We all want to feel ‘in control’ of our lives – to feel able to manage our destiny and those of our family. Sometimes your health can prevent you from achieving this…

Indeed, some people become obsessive and are ‘control freaks’ who need to plan and organise all those around them! One of the more natural feelings is to have control of your own children, especially when they are young and vulnerable. As a parent myself, you systematically and voluntarily take on the care of your son or daughter, putting their needs ahead of your own.

Some of the more frustrating moments in my life battling Cystic Fibrosis* and type 1 diabetes have centred around my inability to look after my son Felix and supply the control that he needed and to play my part as a parent and support my wife Katie.

Since Felix was born in May 2007, I have needed six separate intensive IV therapies where for at least one week I would be away from home. Not being there cuts to my very core.

Keeping up with Felix who is a very busy boy brings other issues in the form of hypos from my diabetes where stress or exercise causes my sugar levels to drop to low levels, often out of the blue.

Recently, I took Felix to Wimbledon for lunch and on the way home we popped into Tesco. While shopping around, I suddenly felt all the familiar signs of a severe hypo coming on very quickly – I felt hot, giddy, drowsy, drunk-like – and I was quickly losing the will for rational thoughts. It is a strange sensation – like your life force is ebbing from you. I often say it’s like someone has pulled your plug out and all your water is seeping out.

I certainly felt out of control! Felix is prone to running off, and there I was listing to port and I felt extremely vulnerable, worried and incapable of keeping it together as a dad for Felix.

With hypos, you need to restore your sugar levels quickly which involves having a quick hit of anything sweet followed by something more long lasting. So, I took some wine gums off the shelf and started to eat them which Felix thought was great as he could have some as well – he liked this game! But this wasn’t a game or fun – this was real life and I felt terrified…

I can hold it together when experiencing a hypo when it’s just me on my own, but this felt different. I asked Felix to stay close and not run away and he instinctively realised by my tone that he needed to play ball.

We went to one of those self-help check out tills – where there needs to be assistance on hand as everyone makes mistakes. Even when you are mentally functioning, these tills are hard work and by this point I was all over the shop (no pun intended!).

I explained my diabetes situation to the assistant and she said: “We get this all time, no worries” and calmly scanned my items and helped me to pay with my card. She then ushered me to a near-by chair and kindly offered to get me a coke, though she did ask for some money first and then promptly returned with the drink and my change!

I thanked her but at the back of my mind I did think: “I bet they wouldn’t have charged me for that coke in Waitrose!”

Once I felt better and more balanced, I drove us home. On seeing Katie I was very emotional as I explained what had happened and how it made me feel.

It was a hard lesson to learn but I will be better prepared to mitigate the effects of my diabetes in order to reduce the chances of this loss of control happening again, especially when I’m looking after Felix on my own.

Oh, by the way, I may have had to pay for the coke that day but I never did pay for those wine gums! If you don’t tell Tesco inWimbledon, than neither will I…

I will keep you posted on my life affirming moments, trials and tribulations as and when they happen. Please keep reading and sharing my blog and sign up if you have not already done so.

Yours cup half full


Tim Wotton

* Cystic Fibrosis is one of theUK’s most common life threatening inherited diseases, affecting over 8,500 people. The condition affects the internal organs, especially the lungs and digestive system, by clogging them with thick sticky mucus. This makes it hard to breathe and digest food. Each week, five babies are born with the condition, however, each week, three young lives are also lost to it. There is currently no cure for CF. However, existing gene therapy trials in the UK are bringing people with the illness closer to a form of cure but CF is not that well known and would benefit from more public donations.

For more information and to find out more view the CF Trust Website


About Tim Wotton

I live with my lovely wife (Katie) and spirited ten-year old son (Felix) in Morden, Surrey; working full-time as an internal communications specialist in the Oil & Gas sector. I have played sport, particularly hockey, tennis all my life and now regularly go to the gym. Cystic fibrosis has been a huge factor in my life, but not one that overshadows it. I have always had great support from my loving family - parents Margaret and Douglas (RIP), elder brother Chris and my twin brother Jez. I have many rich life insights based on knowing I have a reduced life expectancy and battling against the odds for over 44 years. My eyes and heart have been opened by my health struggle. I feel empowered to share my life lessons to help anyone with health and life issues to overcome. My passions include Paul Smith clothes, dress shirts (believing that it's enlightening to dress like it's your last day on earth), Alfa Romeo cars, spicey food, Harlequins and England rugby, Southampton FC, Wimbledon village and common, Dorset, seascapes, sunsets and military history. I am available for public speaking on this subject matter and can be contacted via timwottonAThotmailDOTcom. I have written a book 'How have I cheated death?' based on my euphoric countdown year to 40 which was published in 2014 and won the 2015 'Best Achievement' Award at the UK People's Book Prize. It is available via e-book, audiobook and paperback at Amazon and to order from UK bookstores. Go to the relevant sites below or in the UK go to a WH SMITH, Waterstones or Foyles bookstore and give them my name, book title and this ISBN number (9781849637190). It’s also available via GARDNER’S, BERTRAM’S, AUSTINMACAULEY.COM, BLACKWELL’S, PLAY.COM, AMAZON.CO.UK AND AMAZON.COM
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14 Responses to Control

