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Photo by Clint Patterson on Unsplash

The year 2020 has been full of upheaval, but the sort of upheaval that has left many of us standing still — unable to move around like before. Whether that be for holidays, jobs or simply meeting friends. In our house, my partner took a career break in 2019 and began a new job late last year. The day he started I resigned from my job, with the intention of taking a short break before finding something new. On my first day of freedom, the pandemic hit the UK shores and I inadvertently became a home-school teacher for a few months. My partner was encouraged to work from home and so we’ve pretty much stayed in for most of the year. Whilst we’ve been at home, there have been many thousands of essential workers out there who have been working tirelessly through the pandemic to help keep things moving along as much as possible. The hospital cleaners, refuse collectors, all NHS staff, home carers, etc. are just a tiny few to mention. …

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Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

It’s no secret: 2020 has been a year that has stopped most, if not all of us in our tracks. It’s been a time of reflection and taking stock of the how strong our emotional and physical foundations are. As the music stopped, did we find a chair? Are we eating well? Are we living in a place where we want to be? Crucially are we with people / cats / dogs we want to be with? These are questions that we might have glanced at before and not fully answered because there has always been something else to do to distract us. This latest piece is to share with you what we’ve done since we faced similar questions back in 2018 and how it’s refocussed my writing journey. I previously wrote about that experience in Appraisals, hidden disabilities and me. Two years later I want to share our journey and where we have landed in the year that has put the world on pause and had many getting off at a station that they didn’t expect. …

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Photo by Łukasz Nieścioruk on Unsplash

The trick or treat edition for all parents

Like many parents of a certain age in the UK I never went trick or treating in our neighbourhood when I was younger. That was just something that happened in American movie’s (I reference one of my all-time favourite’s E.T.). However, in more recent years it has become a tradition to go trick or treating. Now you might be thinking what a nightmare (on Elm Street — :-)) if you have a child who is type 1 diabetic and you’d be right. But to be honest the amount of sweets for any child on a night like Halloween is a nightmare for all parents that don’t want to be peeling their children down off the ceiling from a sugar rush. You might also be under the impression that because our lady is type 1 diabetic, she can’t have any sweets at all. That is a myth (much to our daughter’s relief). She can eat any sweet as much as the next child, it’s just a little more complicated. You need to really think about what is being put into the body and make sure you count the carbohydrates of each item of food, so you can calculate how much insulin is needed. However, when you start really looking at the labels of all foods and the carb content, it can have a tendency to horrify you as to how much sugar we all put into our bodies. I do find it’s ruined my guilty pleasure of having biscuits with my tea — and I have a lot of tea. …

I’ve come up with a set of rules that describe our reaction to technologies:

1. Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works.

2. Anything that’s invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it.

3. Anything invented after you’re thirty-five is against the natural order of things.

Douglas Adams, The Salmon of Doubt

I’m well over the age of thirty-five, and I do have a tendency to now look at technology through a different lens. I increasingly find myself asking those all important questions: ‘Do I really need that app? Do I have time to learn another new technology? Am I too old for Tik Tok?!’ However, when type 1 diabetes health and technology combine then I’m at the front of the queue to find out more. The work that is being done in this field is astounding and brings hope for a potential future cure. But whilst we wait for that next leap, the technology that is with us today is already helping many families. …

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Photo by Zahra Amiri on Unsplash

It can be quite hard as a parent of a type 1 diabetic superhero, to know whether they are having a tantrum because they can’t get their own way, or whether they are hitting their brother because their sugar levels have gone through the floor. In my previous article, Appraisals, hidden disabilities and me, I attempted to give a flavour of the rollercoaster ride of adjusting to life with a type 1 pre-schooler. This time I wanted to delve a little deeper to help explain some of the practical challenges of managing hypo episodes in a young child.

Hypo is shorthand for hypoglycaemia and it’s when blood glucose (sugar) levels in people who live with type 1 diabetes become too low. If it is not treated it can lead to unconsciousness and in extreme cases may even prove fatal. …

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Photo by me

Only two years ago, work goals and objectives were being set; it was time to take my career to the next level after returning from a year’s maternity leave. It was a good opportunity to set goals around what I wanted to achieve at work for the next year. But you know what they say about the best laid plans… for me they got completely obliterated around July 2018 (update from author: The year 2020 has also given many of us a reality check on what goals are important). Type 1 diabetes had other ideas and took a head long charge into my life as our two year old daughter was admitted to A&E with diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA for short). I won’t go into detail here on what this is, but if you’ve reached this stage of illness you really need to buckle in for one hell of a ride. As a parent you can do nothing except wait and watch as amazing NHS doctors and nurses bring your child back from the brink. And they did. …


Michelle McKenna

I write about caring for an amazing child who is type 1 diabetic as well as writing children’s fiction.

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