Amy was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes on the 29th December 2010, aged 10. It was an open and shut case, no possibility of it being anything else.
When I look back now I can see that she displayed many, if not all, of the classic signs of someone with type 1 diabetes. Of course, back then we didn’t what they were or what to look for.
STOP (for a moment): Do you know the classic signs of someone with undiagnosed type 1 diabetes? If not, please take some time to view this excellent video by Diabetes UK and JDRF.
The day before, Amy and Jane had gone shopping but just before going Amy drank a lot of water. In the shopping centre she needed the toilet, then said she was very thirsty, she was trapped in a circle of constant drinking and urinating, a first circle of blue. A classic sign; we didn’t know.
Clearly something wasn’t right.
Jane had previously spoken with one of our good friends who mentioned the possibility of diabetes but it wasn’t until Amy started drinking pints of water that Jane recalled the conversation. The appointment was booked for the 29th at 10am, a few hours before Amy was due to go to her best friend’s birthday party.
Our doctor didn’t need time to ponder the options and after testing for ketones and her blood glucose level he called the hospital quickly, saying that they’d call us if we needed to go in, but he’d see if any visit could be postponed until the 30th so Amy could attend the party. Afterwards, Jane and Amy went to visit the birthday girl just to let her know that she might come, she might not.
A few minutes later that bloody phone rang. My heart sank.
At the Royal Hampshire County Hospital in Winchester hospital we went into Sophie’s Place, an area created by the charity Sophie’s Appeal in memory of little Sophie Barringer who lost her life to Wilm’s Disease in December 2004, aged six. Jane was her teacher.
A nurse did another few tests and discussed some personal history, asked about Amy’s symptoms and checked her blood glucose again. We were led into a consultation room by the DSN (diabetes specialist nurse) who started chatting with us, but at the time I felt like it was small talk, just some calm before the storm.
Then a word we didn’t want to hear was spoken, it started with ‘D’, it ended with tears.
Amy didn’t know what it really meant. Jane didn’t know what it really meant. I glanced at Emilia, we both knew exactly what it meant. I glanced at the DSN, her eyes were watering.