When I was in high school (don’t ask how long ago), I had a good friend that had Type I (childhood, insulin-dependent) diabetes. When I first found out that he was diabetic, I wasn’t sure how to react. I was still a kid, and I hadn’t ever known anyone that was diabetic before, or any had other chronic disease for that matter. To be honest, I think I felt nervous at first. I wasn’t sure what being diabetic meant. Would my friend act weird around other people? It seems petty to even think about that now, but I was a young teenager then, at a time when what other people thought about me was so critical to my self-esteem.
As I got to know my friend better, hanging out at school and going to church camps and youth group meetings, I found out that he really wasn’t strange. I didn’t have anything to be worried about in that regard. He was more-or-less like any other kid. To be sure, there were some differences. He had to be really careful about what he ate. He couldn’t eat any kind of sugary candy or drink soda pop. I ate candy and drank sugary stuff pretty much whenever I felt like it. He had to make sure he ate at regular times and got enough calories. I skipped meals and ate as much or little as I wanted. When he played any sports or took physical education classes, he had to be sure he had a snack or drink of some sort so that his blood sugar level didn’t get too low. I ran track and cross country and burned calories at a ferocious rate, running for literally hours at a time. It would have been nearly impossible for him to maintain that level of calorie consumption.
But my friend seemed to take all of that in stride most of the time, and didn’t make an issue of it. He behaved basically like any other kid, so I never thought that much of it – except for one thing: the shots.
Now, I’ll be the first to admit it – I’m totally a wimp when it comes to shots. I hate shots. More than once, I’ve fainted dead away after getting a shot – I’m not exaggerating. I have to ask to lay down when I get a shot at the doctor’s office. Go ahead and laugh at me – I can take it. I’m not a wimp about that, and I’ve learned over the years that embarrassment and humiliation are just emotions, and they go away after a while. I’ve seen surveys that have said that people’s number one greatest fear is public speaking. Well, I’d much rather get up and speak in front of 10,000 people than get a shot. I’m not at all kidding.
When I found out about the shots, I couldn’t believe it: “You have to have shots twice a day, every day, for your whole life!”
Yes, from the time he was five years old, my friend needed insulin injections twice a day, every day at regular times, without fail, or he’d die.
The shots would have killed me, I think.
So, it’s for my friend that I’m blogging for a cure for diabetes. After high school, we went our separate ways, off to college, then jobs and family. I haven’t seen him in years. Last I’d heard, he’d moved away from the Northwest, where we grew up. We’ve lost contact. But when I see anything about diabetes, I think of him, and I think of all the thousands of shots. To me, that’s a good enough reason (although there are many, many more) to find a cure.
I’ll be posting more on this during the month of November, which is American Diabetes month. Posts won’t be every day, since I don’t have time to write that often, but at least once a week. Thanks to John Mudd for bringing this to my attention.
Visit the American Diabetes Association’s web site to find out more about diabetes and what you can do to help find a cure.Powered by Sidelines