I was watching The Sound Of Music yesterday. It is a favourite of mine, having watched it almost every Christmas for as far back as I can remember.
I felt compelled to ponder, what if type 1 diabetes were thrown into this scenario?
Suppose one of the Von Trapp children was a type 1 diabetic. In those days, things pertaining to diabetes management would have been quite different. I would venture to guess that it would have hindered, if not altogether dashed their plan of escaping a Nazi annexed Austria. Captain Von Trapp may well have had to comply with the orders to accept his position in the Third Reich’s Navy.
In this day and age the idea of trekking over a mountain range, on foot, with seven children, one with type 1 diabetes, without weeks of careful planning and specific consideration paid to diabetes management would be a daunting task fraught with risks. The lugging of supplies alone, not to mention how to keep the insulin chilled would be a sizeable undertaking. Not that it would be impossible, just complicated, as so much with diabetes is. It would be damn near impossible to make such a journey in the late 1930’s with a type 1 diabetic child in tow and have the child fare alright throughout the trip.
While doing a little poking around on line in preparation to write this post I learned that the real Von Trapp family story doesn’t include a foot journey over the Alps at all. Apparently a more comfortable form of travel for the time - a trip by rail - was involved and they went to Italy, not Switzerland. It wasn’t even an escape. They left openly. Nevertheless, human history is full of stories of survival that require people to flee homes and homelands at a moments notice and become refugees.
As the mother of a child with type 1 diabetes I am compelled to insert type 1 diabetes into these scenarios. I can’t help myself. Even though I live in friendly, peace-loving Canada, like any mother, I imagine countless scenarios that could endanger my children, no matter how remote the chance is of them materializing. Besides, somewhere in this world that very scenario is likely playing out and has probably played out countless times in the past. I don’t like thinking about the possible outcomes. I hate imagining what the parents of these compromised children must face.
And it doesn’t have to be political upheaval. Natural disasters occur without discriminating between nations. I watched the documentary on the 2004 tsunami in Indonesia a few weeks ago. The same thought process occurred as I watched in horror while people on vacation suddenly found themselves fighting for their lives. There had to be type 1 diabetics there at the time. If they survived the giant waves, how did they get the supplies they needed to manage their diabetes in the aftermath? No doubt some diabetics found themselves without supplies or unable to get to them as unimaginable chaos unfolded around them.
It is this part of type 1 diabetes that preys on my mind most often - how vulnerable my child is and how reliant on pharmaceuticals she must be. I don’t like thinking about it but how can I not? We have to consider unthinkable scenarios with this disease. We have to be prepared because, to not be prepared could easily spell disaster very quickly.
How do you prepare? How much supplies do you keep on hand at any given time? Have you got a plan? What back up measures have you taken?
And finally, how do you keep from driving yourself insane with worry at times? I am a rational person that doesn’t waste time worrying unnecessarily. But given the seemingly increasing number of catastrophic events that have occurred in the world in recent years, and indeed over the course of our planet’s history, I would be naive to think we are untouchable here in North America (think Katrina).
And in all honesty, sometimes the worrying gets me down.