Friday, April 3, 2015

My Grandmothers fear of becoming a diabetic

I just found out today from a conversation with my Mum, something that was abit sad about my Grandmother, my Dad's Mum who died I believe when she was in her mid 90’s. She lived a full and good life!  I wish I had pictures, but sadly, with my moving, what ones I took, are packed, and my Dad hasn't kept many pictures from the past to share with the family.

The first time I remember seeing my Grandmother was when she came to visit us in Canada, about 10 years after we had immigrated.  It was her first time travelling by air abroad.  She came with my Aunt, and my parents who didn't normally like visitors to stay at our house, kicked my brother and myself out of our rooms for the guests (yee!haa!).

Oma en kleinkind an online colouring book  from Kinderlines 
I'd only been diabetic for about 8 years at the time just about to enter teenage life, and I really didn't think too much of it at the time since I'd had it since such an early stage of life.  Sometimes I think I'm blessed since I didn't know any other way of living other than being a diabetic, and it wasn't all that bad, even with injections, etc.  I was just what my life was like, and still is (but made easier now with newer technology).  I did the urine testing, injected (once a day then), and ate like a little soldier on a schedule since that was the way insulins worked in our bodies in those days. 

I always remember my Aunt criticise my Mum's choice on having a take-out pizza (from a great pizza joint in the west end of Ottawa called El Toro's - they made the best crust and toppings EVER).   My Aunt felt it was "junk food" and I think she thought Canadians must be savages at that point in time as we crammed dripping, gooey pizza into our mouths.  Whether she enjoyed it or not, I will never know.  I just dug in, with whatever my Mum dished out to me according to the diet the dietician had set out for my growing body.  I was a happy camper!

The next time I saw my Grandmother was when she was placed in the hospital in the UK during her 80's about 15 years later.  My Dad at the time couldn't take time off work, and I was temporarily without a job. He paid for year open flight for me to go overseas (not cheap in those days), to make sure my Grandmother was okay.  When I'd arrived, she was already back home from the hospital, doing her own thing.  I really didn't need to help her at all (this woman had the flexibility of a gymnast), and I think I was more of a hindrance being with her as I was disrupting her life.  I found a job, moved out quickly to a bedsit in the village.  Life was good (if only back then I'd appreciated beer the way I do now).

86 year old Johanna Quaas from Halle, Saxony - see her in this fantastic video

What my Mum relayed to me today, after talking to my Dad's brother, and obviously this was disturbing him for many years since her passing away  ….

she was afraid of being like me, a diabetic giving injections for the rest of her life

I'm wondering while she came to visit Canada, if I'd had some hissy fit about giving an injection or a bad urine test (I don't recall doing that - but maybe I did).  I wonder did the glass syringe and 18 gauge stainless steel needle that could be sharpened on a stone scare her when I was living with her in the UK?

I'm really not sure what made her make that comment to my Uncle, but it saddens me to think she felt this way about my having diabetes but know that others today probably have that same feeling when they are faced with the diagnosis of having diabetes.  

That's why I do what I do today with having diabetes for most of my life ....  


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