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
* 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