Things you’ll only understand if you’re diabetic
Excuse me while I just stab myself
From stabbing yourself throughout the day to counting a worrying amount of carbs, having diabetes takes some getting used to – not to mention the extra worry on top of your deadlines. You’ll learn to adjust your eating times to suit your blood sugar and when you finally meet someone else who truly understands your struggle, it’s bliss.
It’s always weird letting your housemates know
One of them will have a diabetic friend and they’ll think they know as much as you. They don’t. Some will be really fascinated, wanting to know how/when/where you found out, how it’s affected you and why you’re not overweight. Others won’t care that much. It’s still good to give everyone a courtesy heads-up though, just in case you collapse in the middle of the Lawns Bar.
Technically you’re part machine
If you’ve got a pump that is; you’re all wired up and ready to go. The mysterious ticking noise is inevitably you. You could have been an extra in Star Wars with your groovy, insulin-inserting machine.
You laugh in the face of needles
Pfft. Needles can make even the toughest of tough weep. While I don’t love them, I have no issue whacking them out in the middle of my literature seminar and taking a sweeeeeet (oh the irony) insulin hit. The shock and disgust of your coursemates when they see the injection pen sticking out of your leg is pretty priceless.
There’s always a mini-hospital in your bag
No you’re not a heroin addict. You need extra insulin in case you’re too high, the sugar monitor, the spare insulin in case the extra insulin that doesn’t work, sugar if you’re low, ketone sticks, a ketone monitor, spare batteries, spare needles, medical wipes. It’s tough explaining your portable pharmacy to the [W]elly bouncers.
You actually have to register with the doctor/diabetic nurse/eye doctor
It can be a scary thing to register and sort out your healthcare on your own. We have no choice. While you were nursing hangovers and bed-hopping during Freshers’ Week, we were banging on the door of Newland Health Centre trying to sort out repeat prescriptions and nervously introducing ourselves to the diabetic nurse.
Check me out with my super-high pain threshold
Blood tests? Piece of cake. Weird eye drops? Easy-peasy. Another cannula? Hit me up. While we’re not super-human, you’d be stuffed if you couldn’t handle the various tests we have to have on a weekly basis.
Your mum worries even more than normal
While mums are genetically programmed to worry about you, diabetes adds another exasperating layer to the maternal concern pie. Every phone/Skype/text conversation will end with “and how are your sugars? Are you checking them regularly?”
But you’ll really want her when it goes tits-up
“WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU’RE FOUR HOURS AWAY? My sugars are high and I need a hug.” It’s inevitable that, at some point in your university life, something will go wrong and you’ll need help sorting it out. Whether it’s the first night in hospital on your own (it’s not that bad) or you just need some reassurance, you have to get used to mummy not taking care of you any more. You’ll quickly realise housemates also make wonderful nurses.
We’re pros at carb counting
In order to calculate the amount of insulin for each thing we eat, we measure the amount of carbohydrates in whatever we’re eating. It’s kind of a party trick. Our command of our ratios and correction amount in relation to slow/fast-acting carbs is beautiful. It’s pretty hardcore maths.
The alcohol variable
So the general consensus is at university you should be getting sloshed at regular intervals. This isn’t good for you. It’s really not good for you when you’ve also got to watch the sugar in each drink. Different alcoholic drinks have different effects. Some make your sugars so super-high, some make them go mega-low. It’s all a matter of being boring and being very careful, although we’re only human. If that doesn’t work, just make sure you’ve got stuff in your clutch pharmacy to deal with any complications.
When you meet another diabetic it’s heaven
Your pancreas doesn’t work properly. My pancreas doesn’t work properly. Let’s hangout.