To clarify, a metaphorical birth rather than an actual birth, when I consider the mental scars, the pain and the difficulties; I could go for an episiotomy without anaesthetic instead, I believe kids are more rewarding. I jest, but on a more serious note, (so early on…don’t worry, I’m seldom consistently serious); no one should ever have the diagnosis experience that I did. Let me set the scene…..
*If you’ve ever seen Austin Powers, at this moment picture his psychedelic scene changing dance*
It was 7th May 2001, a Monday I believe and after being ill for a number of weeks I took myself off to my GP surgery. It was a small village practice, the doctors there had pretty much seen me since birth. They’d treated me for Hepatitis (the childhood one) when everyone in my primary school seemed to drop like flies from it. I’d received many prescriptions for the liquid antibiotics that they claimed tasted like banana from them – they lied, bananas tasted nothing like that liquid, they were less yellow too! Most of the usual childhood ills had been treated and diagnosed by a member of staff at this small village surgery, where you’d always bump into someone you knew, at one time or another. Having been so ill, I wasn’t going in without my suspicions about what was wrong, albeit with a lingering hope that I wasn’t very good at self diagnosis!
Sitting in the waiting room, acutely aware of the lunch box possibly overly full with urine discreetly stowed away in my handbag, my mind raced and fought to be empty of thoughts. Thoughts about how I felt emotionally and physically, thoughts about the future facing me if my suspicions were fact, thoughts of fear, of sadness, of not knowing. I was overwhelmed by the variety of what was going through my head and the emotional rollercoaster it all had me on, I was petrified and hopeful at the same time. And I’d only been in the waiting room for 5 minutes. I have a tendency to be early for most appointments, which was a foolish move this day. We didn’t have mobile phones that could amuse or distract you for hours; in those days you had snake…if you were lucky enough to have a Nokia, not that you could use it in a surgery waiting room though; back then there was a belief that the mobile signals interfered with medical equipment. The selection of magazines was wanting, most of them having had pages ripped out where the “wannabe chefs” of the village wanted the free recipes, so all I had were my thoughts. After what felt like hours, my name flashed up in red old school LCD letters, and off I went to the room in the right hand corner.
I explained my symptoms to my GP (I’ll do a seperate post about symptoms), then handed over the lunchbox that would be immediately disposed of once it’s contents had been tested. She took a dip stick out of the tub and proceeded to immerse one end of it into my wee for about 5 seconds. FIVE measly seconds, count it out now: 1….2….3….4….5! That’s it, that’s all it took to confirm my life was about to change. *Sidebar; it should’ve taken A LOT longer!!! Following the innocuous dip test the following words spilled from my GP’s mouth……. “Looks like you have a touch of Diabetes. Pop into the waiting room and I’ll just speak to the hospital, it’s probably only Type 2 so you won’t need to inject”. I went straight to my car, took out my, what was, back then, very funky Nokia with the interchangeable fascias and called my Mum and relayed this information. I can’t describe how I felt in that moment, had I not of been semi expecting it, I imagine I would’ve been bowled over in shock, grief, anxiety and howling tears that cause you to fight to breathe. Instead I seemed to take it quite calmly in that moment. I wish I could remember my Mother’s reaction and tell you how she felt, perhaps that could be a post down the line.
I went back into the surgery and sat in the waiting room, my GP called me back in and handed me a couple of A4 sheets of paper about Type 2 Diabetes. She explained that she spoke to the local hospital and on the basis of my age, weight (yep, I’ve got some padding), lack of family history, they diagnosed me as a Type 2 Diabetic and sent me away with leaflets and the promise of a letter for an appointment down the line……4 months later, they were proved VERY wrong!!!
Diabetes UK are an invaluable resource for anyone affected by Diabetes, particularly the newly diagnosed.