Caroline Mudd’s daughter was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 12. This is her account of the diagnosis and her perspective on supporting someone living with diabetes.
Oh, we’re going straight through… we’re in the first bed…. WOW there’s lots of medical staff around us… she’s not even on the bed and they’re putting the IV in… ahh… this is SERIOUS… don’t cry…, don’t cry, hold it together, it’s alright we are where we need to be… look calm, we are going to be fine, we’ve got this, it will be okay, we can do this.
I remember that moment with clarity, I am there right now.
My daughter had woken still not feeling well from the day before, all week I had been trying to work out what it was, she was just not right. It was the beginning of high school, those first couple of days had been seriously hot and she had been doing lots of exercise and had even attempted to run 4km the day before at school. By chance I was going to the doctor for her brother, a minor issue but she came with us. The doctor took one look at her, did our first BGL and ketones test and sent us straight to the Princess Margaret Hospital emergency department.
The week in hospital is a blur, as I remember it was overwhelming. I felt like I was on a travellator, moving along and having all this stuff given to me – session with the diabetes educator, forms, pens, needles, BGLs, lots of stuff. All this so we could go home and be on our own. I’m not a good nurse, in fact I am really bad…like really bad! Will I be able to cope and how will I remember everything?
Four years on and the blur continues as we are always trying to find OUR way to live with diabetes. This is hard as every day is different, even when we try to do the same thing. Watching the trends, eating, exercising, school, friends – there are lots of things to consider and they all affect the way we live with diabetes.
For me, the blur has been about learning to be versatile, adaptable, super-organised, impulsive and prepared for any situation. I try not to focus on the glucose levels and wanting to know what they are. I ask myself now ‘is this the way I know she is alright?’
These days when I see her, sure I still ask her what her levels might be, but when she talks to me and is telling me about her day and the things that are happening around her, I realise as I listen that she does know what she is doing, and I need to give her control. I am working on understanding that her diabetes is not for me to manage. They’re not my choices and to expect perfection is simply not fair.
I’m her mum and I am here to support her, tell her she’s got this and that it will be okay; she can do this.
Bio: Caroline grew up in Zimbabwe, moving to Australia when she was 11 years old. After flexing her creative arm, dabbling in graphic design and throwing pots, she spent 15 years looking after her family, eventually settling into a career as a clinical support administrator. She lives with her husband, James, 16-year old daughter and her 12 and 14-year old sons. Playing hockey and participating in Adventure Races are some of her favourite past times, though she feels that “parenting teenagers is an adventure in itself.” Caroline, along with her daughter and youngest son, lives with coeliac disease (despite her husband growing up on a wheat farm) and says there is no history of diabetes in her family.