Sunday, 20 April 2014

Diabetes Firsts

Happy Easter everyone! :)  After Christmas, Easter is probably the next most daunting annual celebration for a lot of people with diabetes. (There's a lot of temptation with chocolate covered treats and super sweet hot cross buns absolutely everywhere.)  Regardless, Easter is definitely something to be celebrated.  Whether you're religious or not, Easter is about new beginnings.  As much as I've been obsessively reading other diabetes blogs, I haven't, for whatever reason, been feeling as though I have been able to write about my own experience with the D for a while.  However, as this is a time of new beginnings, I'm feeling excited and motivated to join the rest of the online community and get posting once more!

Speaking of new beginnings, I recently watched a lovely video online, which follows the journey of two elderly ladies as they embark on their first flight on an aeroplane.  It is a part of the telecommunication service 'Vodafone's series of 'firsts' films, which claim that 'doing things for the first time keeps the world interesting'.  When it comes to diabetes, it's easy to get stuck in routines - good and bad.  To an extent, the D actually requires routine.  However, as I discovered last Monday, there's still opportunity for diabetes 'firsts'. 

I was travelling home from a long weekend spent with my dad and step mum. The sun was shining and I'd decided to wear an all-in-one floral playsuit, which turned out to be a diabetes no, no.  Diabetes isn't exactly the first thing I consider when I'm picking clothing garments from my wardrobe in the morning, so it's fair to say that I couldn't have predicted how impractical wearing such an outfit would make administering injections.

After Anthony and I got engaged in Paris in January (yay!), a friend of my dad's had kindly surprised us by doing a beautiful painting of us, which had been waiting at my dad's house for me to pick it up.  Luckily the canvas and frame weren't heavy, as I was absolutely determined that I was going to single-handedly take it back home with me on the train.  Still, after hauling my suitcase, handbag and the painting onto my second train-change, and I'd successfully found myself a seat, all I could think about was the tuna sandwich and cherry tomatoes I had packed for my lunch.  

I tested my blood - 5.8 mmol, which gave me a smile! - and ate my lunch.  I felt immensely satisfied, until the realisation hit me that I now needed to find a way of taking my insulin.  I normally inject into the tops of my legs or my stomach, which were not at all accessible in my playsuit without pretty much taking the whole thing off.  I thought about venturing to the toilet, but I didn't want to leave the painting which I was guarding by my feet.  The only 'injectable' part of my body, which I could get to easily, was my arm.

My parents used to inject into my arms for me when I was younger as I used to get lots of lumps and bruises on my legs and tummy.  In fact, Anthony will administer insulin there for me now if my usual sites aren't looking too good.  However I've never done my own injection in my arm.  In fact, I have a bit of a fear of injecting into new sites.  I don't know why - a needle's a needle at the end of the day.

It took me a good few minutes to pluck up the courage to do it (and a lot of taking the needle guard off, putting it back on, taking it off etc.) but eventually I did my first insulin injection into my arm, all by myself!  It hurt a little as I pulled it out at a funny angle, because my hands were shaking from the nerves, but it was fine and I spent the rest of the journey feeling very happy.  To some people it may sound like nothing, but I felt like I'd accomplished something.  I guess I proved to myself that new diabetes beginnings and D-'Firsts' are possible, even after nearly 18 years of living with type 1!  More than anything, this experience gave me further confirmation that nothing can stop me having a completely 'normal' life, even with diabetes - not even a floral playsuit.