In response to the “day in the life … from a mother’s perspective” I thought I would write about a day in my life – a teenager, second year uni student, who works shift work and is involved with every community group she can be, and just wants to have a good time on the weekend. In other words, has absolutely no routine, and no time for diabetes.
So a day in my life
6:31am – Roll over, “hmmm better get up soon, Lantus at seven, you gotta be at uni this morning, working late shift tonight at the hospital … ahhh wont be home till around midnight, am going to be sooo stuffed. Okies time to get up!” Bowl out of bed, stumble into shower.
6:48am – Head upstairs to Mum and Dad in the kitchen, and grab my testing kit. Thinking “So don’t want to test in front of Mum and Dad, am going to be so high, have no idea why, but I just will be. Now how to distract them…” so I ask Dad if the kettle is on, and he thankfully starts talking to Mum again. Pull out my machine, and test, as expected, 15.3. Grab 8 units of Novorapid, 7 units of Lantus and don’t say anything to Mum or Dad about these mysterious highs I keep getting.
7:21am – Jump online to the uni website to see if any lecture notes are up, and my two best friends are online chatting to me via MSN. They too are checking up on uni stuff, and I finally tell them about these highs I keep having. They are very kind; however just don’t understand how diabetes works and all the bizarre things that can happen. Print out the notes.
7:43am – Do my hair, grab food to last me until midnight, kit, books, uniform for tonight, phone and head out the door, ready to pick up one of my friends on the way to uni.
8:20am – Arrive at uni and start thinking, “You know I really do feel high, oh well, will just go to the lecture and ignore it, I have to last until 12noon until this lecture is finished, then have to go straight into a tutorial until 1pm”.
9:28am – Sitting in the lecture thinking “really can’t concentrate today, I sooo need a drink of water and really need to pee” I say to myself “No you’ve got to stay here, they are teaching you about ischaemic heart disease, you really need to know this.”
11:55am – Get out of lecture after skipping morning tea (as I always do on Thursdays because of this stupid lecture and tutorial set up) and check my BGL to see what’s happening. 18.6, have three units of novorapid. Starting to get really frustrated now, I know I am being stupid, but hey I have things to do and don’t want to be disturbed by this diabetes. My life is more than diabetes.
1:05pm – Leave tutorial, the teacher is just going on about stuff I don’t need to know, and think about jumping in my car for a 40-minute sleep before I need to leave to get to work. Decide to test again, 9.6 Wooo hooo coming down! Am really pleased with myself, pull out my lunch and have 6units of novorapid, forgetting about the 3units I had an hour ago.
2:45pm – Arrive at the hospital all done up in my uniform thinking that I could go home and go to sleep, however, I have an 8.5 hour shift ahead of me, and really can’t leave. Test again to see how things are going because won’t get a break until about 7pm. Oh no! 2.3, what to do? Don’t want to be late for work, but need to eat. In the elevator I pull out some food and start eating and eating. Get to the ward, feeling a little spaced out, but okay.
3:20pm – Been to handover, found out about my patients, and of course did not tell anyone that I was diabetic and just had a pretty bad hypo.
5:37pm – Really want some food, but the nurses are all so busy, can’t disturb them, I will be fine, I am on second dinners just 1.5 hours to go!
7:19pm- Ahh good, dinner break for me, they said to take 40 minutes, because I probably wouldn’t get another break, and with a few patients pretty ill and one getting a bit violent I can see why. Test again – 14.2, not too phased, think that at least I am high and will make it through my shift, have 7 units Novorapid, 14 of Lantus, pack my dinner down, have a few drinks of water.
11:23pm – Well, only seven minutes to go, will call an escort and get him to take me to my car, am not used to this hospital and had to park way off in the dark. The escort man tells me I will be fine, follow these directions and you will stay inside. Think, okay, feeling a bit scared, but I can do this.
11:42pm – Hopelessly lost outside in the dark, have no way of getting back into the hospital and can’t find anyone, ring my Mum in tears telling her just how awful my day is and to help me get to the car park. As per usual Mum cranky with me for my terrible control, but realises this is not the time to tell me off, she gives me some sensible ways to work out where I am, and stays on the phone until I find my car.
12:04am – In my car and decide to test, 4.9, have something to eat and begin the drive home.
12:48am – arrive home and run upstairs to Mum who, rescues me as always, gets out of bed, feeds me, and tells me not to worry, she will test me around 3am, and she is sorry that I got so lost after having such a dreadful day with my diabetes. Only thing is she doesn’t know that most days are like this. So feel guilty for not being honest with her, but figure, oh well, will really have a think about it tomorrow.
3:21am – Mum comes in and tests me, surprise surprise, I am high again now 16.2. She sits down on the end of my bed and says “Holly, I know you are trying really hard with uni, work, and all your community service stuff, but I think you are neglecting you. Now I don’t want to get angry with you, but you aren’t telling me what is really happening. Tell me what is going on and I promise to try to help you.” She leans over and gives me a hug. I feel like crying. So I sit up and I say
“Mum, I really hate diabetes, I know I should be used to it, I’ve had it for so long, but really it’s never been this hard. I always try to do the right thing but just with having no routine, and with wanting to do what everyone else does it just doesn’t work!”
So Mum sits there and just talks to me, gives me the space really let my frustrations fly, she amazingly does not once tell me that I have done the wrong thing. Mum then says “I want you to be independent with this, but before that, tomorrow, we are going to work out a plan for you. You probably will not like it to begin with, but there’s got to be a little bit of give and take, and Holl, darling, your friends would want you more to do the right thing by your diabetes and be a little different to them than be unwell. They are student nurses, let them help you, don’t do it on your own. Pick one or two people to be your safety net, if you ask them especially they will not let you down. Now go to sleep and don’t worry any more, I love you just the way you are. Let you be you and part of that is your diabetes.” And with that she gives me a hug, tucks me in and goes back to bed. I roll over, finally feeling safe and fall asleep.
This was a pretty full on day for me, and is what happened to me, Thursday last week, I am slowly working with Mum to try to work out how to manage my lifestyle and I have my friends who only too readily agreed to help me. I will not let this get me down, I just have to stop fighting it and let my diabetes walk in my shadow.