Monday, 6 May 2013

Guest Post: Diagnosis From The Parent's Side

It is with the greatest pleasure and excitement that I have a guest writer for most of today's piece. After scouring the world for the best possible correspondent I narrowed down the search and found the best option. My mum. Any suggestion of bias is wrong, wrong, just wrong.

Last week I spoke to mum (aka Jean) about whether she'd be willing to put down a few words to describe what it was like back in the late 1970's when all our lives changed forever.

Anyway my words are the least important ones today so please read and enjoy:

David’s Story

Round about August 1978 when David was 3 we felt he was not well.  The Doctor came out and said it was probably due to him growing.

Later on in the year he started to drink a lot and wet his bed. We put this down to a temporary breakdown as we didn’t know anything about diabetes.

It was a Monday in February 1979.  Most of the family seemed to have the ‘flu. The day before, we had all been sitting by the fire trying to keep warm. The older children were off school. Around lunch time David seemed to worsen. John, his dad, rang the doctor (a different one). On giving his symptoms, the first thing he asked is is there was any diabetes in the family. He was round to our house within 10 minutes and sent us off immediately to the Children’s Ward at Lancaster with David.

They took blood tests which had to be sent to the Lab. which was the other side of town.
He was fixed on to a drip to get his liquids up.  It was taking so long for the result of the blood test to come through that the Doctor decided not to wait any longer, so he was given his first insulin.

He was in hospital for about a week where we learnt how to inject and measure the carbohydrates in his food. They even brought on a hypo by injecting and not giving food, to show us what to expect.
We went home very worried how we would cope but somehow we got though.

Starting school was a big occasion. All children had cooked meals at our village school. Off I went to meet the cook and she was wonderful even though she had never had to deal with a diabetic before.

All the mums of his friends were wonderful too if he went to play or to birthday parties.

We got lots of offers of help and advice.  Sometimes good but other times ridiculous such as the person who assured me it was just a nuisance and he would soon grow out of it!!!

Over the years we saw him grow up and not grumble to us about what he had. Our doctors and the paediatricians were great.  Even telling us we would probably know more than them as we had to live with it!

We joined a local Children’s Diabetic Group where we could swap experiences and realise we were not on our own.

Three times he went off to Children’s Diabetic Camp where he learnt how to inject himself.  It was the first time he was away from us but as the staffing was wonderful we knew he would be well looked after.

We have seen him grow through his teenage years and find a wonderful wife Laura who keeps him straight when he has a waffy turn, and two great children Joe and Martha.

Thank you mum for that and I hope you all enjoyed reading her thoughts. I'm sure it's similar to what others experienced and also different too. For me it's fascinating seeing it from the other side as I have very few memories from then. Please leave lots of comments and if you have any questions drop them in too as I'm sure their experiences can help others too.

Thanks for reading,
Dave (or David to my mum ;-))


  1. Thank your mum for me for writing this. I love reading stuff by parents especially those we who dealt with all this when technology didn't help us out like it did nowadays

  2. Thanks Kev. She's reading so she'll see :)

    It certainly was different back then but the same in many ways I'm sure.

    Thanks for reading,

  3. I love Love LOVE that your Mum has used 'waffy' in her post. D Mum's are the BEST!

    1. Obviously! It's an everyday word :)

      Yes they are!

      Thanks for reading Mike

  4. Thanks to your mum for writing this. From another mum I can very well understand her worries! Thank goodness that second doctor was on the ball and sent you off to hospital! Also how amazing that you were given insulin before the blood results were back; you must have been really very poorly.

    1. Thanks for that Louise.

      The doctors were also working with different different timescales. Porcine insulin worked a lot slower than more more modern analogues. Medical progress has been fantastic and that's benefitted me aswell as anyone diagnosed nowadays.

  5. This is precious to all moms out there thinking they are so lonely dealing with their lovely children. Thank you Dave's mom! You've done a great job! I send you a bunch of love <3

    1. Thank you very much. I will make sure she reads this!

      Take care.