We didn't have all of these sugar-free choices in sodas, or nutritional labels with carbohydrates and fats listed. All we had was Tab or Fresca, and that was it! To this day if I see a Fresca I will buy it, just for the fond childhood memories. (Tab was for the girls.)
And we tried to guess at "starch exchanges" rather than carb-counting, which was just fine because we took two daily shots of pork Ultralente and Regular (mixed in one syringe) so even if we somehow knew the carbohydrates it didn't make a difference anyway because we took the same shots that we always took at the same time each day, and tried to eat no more or less than the exchange diet some dietitian put together at the hospital. The dietitians were intent on starving us, too. For lunch we could have 3 bread exchanges, 1 meat exchange, 1 fat exchange, and 2 fruit exchanges, which was a sandwich, a half-glass of milk and 12 grapes. And you were done, unless you were hungry and wanted to snack on a 'zero exchange' snack like cabbage or celery sticks. These dietitians still seemed to subscribe to the Joslin method of diabetes management from the era before the 1930s, when persons with diabetes were slowly starved to death so that they wouldn't die from DKA.
There was no adjusting our dosage, or programming correction boluses, because we used Clinitest tablets or strips to test urine for sugar levels. This was a remarkable technological advance! There were two readings - negative, or "trace." If it was trace, we had better pull out a ketstix, pee on it and hope we weren't spilling ketones. And if the first test was "negative," well, that meant our blood-glucose level was anywhere between 40 and 200, but 45 minutes ago. There were no basal profiles and different basal rates to account for the "dawn effect." Because we were busy peeing on sticks that told us nothing, we didn't even know there was a dawn effect. We didn't know what we were correcting, and the Regular insulin didn't really peak for about 4 hours anyway. By that time we were peeing in a plastic cup and getting ready for another Ultralente/Regular shot, and salivating at the prospect of dinner, which allowed us to have 4 (that's right, four) meat exchanges! That was about 2 plain, medium-sized chicken breasts. Oh, the delight we took in being able to eat more than one exchange of anything, then washing it down with a Fresca.
Point being - I'm not asking for sympathy, I just want the newly diagnosed kids to stop and consider what it was like only 30 years ago before complaining about how hard diabetes is. Goodness, I feel like Rosa Parks tsk-tsking a modern hip hop artist: "Do you even know where we started?" Yes, diabetes is still hard to manage today, and we should continue to push, but know your history first. Back in my day, it was worse.