Diabetes Blog Week, “Memories”
Today we’re going to share our most memorable diabetes day. You can take this anywhere…. your or your loved one’s diagnosis, a bad low, a bad high, a big success, any day that you’d like to share.~~~~~~~
Since I have had diabetes my entire life, I have many memories to choose from. I am going to pick a positive memory from ‘way back on “Memory Lane”…’ This is what I remember as a young child (age 4-ish) in 1961:
I remember my dad coming home one evening, after checking on his patients in the hospital. He said he had something in his pocket to show me. Like any little girl waiting for ‘one of those gifts Daddy brings home from a long trip’, I danced around in anticipation. We went into the kitchen where my “mommy” was feeding my baby sister. The kitchen was darkening in the late afternoon as my dad pulled two chairs up to the small table. As I crawled up on mine, perching on my knees, my dad unfolded a clean towel and placed it on the table. He then took one of my glass syringes, and laid it out. I couldn’t figure out what was going on. I had already had my ‘shot’ for the day; and my mom was getting upset because she had just finished laboriously boiling/sterilizing my two glass syringes, as well as re-sharpening the syringe needles. (I was always fascinated as she drew the needles across a cotton ball to check for barbs, then would meticulously sharpened them on a special dark-gray stone. These, too, were put in the pot with the syringes to be sterilized. Since they were hand-made, the plungers had to be paired to the correct syringe barrel by matched the numbers etched into the glass – it was quite an ordeal.)
My dad then placed a large paper envelope next to the glass syringe. He had brought home two of the first disposable syringes. This was not quite the sort of gift I expected, but my dad was excited, and, therefore, so was I. We peeled the envelope open, and there was a thin, plastic syringe with the needle already attached! It was so much smaller than the glass ones I had. He showed me how to pull the cap off – the needle was so sharp and thin! I was excited! My shots had always been the most traumatic time of the day – they hurt, they were big, and the skin on my legs was already bumpy and forming scar tissue. (Only later did we learn that I was allergic to the beef the insulin was made of in those days. And, even though the ‘new disposables’ were much smaller than the clunky glass ones, they were still much bigger than today’s. In those days, the insulin was U40 – 40 units per cc, where today, the insulin is U100, or 100 units per cc.)
The next morning I got to use the other new syringe. I don’t know if it truly felt better; or if it felt better because I wanted it to. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to use the disposables for a couple more years because they were too expensive – 19¢ a piece. I was too young to know the value of 19¢, but I do know that using the disposable syringes was something I looked forward to.
I had originally intended my blog, “RainieAndMe,” to explore my life and experiences with a Diabetic Alert Dog (DAD). However, during the Diabetic Blog Weeks, I will muse about my life and experiences as a diabetic.