Monday, 26 April 2010

We’re here because of history

Some of you may know that when I was a twenty-one year old undergraduate I had a serious illness which saw me in and out of hospital for about six months. That experience changed my life and has rather like a small stone in a pond continued to send out ripples ever since. At the time – actually even now – it was a horrible, terrible thing to happen, but I’m still here and maybe it made me a better person or maybe I tell myself that to excuse the screw ups that happened as a result, who knows?

Anyway, one thing that happened back then was that I learned how friendships can be forged or broken by illness and experiences. Experiences alter us, sometimes it’s in tiny almost unnoticeable ways and sometimes it’s huge adjustments. Maybe I became more aware of my own mortality or maybe I began to realise what’s really important in life – it’s not your job, your possessions or status, it’s relationships. It’s a cliché but no one lies on their deathbed and says they wish they’d spent more time at work.

So now R’s diagnosis of being a Type 1 Diabetic which is currently incurable and life threatening makes work and money retreat into the background while family takes the fore. At the moment we’re still in the shadow of diagnosis and I certainly want to educate everyone I meet – I want to tell you all how without insulin R will become extremely ill. I want to remind everyone how less than one hundred years ago this was an illness that routinely killed children. Now, thanks to the work of Banting, Best, Collip and MacLeod children and adults with Type 1 diabetes can continue to have normal lives. Yes, they need to inject themselves four or more times a day and  they need to test their blood repeatedly each day, but that’s a small price to pay if we consider the alternative. Today I watched a short film all about how insulin was discovered, used to treat Type 1 diabetes and save countless lives. Thanks to ‘Sofaraway’ on the Diabetes Support Website for that link.

And now reading back this post it seems like I’ve been trying to say two things at once (it’s a regular problem with me!) . I wanted to say something about relationships and how illness and big life changing events often alter us and them. And then I got carried away educating everyone about diabetes – just can’t help myself….

I’ll come back to both topics soon – I guarantee it.

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