Frank, you forgot your birthday, didn’t you?

I completely forgot my diabetes anniversary. January 24th. Two weeks ago. To be fair, I’ve been very busy lately with work and other things (more on that later), but it’s kind of surprising that it slipped right by. This was a big one too…18 years…my diabetes can buy cigarettes now! (Not that it should, of course.)

I discovered this not by reviewing my calendar (note to self. calendar – noun: a place to record dates of important occasions that you might want to remember), but by yesterday’s occurrence of the Super Bowl. You see, it was on the weekend of the Super Bowl 18 years ago that Type 1 diabetes forced its way into my life. Everything started off Friday morning at my pediatrician’s office. My mom had brought me in after several days of those typical symptoms: frequent urination, unquenchable thirst, constant tiredness. A quick blood test at the doctor was all it took to determine that the old pancreas was on its last legs (Or beta cells. Whatever.). Honestly, I don’t really remember what happened after that. The rest of the day was a whirlwind of doctors, dieticians, new medicines, long-term complication threats…all things that were completely mind-blowing to a 12 year old boy.

I’m not sure of the protocol nowadays, but the standard procedure back then for a newly diagnosed juvenile diabetic was to be admitted for a few days in the hospital. I suppose this way the doctors could try to get things under control and familiarize you with the injection and testing routine, before throwing you into the deep end of the pool, so to speak. Again, I don’t remember a lot of details about that weekend, but I do remember Sunday evening pretty well. My parents had both gone home for some rest, as visiting hours were over and they had been with me in the hospital most of the weekend. There wasn’t a whole lot to do in the hospital after hours, so I enjoyed my carefully portioned meal and browsed the channel lineup using the combination TV remote/nurse call button/bed adjusting controller. Even though I wasn’t a huge football fan, I ended up watching the Super Bowl, because well, it’s the Super Bowl. It’s just what you do. I remember that the Redskins and the Bills played, but my mind was still swirling with so many questions and concerns that I doubt I really paid much attention to the game. That is the first time in my life I remember feeling so alone…all of the food exchange and regimented injection schedule talk had subsided, and it was just me and my new companion in that room. No doctors, no family, just me.

I’ll be the first to admit things have vastly improved in the past 18 years. I’ve become more comfortable with the cards I’ve been dealt, and the technological and medicinal advances have made things a thousand times easier. Still, every year at this time, amidst all the commercials and halftime shows (oh, and football), I think of that hospital room and the half-size can of Diet Shasta, and I look at how my life has been changed by that Super Bowl weekend 18 years ago.

Oh, and Diet Shasta? The WORST diet drink I have ever tasted. I’m still wondering if that was some sort of test.

9 comments so far

  1. Crystal on

    Happy belated Dversary Harry!!

    Diet Shasta. O M G. The Worst.

  2. k2 on

    Might I suggest celebrating with a cupcake – but absolutely NO Diet Shasta!

    Kelly K

  3. Kerri. on

    Diet Shasta McNasty. (Did you ever see that show? Epic on all fronts. Google it. I’ll wait.)

    Happy belated d-anniversary, my friend. Had I known sooner, I would have sent you some delicious cupcakes. 🙂

  4. Allison Blass on

    Hey – we’re almost anniversary twins! Mine is January 27th, and this year was Year 16. Woot woot. My diabetes can drive.

    Happy Diaversary, January buddy!

  5. mhoskins2179 on

    Happy belated diaversary, Harry. It was nice to finally tweet you today. On Superbowl weekend, I enjoyed a cupcake – so there you go. I’ll hum a tune now, picturing it in my head. There you go.

  6. Laura on

    Happy belated D-anniversary! I can’t say I’ve ever had Diet Shasta but, judging from previous comments, I’m confident I’m not missing out on much. Take care!

  7. Lorraine on

    Belated anniversary wishes. I enjoyed reading this post even though I wish the painful memories could be erased. There are specific things I remember about a hospitalization I had as a child and I’ve heard Caleb talk about some of the things he remembers at his diagnosis. They are parts of the visits that have little to do with why you are there, but for some reason are burned into our memories as if they happened yesterday. Thanks for sharing this Harry.

  8. Jacquie on

    My mom interrupted a viewing of “Little Shop of Horrors” to take me to the ER 19 1/2 years ago. I can’t watch that movie without thinking of my diagnosis. It took me 19 years to recognize the coincidence: Seymour drawing blood to feed his monster plant. Now I think of diabetes as my own little Audrey II.

  9. Harry on

    Thanks for all of the anniversary wishes…you guys rock! I was planning to go work out now, but all of this cupcake talk has me reconsidering my options.

    Allison, the world’s convenience stores better watch out! With my diabetes buying cigs and yours driving the getaway car, who knows what kind of hijinks we’ll get in to!!

    Oh, and Kerri, just so you know…when I think of things throughout the day that I need to blog about, I like to make little notes to myself on my iPhone. To the casual observer they would be complete jibberish, but they make sense to me. The name of the note that led to this post? Shasta McNasty.

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