Today I’m reflecting on some of the trials and tribulations my parents went through raising a T1D daughter. There are a number of D-Parent blogs out there that I peak at every once in a while. However, here’s what I remember as a child about having D-Parents in the 80s.
1) I complain a lot about my CGM waking me up every hour, on the hour with alarms. My hubs also grumbles a bit. However, my parents didn’t have the alarms of CGMs… only the alarms of their analog clocks and their best guess at patterns and research of when my NPH would send me crashing down at 2 am every night. I mastered the art of drinking juice while unconscious. It helped me later if I passed out in a grocery store, or in front of the neighbors’ kids, or on the playground. Generally, I remember waking up to the fuzzy image of my mom’s permed 80s hair with a killer headache.
2) I don’t really remember being a very picky eater. But I had my moments. Particularly, during weekends away at Family Camp. Y’know, go hang out in the woods with your family and a slew of other T1 Families. Go on hikes with nurses and heavy backpacks. Learn square dancing. Do crafts by the campfire. Yadda yadda yadda. (For those that know me in real life, YES, I went camping!) Anyway, my nemesis on these trips was the camp cafeteria. Because it wasn’t home cooked at home, nor was it a grilled cheese sandwich. And these meals were prepped by dietitians and not chefs so everything tasted like cardboard. But I needed my Regular insulin. And my parents gave me my same dose before dinner every night… then sat with me for as long as two hours after the dinner buffet opened because “I wasn’t hungry/didn’t want to eat this food/bleh.”
3) Vacations were always exciting. Particularly if we flew anywhere. (Which was often.) The amount of snacks we smuggled on to flights was insane. We still had to abide by the 2 luggage per person rule, but we kind of took that for granted… sometimes… most of the time? I remember tupperware jugs of chex mix, crackers and whatnot. On that note – hypoglycemia and flying didn’t mix well with me. Particularly if the airplane food was bad (see above story). Those kids that you often roll your eyes at for the incessant crying and whining. That was me. But I had good reason. Right?
4) Negotiating with restaurants always seemed to be a favorite past-time of my parents. My mom usually kept Ketone strips in her purse. Not for testing for Ketones on the go. But for testing sodas to make sure the restaurant gave me diet. I remember one time, my mom somehow deduced that this fast food restaurant had the lines for the diet coke and regular coke switched because my Ketone strip was coming out bright ass blue. (And it tasted funny.) So rather than asking for a refund for the soda I couldn’t drink, my parents asked that the lines be switched so the correct soda could be distributed. Mmkay.
5) My parents just made shit happen. Didn’t matter what it cost. Where they had to drive. How many doctors they had to call and fight with. My mom knew I didn’t fit the textbook definition of a T1 and probably would have thrown my sugar free jello at the nurses in the hospital if she were that type of person. Their daughter was special and they were going to put everything on hold financially to make sure I was healthy. They were the first to handle the stares, the rude questions, the inquiries, and the fanny pack full of D-supplies.
We say in the DOC that you are the only person that knows your D intimately. D-parents need to know it well too, especially with a young diagnosis. To this day, I still consult with my mom on the phone when my docs can’t give me straight answers. (My dad usually just listens to me whine… but he’s good at that.)
So this Friday, I honor D-parents. While you may not think your D-kids are remembering what you do… they are.