Today we’re going to share our most memorable diabetes day. You can take this anywhere.... your or your loved one's diagnosis, a bad low, a bad high, a big success, any day that you’d like to share. (Thanks to Jasmine of Silver-Lined for this topic suggestion.)
It was 2 months after my 9th birthday. Only 6 weeks after my diagnosis.
I sat in my parents' bathroom. My skinny, bare legs pressed against the cold marble step leading up to the bathtub. I noticed how the orange plastic cap of the syringe in my right hand perfectly matched the skin of the orange I was holding in my left. My eyes darted from the syringe to the orange, the orange to the syringe, but otherwise I was paralyzed by fear.
I had practiced injecting the orange and now my left thigh was slated to be the next target.
My father was right next to me, but he sounded so far away as he whispered words of encouragement. "You can do this, it won't hurt. It doesn't hurt when we give you your shots."
I was frozen. A fat, salty tear rolled down my cheek and several more followed suit. They threatened to melt me into a puddle on the bathroom floor.
I sat on that step in the bathroom for over an hour. I did not question why I had to learn to self-inject that day, instead of the next day, or instead of years from then. My third grade brain did not process that it was just too young to take on such a responsibility because it was just that - too young. I could see the worry furrowing my father's brow and kind, patient eyes as I refused again and again. I didn't like for my parents to worry, so I tried to stifle my sobs. It only served to make them louder.
As I proceed through my Pediatric Endocrine training I sometimes look back on that day. I've asked my parents about it and they explained that they were instructed by the medical team to make me as self-sufficient as possible. They were told that the earlier I learned to do things like injections myself, the more successful I would ultimately be.
That belief has been shattered across the years, with study after study showing that the earlier the diabetes independence, the poorer the outcome. We encourage parents to continue to inject their children for as long as the child allows it. Hopefully, this memory remains just a memory for me and never a reality for future newly-diagnosed little ones.