I haven’t ‘blogged’ for a while. I guess we all go through periods in life where we feel as though the world is spinning too quickly and some things have to take a back seat. It’s #diabetesawarenessmonth this month though, and after a recent turn of events I wanted to take the opportunity to write something.
I’m no doctor and I didn’t know much about diabetes until my dad became diagnosed with type 2 10 years or so ago. I knew that there were two types. I knew that it meant that blood sugar levels could become too high or too low. I knew that some people needed to inject, others didn’t and the thought made me wince a little. That’s it.
Now I know more. I know that there are lots of inspiring stories of people who fight a daily battle to control their diabetes but they power on, living their lives to the full. Sadly, I also know, that if it isn’t managed well, or if warning signs are ignored, it can be devastating.
My dad, at 61, has been in hospital because of complications with his diabetes for almost four months now. We are eternally indebted to the doctors and nurses that have without a doubt saved his life. Had he made it to hospital even a day later, I fear a different story would be told. His recovery is far from complete, but on more than one occasion during these past few months questions have been raised as to whether there would be a recovery at all, and as far as we know now, there will be. We hope he will be discharged soon, and for that I’m grateful. He has fought many battles during his time in hospital: sepsis, diabetic ketoacidosis (one of many life-threatening complications), endocarditis (an infection of the heart) and foot ulcers (which are yet to heal) to name a few. It’s no surprise then, that recovery has been, and continues to be, a rocky, emotional and complicated road.
It’s hard when a family member becomes very ill, not to think about earlier memories of that person: fit, healthy and full of life and to wonder what happened. Dad is beginning to find the strength to walk around again with help, but this isn’t the future I envisaged for him as a child, when he was a keen and avid runner among other things.
Every story is different, complicated even, and this isn’t a plea for sympathy. It’s a fact of life that things don’t always go to plan. In true British style we drink Gin and carry on. If there is one thing I have learned about diabetes this month though, it is how important raising awareness of complications is, because for all of the inspiring stories of people giving it the finger (every pun intended), there are others who need that wake up call, who are not managing it well, or who are failing to acknowledge and accept the signs that something just isn’t right and ultimately, the consequences of this can be deadly.
More about raising awareness and World Diabetes Day here: