Aspen is my first-born, and the most delightful 7-year-old little lady. My heart squeezes with joy when I hear her giggle. A lump forms in my throat when she cuddles me like a koala. We spent a lot of time together this weekend. Not because we planned another amazing “girlie weekend”, where we leave the boys at home to go shopping, see a movie and do lunch. It was quite the opposite.
Whilst getting ready for a party on Saturday morning, Aspen started feeling unwell. This progressed to vomiting, high temperatures, flu-like symptoms and a mild rash. We spent the day in bed together. I played nurse while she napped, read, wrote stories and watched tv. The bucket, disinfectant and Hydrolyte were always close at hand. By Sunday morning, Aspen’s health status had deteriorated to the point where I didn’t feel safe at home. I suspected the situation could go pear-shaped very quickly and medical advice was required. I rang Nurse on Call, and based on the advice they gave me, I packed a bag & made the trip into the Emergency Department of Geelong Hospital.
Thanks to the screening process for the INIT II research study, I know that Aspen is currently antibody negative for type 1 diabetes. Unfortunately this didn’t stop my thoughts racing irrationally ahead to her symptoms indicating quick onset type 1 diabetes. Non-medical professionals were suggesting to us to be mindful of Meningococcal Disease. Whether I was right or wrong at the time, that certainly wasn’t at the forefront of my mind. I was happy to leave that evaluation to the doctors. I don’t know much about anything… except living with type 1 diabetes. I did a blood test on her with my own blood glucose meter. The reading was 6.1 mmol/L, and later on the hospitals’ meter it was 4.2 mmol/L. But a part of me could not let go of the possibility that this could be the beginning of her journey of living with type 1 diabetes. Or has it already begun?
Upon reflection, I think perhaps it has, but only in part. My husband and I have always taken full responsibility for the health of our family, extending well beyond the realms of type 1 diabetes. It includes general disease prevention, abiding by basic healthy living principles and maintaining a relaxed and happy outlook. But more importantly, teaching these things to our children by example. We don’t expect them to do anything we’re not prepared to do ourselves. And we certainly don’t let type 1 diabetes get in the way of living the life that we want to lead with them.
At this stage of Aspen’s journey, it isn’t about type 1 diabetes. Thanks goodness for that.
I often wonder whether other parents living with chronic illnesses feel the same way when their children get sick? Do they fear the onset of the condition in their children, which they wish even they didn’t have to live with?