  1. danny okane says:

    I don’t have CF but my daughter does, I have type 2 diabetes, and had my WORST hypo in Iceland a couple of weeks ago, luckily i was with my wife, i asked Debbie to grab a bag of sweets pronto. But instead of grabbing a bag and letting me get a hit of sugar, she (bless her) done a bit of shopping, queued up behind everyone else as well, then meandered bag with the wines gums……I was on the floor, “drunk” as a lord……the worst and scariest I’ve ever felt, (my mum died in a diabetic coma,) now I always carry a packet of maynards wine gums with me……and will be carrying a rucksack full of them when i do my bike ride for CF next month….stay well, and stay strong

    • Tim Wotton says:

      Hi Danny,
      Thanks for sharing your story and I sincerely hope your daughter is well. Yes, hypos are strange and I can relate to how scared you must have felt while waiting for your sugar to arrive!
      Good luck with the bike ride next month and ‘treat’ yourself to some wine gums whether you are needing them or not!

      All the very best

  2. Dawn Lawson says:

    Oh, Tim, that must have been very scary for you. Well done, Felix, for being such a brave boy and doing what your daddy asked. Yet again mixed emotions while reading this, tears and laughing at how you describe such an awful situation.

    • Tim Wotton says:

      Dear Dawn,
      Thanks for your kind sentiment. I’ve always tried hard to find the funny side of most of my ordeals with CF and diabetes and I want my writing to portray that – I think I’m achieving that if I brougt tears and laughter your way – hope that abiding feeling was happines!

      God Bless

  3. Ann says:

    What an ordeal. As you say looking after yourself is one thing but the responsibility of making sure your son was OK adds another dimension. I for one won’t tell Tesco about the wine gums! You write so well, please keep it up.

    • Tim Wotton says:

      Dear Ann,
      Thanks for taking time to reply and for your kind comments. I intend to keep sharing my life story so I hope you keep reading.

      All the best

  4. johnny P says:

    Hi Tim,

    Just to let you know that I’ve told Tescos about your wine gum theft and the police should be on their way over shortly. It’s people like you that put the economy where it is, ha ha!

    Keep up the good work, buddy and keep the well oiled


  5. Sean Bell says:

    Hi Tim. Hope all is well, emjoying reading your continuing story. My worst hypo was just after getting out of swimming pool, having done half an hour at my gym pool, staggered out of showers and realised had no Dextrose left in my sports bag. So had to co-ordinate getting dried, changed and out to car to retrieve Dextrose. Obviously now always carry spare packets in sports bag, pockets, car, wife’s car etc etc. Keep well mate. All the best. Sean

    • Tim Wotton says:

      Dear Sean,
      Thanks for sharing – we all have some dark humour around our misfortunes! Dextrose are now stored in every bag just in case!

      Hope you are feeling well as enjoying the summer warmth.

      Best as ever

  6. Gill says:

    When my husband had a hypo and collapsed on the M & S stand at the Bath and West show they were most helpful, biscuits, free samples of the food they were cooking and a bottle of water. No charge from them!! How mean of Tesco’s was that, they obviously have never been in that position themselves!!

    • Tim Wotton says:

      Hi there,
      These hypos do come on pretty unannounced – a bit like when you have had ‘one too many’ at a party! Since I wrote my ‘Control’ blog I had another hypo when checking in at Kos airport on Saturday just gone, brought on by the stress on a very busy evironment! Luckily, this time I had some glucose tablets with me to hand so knocked in the on the head as quickly as it happened!

      All the best

  7. Paul Godber says:

    Hi Tim,

    I just wanted to say a huge well done not just for the way you coped with hypo but for this Blog and the way you have conducted your life.It is literally inspirational.

    I had the privilege of meeting you at RIHE in the early 1990s and your spirit of carpe diem was apparent then as now. I knew of your condition but not the real impact it has had upon your life. You squeezed the most out of your life back then and have kept up the good work.

    Keep up the Blog if you will and treat yourself to a Coke next time you are wandering round Tescos as I rather feel they owe you one after this last episode!!!

    • Tim Wotton says:

      Dear Paul,

      Long time to speak – delighted to hear from you and thanks for the kind sentiment. Yes, I certainly ‘went for it’ back in my College days and have carried the live for every moment mentality with me each and every day.
      I’ll mail you offline as it would be good to catch up…
      All the very best

  8. lesley porter says:

    Keep smiling Tim. Enjoy Felix. God Bless. x

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