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GA Speaks

Roadblock #1… Family

With my oldest sister and younger brother, December 2010

Growing up, I’ve always heard the phrase, “Sometimes, family can be your own worse enemy.”  For me that definitely turned out to be the case.  Now before I go any further, let me make some things clear: this post is not a bashing of my family.  There won’t be any dirty secrets and no scoldings.  What it will be is a discussion on the interactions between my family and how that interaction affected my actions and care as a diabetic.

I am the middle child of my mother’s children and the eldest of my father’s.  For the first 17 years of my life, I lived with my grandmother, mother, and siblings (primarily my grandmother and sister) in the St. Thomas housing development.  It was a rough place to live, even tougher for a kid who enjoyed more than he enjoyed playing outside.

Before it was time to head home from the hospital, Dr. Rao had several conversations with my mother and I about the importance of watching what I eat and, more importantly, keeping my blood sugar in check.  She strongly urged that the same conversation be had with the rest of my family as they were just as important in making sure that things went right with my care.  She explained that life for me and the household had to change some for my well-being.

Of course, that was easier said than done.  8, 9 (almost 10), and 11.  That were the ages of the children in the Wright household.  Of course you know what we had on our minds.  SWEETS!!!  Who didn’t at that age.  While I might have started out committed to doing what’s right, it became very hard to do, especially when your siblings walking around with what they wanted. Why couldn’t I was the constant question.

“You know why,” was the constant response from my mother.  But she wasn’t always around, and like they say, when the cats away, Theo will play.  And boy did I.  My siblings didn’t really understand my illness and I don’t think they cared; not that they didn’t care about me.  They really didn’t know; we were all just trying to be kids.
My mother wasn’t the best teacher when it came to my care.  She really didn’t watch me that much either during those first few years after I was diagnosed and lived with her.  Of course see made sure I took my insulin and tested my blood sugar (she had to before the advent of lancing devices).  But I don’t think she ever kept as keen of an eye on me as she should have.  There was no skinless chicken, yams had a lot of sugar, and many times the fridge was just open season for me.  It would only leave to trouble.
Things got worse once I moved back with my grandmother and it was entirely my fault.  At her age and health, my grandmother was in no condition to follow me around her apartment.  And why would she, to say the truth?  By this time, I was approaching 13.  Of course I should have known better.
So in the end, I guess the biggest roadblock in my care was…  ME!!!
Next Time: Roadblock #2… Theodis Joseph Wright

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