was the recipent. Sorry to disappoint!


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