I'm Mike. Type one diabetic for 22 years since age 7. I'd like to share my story. It's a decent one, I promise.
No one in my immediate circle of family, friends, doctors, or colleagues know, much less understand, how people can just "get" Type One. You get sick, like extremely ill. Doctors do the tests, then they make the official diagnosis--that's usually how it goes, right?
In Memorial Day weekend, 1991, that's pretty much how it went. After going from chugging Minute Maid juice boxes, to throwing up over your bunk bed and waking up your sibling that was sleeping below you, to making frequent bathroom visits (5 minute intervals), to seeing white bedsheets and wearing some hospital gown that was marginally comfortable?
You might be familiar with that sequence of events. Two things that I will absolutely never forget from the week that I stayed at the hospital, and will always remember--invaluable memories, you know:
- The NES (Nintendo Entertainment System) with Mega Man 2 and 3, playing those games from my hospital bed on a 9-inch screen TV retrieved from home. Regardless of what you think about fictional video game characters and the general relevance of that medium to children and adults, Mega Man (the eponymous character) was, is, and will always be the figure of light that was there for me, fighting for everlasting peace (see Mega Man 1's ending for reference) and making that week in the hospital all the more bearable. When I play as Mega Man in those games, not even the Type One diabetes diagnosis was able to beat me. At least, at the time.
- Telling my family to not cry, and that everything will be OK. I was the only one in the hospital room not crying, but they all were. A 7 year old telling his parents and siblings to pretty much stay strong...you know, having an IV stuck in you is much less of a concern than seeing your family going through emotional pain that affects you more.
So then, began the trials, the training of the OneTouch II blood glucose measuring devices, the playing with syringes (yeah, I actually took a few extra syringes and played Watergun Cop before getting in trouble), and the sessions with dieticians and regular visits with one of the best endocrinologists I've ever met, Dr. Nancy Bohannon.