A year ago, I didn’t take my diabetes in a way I should have and only did the basics of what I thought I needed to. The only bits I stuck to was not to drink the sugar drinks and doing my insulin every day. I coasted on by.
That was until I woke up one morning after moving the living room furniture around till 3am. During this time, I went low and only ate a candy bar to bring my sugars back up. I woke up the next morning, talking randomness to my wife, Kerrie, and not making much sense. She rushed downstairs to get my low kit (glucose gel and biscuits). For some reason, I followed her down the stairs and tripped on the last step. Kerrie grabs my glucose gel and tries to get me to take it but I’m refusing. I start taking the gel, but before I’ve had it all, I started to convulse and have a seizure.
Kerrie panics and gets on the phone to 999 trying to keep her cool but in hysterics. Rushing next door, Kerrie grabs our neighbour for help. Once Kerrie gives him the phone to talk to 999 while she calls my mum to tell her what’s happening. My mum immediately rushes to our place.
The first response comes round and does a blood test. It comes out 6.5, a perfect reading. He’s not convinced it’s not related to my diabetes so calls for an ambulance to pick me up.
Once I am at the hospital I start to gain some conscious as I’m about to prep for the CT scan with Kerrie and my mum both looking down on me. I ask in a haze what’s happened and my mum says, keeping her composure together, says “You’ve had a fit”. My first response to that was “Is it my diabetes?”
“No, they think you had a seizure.” My mum says
I zone out again until we get to the ward. The doctors want me in for observations as they believe it’s neurological. Once I had some food I become myself again. I tell Kerrie and my mum about the night before, saying I went low and didn’t do much. I also recall back to them that I may have done double dosage of my night-time insulin. Either way, the doctors stand by their diagnosis of a neurological issue. Kerrie and my mum head back to our place to get me a few bits as I’m supposed to stay the night.
After a few minutes in a ward with old men making weird noises, I decided I want to discharge myself and go home. Knowing in myself that it’s diabetes. Being able to see and think straight after the sandwich being a giveaway.
The doctors let me leave, they had no choice in the matter.
The event itself was traumatic, not only for me but more so for both Kerrie and my mum, and the rest of my family. For me, the issue laid in this doubt that was it diabetes, or was it neurological?
You see, I didn’t do much blood tests. There’s no long-term analysis of what my readings are other than before I drive. I needed something before and after I ate, and likewise around going to bed and waking up. Plus, there a history with me and possible related neurological issues from when I was a kid.
I had to go for some tests and consultations. The brain MRI was scary, but the brain wave scan was the scariest. See, it’s common to have a seizure during the test, and you sign a waiver saying the risk involved are high. If I did have a seizure during the test, it would confirm there and then it was neurological. My life would have to change. Working on a computer and playing video games would be off the cards. I may never go to a gig again due to flashing lights.
Luckily I was fine, despite how much strain of having a strobe light go off like a rave in your eyes.
I passed all the test. My final consultancy I got told it was likely to be diabetes. The doctor even mentioned Occam’s Razor, which made me smile!
But the fact was there, my carelessness put unnecessary stress and worry on my family. Especially Kerrie.
As I had a seizure, I lost my driving license. For the past 51 weeks Kerrie has driven me everywhere I needed to go if I couldn’t get public transport. I am the one who does all the driving, especially when we take Enni, our dog (read, child), places. But as Kerrie is doing 100% of the driving now, seven days a week it tires her. Kerrie has her own medical issues to worry about and sometimes that impairs her ability to drive.
It’s put a strain on friendships for us. Luckily we have amazing friends who have been understanding and kind towards us. More than any people should ever need too.
There are lots of takeaways from this experience for me. The important for me is having a reality check in that my diabetes does, and will, affect my life in such a massive way. But if I keep on top of it then I can limit problems occurring.
Kerrie and I have learnt lots from these past 51 weeks about diabetes. One of the cool things is carb counting. We now can look at food and give it a value that will tell me how much insulin I need to do. This gives me such amazing control and alleviates the risk of going low.
No matter what, my diabetes isn’t going away. Even if I chose to ignore it, diabetes will be there. It’s not only me it will affect, but those around me who I interact with. The consequences of my actions will affect anybody who relies on me, or I rely on, and who cares about me.
Diabetes isn’t about me, but it’s about everybody; I’m the epicentre of it all. Once I learnt that, I could accept what I need to do now to keep it under control.
I do hate having it and sometimes it does depress me, something that is common in diabetics. At the same time, it means I’m forced to keep healthy and look after myself. I do have a shorter lifespan than the average person, but I don’t have to accept that, I have to accept I am a diabetic.
By the way, as of yesterday, I am legally allowed to drive again now. I cannot be happier right now!
If you’re not following already, I’m posting my daily photos on Instagram and Twitter. This is all in aid to give an insight into an invisible condition. Find out more on my post Blue November for Diabetes