Patrice Tait

Type 1

I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in May 1993 at the age of seven. I was misdiagnosed by my local GP three times and was being put on antibiotics each time. I was sick for weeks. I had lost a significant amount of weight, could barely eat or drink, was always tired and would constantly fall asleep in class and at home. In the end I was so sick my skin started turning grey and I could barely walk. I looked like the walking dead except I could not walk.

My Nannie and Poppy took me to their GP and he said to my Mum that he is sure he knows what is wrong with me but wants to do two simple tests before he tells her what is wrong. He did a blood sugar level finger prick and a keto urine test. He told my Mum to get me to the Hospital, the Prince of Wales Hospital was down the road from his office, he said this had to be done immediately as it was life or death.

My blood glucose level was 38 at the time. I was put on 6 drips in one arm and seven in the other. My Mum says I woke up while I was in Emergency and said to her that I did not care what they do to me as long as they do not stick me with a needle, luckily I did not look down as I would have been mortified by what I saw because I was terrified of needles at the time. I was placed into the Special Care Nursery at Prince of Wales Hospital for 5 days and had to be put on a catheter as I was unable to go to the bathroom any longer. I was so scared and felt so very alone. I was in hospital for a further almost 3 weeks due to not being able to eat and constant vomiting so was drip fed as well as so I could be educated on my diabetes. My doctors told my mum that if they had not brought me in to the Hospital that morning that I would have been in a coma by lunchtime.

When I returned back to school the kids at school said I had AIDS and would not come near me at all and would constantly bully and tease me. I would eat lunch alone at the other end of the playground and was extremely upset with school. To overcome this, I ended up going to each and every classroom in my school and gave a presentation explaining what type 1 diabetes was and what I had to do because I now had it. Because of this I can now speak to anyone about anything without fear or anxiety and I am very confident when I am around people.

 I have been lived with type 1 diabetes for 28 years now and it has been a long and hard road. I had never met another person with type 1 until 2018 and this was by chance. I have recently joined some support groups on Facebook and am communicating with many others living with type 1 diabetes around Australia which has brought me immense support, help and caring. I now know that with support we can survive this together.

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