It’s appointment time again. Twice a year we see the endocrinologist. This time the paediatrician will be there too. My boy hates these appointments. Diabetes does not figure large in our conversations at home.
Here, his diabetes is front and centre of stage. I try to make it fun. But fun visit to the endocrinologist is an oxymoron! Not the endocrinologist’s fault: he is unfailingly positive and encouraging, as is the paediatrician.We visit a nearby sports shop and my son inevitably comes out with a purchase clutched in his hands and he stares into the bag as we wait for his turn. Afterwards, afternoon tea is whatever is requested in a nearby cafe.
Sitting waiting for our turn with the paediatrician and the endocrinologist, I look around the waiting room. Three families.
One really young child rolls around the carpet, giggling and laughing. Her parents look on.
Another mum and son sit and stare at their phones. Nothing unusual there. Emails to check, games to be played.
We sit together: mum, dad and son. We talk to the various people who pass by: the dietitian checks in to see if we have any questions, our diabetes educator asks how things are going and we have a chat about my recent trip to France.
I look around the room. We are all in our little worlds and yet we are united by Type 1 diabetes. I cannot help but remember a statistic that I read earlier in the year which said that people with Type 1 diabetes (or in some cases their carers) make an average of 121 decisions around managing diabetes every day. In this small room about 363 decisions are being made daily.
Chatting to the receptionist, he tells me that this week, twelve young people with diabetes are being seen each day for five working days, in this country town. The number of decisions being made blows my mind!
I see the mum and son being introduced to the receptionist and some of the other people who work here. It’s their first visit. I look more closely at the mum’s face and it makes me want to cry. She smiles at everyone and chats but I can see the tiredness and the strain. Perhaps I’m just projecting how I felt back when my son was diagnosed. I wrote this poem then. I’d love to go over and chat and tell her it will get better. I want to give her the biggest hug, buy her a coffee or pour her a large glass of wine.
Watching the younger child hiding under a chair, I wonder about just how you manage a diagnosis of a child so young. I feel a huge amount of admiration for these parents. Again, I’m comparing, as my boy was diagnosed around his thirteenth birthday.
Type 1 diabetes is such an invisible disease. Someone walking into this room would never be able to make a guess as to what we all had in common – but in this room alone an average of 363 really important decisions are made every single day, of every week, of every year. We need a cure!
PS the photo has nothing to do with the story but it’s of the gardens in Versailles and it makes me feel calm and happy whenever I look at it.