Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Back to Basics #3 : Wake-up Call

I often think 'at what point did I take full responsibility for my diabetes', and it always takes me back to one particular appointment with my (now old) consultant. It changed my outlook and attitude completely, in terms of diabetes and general life. A wake-up call if you will.
Let's call my consultant Mr N. Side note; I think it's important that this particular consultant had seen me for a LONG time, he knew me inside and out.

Now do excuse me as my memories are hazy of this particular clinic, it was very traumatic for me so I guess I just wiped any memories into my unconscious. This is my account to the best of my recollection (you may benefit from a coffee and your choice of go-to refreshment..)

Urban Dictonairy knows what's up..

The Foundation

I must have been 12 or 13, I took little interest in my health (respectively I was a child, albeit a mature one); my mum said I was very laid back thus I remember doing about 2 finger-prick checks a day. I was at clinic for a routine 3 monthly check-up and my HBA1C was either in the high 8's or low 9's. In paediatrics they used a traffic light system to explain our A1Cs, I was in the red zone, for the first time (and hopefully the last.)

In all honesty, I was never sure about Mr N, he was always difficult to read and you never quite knew what his next move would be. He would often talk in metaphors probably to connect with my inner language geek.
He asked me to describe what I see in my future. So I painted a vivid picture, I told him I was planning on emigrating to Australia after my degree and I was going to find a Hollister model on the beach, get married and have kids. I described that I wanted two kids (preferably 1F and 1M) but any child would be a complete blessing. Mr N prompted me with questions, he wanted all of the details, even the ones I hadn't thought about. He paid close attention to the fact I wanted children, he asked me about names, age gaps and if I would ever want twins. It never occurred to me where his questions were leading, but it was about to hit me like a shit tonne of bricks.

Mr N took my perfectly constructed future (of which 90% was a complete fantasy, again I reiterate I was a child) and crushed it, with his bare hands, as I sat opposite him. He told me if I carried on with my diabetes the way I was, I would; be in a wheelchair, if I were able to have children I would not be able to look after them and said I would probably be blind. So, as you can imagine, I was heartbroken, and I know that phrase gets thrown around a lot (and carelessly) but that was my world he took down in front of me. I cried..and cried.. and cried. Essentially Mr N had given me a reality check, but being 12, when you're only priority is yourself, I hated him at that moment in time. I remember saying 'I never want to see that man again'.
What followed was a silent walk to the car, I think my mum was a bit shocked too, but she saw his good intentions, I however, did not. We got to the car and I kept crying, for what felt like hours.

The Cornerstone

I am not sure how much time passed before I came to the realisation that my consultant didn't wish me pain, sadness and hardship but his intentions were good and led completely out of desperation. His approach was harsh but necessary, he had previously raised his concerns about my laid back attitude. That appointment was his prime time opportunity to strike the red flag and I am so happy he did.
Mr N always described me as one of his 'star patients' - I was relativity well 'controlled' growing up, I think I fell into my teenager, 'I know more than you do' phase.
Looking back on it now, he was frustrated that I wasn't trying to help myself as he knew the motivation I had demonstrated previously had turned defective. At the time I was so angry, I thought the whole appointment was sensationalised to purposely hurt me (which it was, but for all the right reasons.) 

The Establishment 

You know what, if I could go back to shake that guys hand I would. The next time I saw him (and unintentionally was the last) my world had fell apart, due to unforeseen family circumstances, but I think he was relieved to see he hadn't completely killed my snarky and sarcastic attitude. And indeed, I dropped my A1C considerably.
He was one of the good guys let alone a fantastic consultant. He always said I could shoot for the stars, but he'd line me up for the moon. 

Mr N changed my approach to life after that appointment, sounds dramatic I know. I really do believe we are where we are in life for a reason.

The more I grow up the more I can see situations from a complete 360' view. In this particular story, I went from behaving recklessly to then feeling an immense amount of  hatred which then turned to confusion. I felt nothing but remorse for a very long time and I think I have only just come to terms with what happened. Now I feel nothing but thankful.

Mr N, if you ever, somehow, come to read this, just know that I mean every word. Thank you.


Amber xx

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