When I’m asked what living with type 1 diabetes is like, the first word that comes to my mind is always ‘constant’. This disease isn’t an occasional doctors visit or even a pill every morning. It’s day in and day out, needing to be vigilant constantly. It’s waking up, bleary-eyed and half asleep, looking down and seeing shaking hands and realising that you’re going to have to will your uncooperative body to make its way to the nearest source of sugar. Which if you thought ahead should be on your bedside table but we’re all only human and sometimes we leave our juice in the fridge downstairs and oh my god I’m going to have to slide down the stairs on my butt.
My experiences with hypoglycaemia have been funny, scary, heartbreaking and… pretty embarrassing if I’m honest with you.
I remember one morning I ended up sitting cross-legged in front of the fridge in my pyjamas while I sucked on my juice box like a toddler when my roommate came downstairs on his way to class. I stared at him wide-eyed, something that I tend to do when I’m particularly out of it. “are you… ok?” he asked me as he watched me suck the juice box dry and just sit there. I couldn’t answer.
Funny as it can be, it’s also terrifying. Being locked inside your own head, unable to do the things you normally would is something that I think only those who have felt it can really get. Worse still are the times that I can’t even recall.
One morning while my family was staying at my grandma’s house, I woke up feeling off. I went out into the kitchen to find my parents already up and my mum looking as if she’d just been crying. Turns out they’d already tried to treat my hypo once, I’d kicked and fought them the whole time, thinking that I was being attacked in some dream that I wasn’t completely awake from. It scared the crap out of my parents and me. Hearing about what I’d done after the fact felt especially bizarre.
I have about another hundred stories like these because ‘hypos happen’ all the time, but no matter how terrifying hypoglycaemia can be, with the help of friends and family they’re over quickly. The worst injury I’ve incurred from a hypo, after 15 years of type 1, was a bruise from falling into a wall so I’m pretty lucky. As long as they’re caught early and treated quickly hypos don’t have to be as scary as they seem.
The Carousel would like to thank Jacinta Amy for sharing her story with us.