When I Was Diagnosed

My aunt learns how to give me a shot.
My aunt learns how to give me a shot.

I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes on March 6, 2007.

It has been six years since my life changed dramatically. But never fear! I am still totally awesome and in control of my diabetes (feel free to lay heaps of praise on me). But let me tell you my story.

My parents thought I was lazy. It’s a sad story, but it’s the truth. I couldn’t walk up the stairs without having to stop and catch my breath. I read all the time. I was tired all the time. I didn’t want to do anything. And there was the bonus factor of me never being hungry and having to drink and go to the bathroom ALL THE TIME. (My parents still feel guilty for not noticing. But what the heck. I still got diagnosed.)

We went skiing right before I was diagnosed with diabetes. And ice skating. And I wasn’t having a fun time for either of these activities. And just a warning: My parents and I don’t agree on an exact order of the events that followed. But we all agree that they happened. So because of that I am going to tell the story of three separate events that can be put into any order that you want. And then after that I will go into the story of events that I know for sure happened when they did.

Event 1:

We went ice skating. We were up in the mountains of Colorado, so the lake was huge and very frozen. And I could not ice skate for the life of me. I kept having to sit down on the benches that they had on the edge of the lake, and watching my parents and my siblings skate. And I also remember that I was really thirsty, but there was nothing to drink. Finally, our ice skating excursion ended, but my parents by this point had noticed that I couldn’t walk, so Dad pulled the car up and Mom carried me to it.

Event 2:

Dad went to the store to get root beer and ice cream because we were going to have root beer floats. But first we had to eat a good amount of dinner. I distinctly remember having chicken that night, but I did not eat because at that point my body was resistant to food. But I still got the root beer float.

Event 3:

The purpose of the trip to the mountains was to go skiing. Except I never got to the skiing part of the trip. As we reached the ski resort, I threw up in the parking lot. Dad promptly took me back to where we were staying, and then I slept for the rest of the day.

So those are the three events. But what I do distinctly remember is the actual day that I was diagnosed.

That morning was the morning that we were going to go back down to Denver from where we were staying. It was cleanup time, but I didn’t help clean up because by that point it was pretty obvious that I was sick. So my siblings and parents cleaned up, while I lied in bed and drank sugared limeade (which is pretty ironic) and felt miserable. Finally we all piled in our car and started the drive down to Denver. After about thirty or so minutes of driving I started to get really scared. I was having these hallucinations or something like it, which now I assume were a result of a prolonged extremely high blood sugar. So we pulled over and then Mom went to this store and bought me a stick of candy (which is also pretty ironic). Then we continued driving. Then I really had to pee so we stopped at my grandfather’s house so I could use his bathroom. At that point my parents had called the pediatrician and arranged an appointment. So when we got home it pretty much worked out that my mom and siblings got out of the car, and then my dad and I pulled right back out on the way to the pediatrician.

When we got to the doctor’s office, I was pretty miserable. And that was an understatement. When we finally got into the little examining room the doctor who was me examining took one look at me and guessed. She sent me to the bathroom to go pee in a cup, and that was all the confirmation  she needed. She told me that I had diabetes, and that I needed to go to the emergency room immediately. She didn’t want me to go in an ambulance, however, but they told my dad to drive as fast as he could, and that they had already called ahead for me.

After the diagnosis several other doctors came in the room to look at me, because apparently I was a “textbook case”. I really felt like I was in a fish tank.

I spent the night in the Intensive Care Unit of Children’s Hospital in Denver. I really don’t remember a whole lot about that particular experience, except that when I got to the hospital, there were quite a few other kids waiting to be looked at in the emergency room, except  when my dad told them who I was, they took me in immediately. It was apparently pretty serious.

I was so dehydrated that the nurses couldn’t find any veins to stick and IV into. Which sucked. And I felt really bad so I threw up on a nurse. Sorry about that. The night nurse kept waking me up every hour to pull my blood, which was annoying, since I really wanted to sleep.

And I can’t really remember much about that morning either. Except that Mom had stayed the night and Dad went home to be with my brother and sister, and when he arrived at the hospital in the morning I asked him if we could finish watching 101 Dalmatians, the movie I had started to watch the day before. My father claims that is the moment he knew that I would be okay.

My godparents came to visit and gave me a stuffed dog, which I promptly spilled water all over, which earned him the name of Puddles. A couple of other people came to visit too, but I can’t really remember.

Because I responded so well to the treatment, the hospital released me that day and we went straight to the Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes in Denver for training. It was a long day, because it’s pretty hard to give someone  complete rundown of diabetes in a couple of hours. I know now that most of my information about diabetes is based on experience.

When we got home that night my mother and father and I were all pretty overwhelmed. We were going to eat, and my parents were freaking out about giving me a shot, which made my brother and sister cry. So the freaking out part of the whole equation was a failure.

Since then, diabetes has been a whirlwind adventure for me that has changed my life. And here’s for hoping for a cure. 🙂


Claire Montgomery

Type 1 Diabetic, Diabetic Rockstar, Awesome

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6 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Nice. I remember two of the stories but not the one about the root beer floats. Wow–me and dad really sound like idiotic parents, which I guess we were. Love you my diabetic rockstar.

  2. It is so crazy how all of our diagnosis stories run on similar paths. It sure is nice to have those days behind us, and I hope not to live another one of these days ever again. You rock Claire!! You are a great rollmodel to all of us. Keep at it, and know that we all love you very much. By the way, we will be getting our speed testing contest on this year at camp. I have been practicing! HA!

  3. We remember that day too! I just remember bringing you that little stuffy dog and wishing I could bring you something better, like a new pancreas. What I suspected then I know now — you are an amazing person who is way stronger than this disease. Way to rock it, Claire!

  4. You are a great storyteller, Claire — especially as the main character of this real life drama. It is so amazing that you can find comedy and tenderness in all of these serious moments. That is a gift! Cold, hallucinations, vomit, Puddles (of various kinds), and freaking out all wrapped up in a package of love and hope. Wonderful.

  5. Hey Claire :o)
    I keep popping back to your website :o)
    I have to say your story made me cry. It’s coming up 3 years since Sydney was diagnosed. It really is a scary thing. I remember every detail about it. Including the being told to go straight to the hospital … not to pass go … but go straight to the hospital. Freaked me right out!!
    Things are a little different here in New Zealand, Sydney and I stayed in hospital until we were confident to leave … it took me 6 days to get my head around carb counting and everything!! I remember thinking my head was going to explode!!! She was 30.1 when diagnosed, I know you guys use a diffeent scale but we aim for between 6 and 8 as good control.
    Sydney has done the ‘rebel’ teenage thing … even though she’s not quite 15 … but has come out the other side (after 18 months of hell!!) and has a new outlook on looking after herself. Of course it is now more important as she just had the biopsy last week to comfirm Coelaic disease as well … bummer. Nothing for me to learn this time however as her Dad is gluten free too :o)
    I’m now off to point my daughter back in your blogs direction ….

    Well done Claire on being a Rockstar!!!!

    Cheers, Janine

  6. Hi Claire,
    I don’t know whether you remember but we were all in France when this happened. I remember getting a call from your dad and I was really scared. ICU? Claire? Diabetes? We had been skiing at Copper Mountain with you at Christmas time and you were not feeling very well even then. I think your pancreas totally pooped out in the next three months.

    I am glad to hear this story from your end because I never got all those details. It was just scary and far away. We were, of course, relieved to be informed that you were out of the hospital but I know it has been a long haul learning how to adjust to diabetes and how to change with it as you get older. Thanks for posting!

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