Housemates and best mates

We’re a diverse house, to say the least. Ranging from a sesh head, to a gluten intolerant who has a fetish for non gluten-free pizza, a lunatic driver to a stone mad Galway woman who I’m positive lives on a different planet. Living with me probably isn’t the easiest given I purposely make them feel incredibly uncomfortable and awkward if they ever offer me food or something sweet and I typically respond “how can you be so insensitive, I’m a diabetic”. However they put up with it and usually have some witty response ready. For instance, for my 1 year diabetic anniversary they offered to have a big party with loads if sugary treats. You may think it’s cruel, but it’s good to be light-hearted, it’s really the best medicine for dealing with it.

They’re like my diabetic students, always asking questions about every aspect of the illness. If I ever seem off, or distant, they always ask if my blood sugars are okay or if I need to take something to bring them up. Even on night outs, they’ll even carry sweets in their purse just in case. It’s little things like that, that can make all the difference. They’re learning constantly, as am I.

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On a serious note, I have each of them well-informed as to what to do if they ever find me unconscious. So what should they do if they were ever to find me in an unresponsive state?

  1. Check my blood glucose levels
  2. Locate my glucagon, which is always kept in the fridge
  3. Get the mixture ready and inject into my thigh
  4. Call an ambulance, even if I become responsive again

Not near glucagon? Rub glucogel into the cheeks.

There’s also a major don’t when it comes to bringing blood glucose levels back up, never try to feed the person liquid, this could cause people to choke very easily. If there’s no glucogon or glucogel around, then just ring an ambulance and stay with the person who is suffering from severe hypo.

It’s something that I hope never happens, but I can’t stress enough the importance of those around you knowing what to do no matter how overwhelming the situation may become. It’s also important to have those friends that you can rant to when you’re having an off day. They may not know how to advise you, given diabetes is very individualised, but it’s great having a sounding board, who will always put a smile on your face.

Funnily enough I don’t actually know any Type 1 diabetics personally, but having friends without the illness normalizes things massively for me. Diabetes takes up roughly 5-10% of my everyday life, and that works for me. I manage it, try keep my levels within range, and keep it out of my mind until I need to be aware of it. That wouldn’t be the case if I didn’t live with 4 complete oddballs.

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