21 June 2020

Daddy’s got diabetes

Ever since I was young, I knew a generic 9-to-5 job wouldn’t cut it for me. I despise the idea of working on set times, and having coffee and lunch breaks on the clock. Many years later I still don’t understand how people can keep up with that. When I was 15 years young, I ended up in inland shipping. I won’t say I got kicked out of school, but there was a kind request to not come back. I had to make a choice: either follow a course and get to work, or get sent off to obligatory education (and try my best at school).

So I got to work…

Well, that was a no-brainer for me. I’ll get to work then, because as a 15-year old I didn’t value school that much. The moment I set foot on board of a ship, I had a new world at my feet.This was so awesome. You’re able to see the whole world from 1 small space, and you get to see so many places. You can work indoors and outdoors. The most special thing is having to live together with your colleagues full-time over the course of 14 days. Take a look around at your office: imagine seeing those colleagues more often than your own partner! Further down the road, you do need papers to achieve higher ranks. Back to school it was!

A little over 10 years later, I earned all shipping related diplomas I could think of. From maritime radio telephone to transport hazardous substances, to a boat license allowing me to sail the Rhine river. Knowing that smooth sea’s don’t make skilled sailors, I knew there must’ve been a storm coming.

Then daddy got diabetes

In my case, that storm was type 1 diabetes. And that got me thinking huh? How? And what now? The first weeks were a nightmare to me. Weighing out every food item, injecting myself, pricking my finger and keeping a diary. All at once. I didn’t feel like I was able to do and eat anything fun anymore, and I was in shock. What did I do to get this? At home I did okay, but on board of the ship I was experiencing hypo’s too often, and an insulin pump seemed like an easier therapy helping in minimizing those. But how does it work? And which pump do I get to choose? Come to think of it, my first pump wasn’t really my choice. The nurse threw this big device on the table and off you go. Not really a choice, but hey, you’re new to this and everything comes at you like tidal wave of information.

After sitting out my 4-year contract with my big, clunky pump I sure knew: never again. I don’t want to wake up with a tangled-up device showing off sea-knots I wasn’t even aware of. I didn’t want to be held back by door knobs and stair railings anymore. My wonderful daughter discovered that pulling that interesting cord resulted in this phenomenon now called ‘daddy’s ouch!’

Being a dad

The thought of having children itself was not that thrilling, but when my wife turned out to be pregnant it did get on my nerves. What if… To me, there’s not an issue at all to the injections, the inserting of cannulas, and the finger pricks. But for your child? A baby? That left me sleepless at night. According to doctors the chances of a father passing on type 1 diabetes to his children are much less compared to a mother, but every percent is one too many for a father to be. Our daughter Neola was born in great health on a circle day. When expecting our just-born son Mareo, we actually didn’t think about it as much anymore.

To me, being a father is one of the most beautiful things in life. Raising 2 little creatures. Teaching them what’s wrong and right. Making them ready their place in future society. The only thing you can’t know for sure is how and when they take their leap. And what their ambitions are. After 14 days of being on board, Neola is full of joy because daddy’s coming home. Without her thinking and in pure honesty she yells “Daddy I’ve missed you!’

And every time she yells that I can wipe a tear. 

About Michael

I’m Michael, 36 years young and I live in Gornichem. I’ve had type 1 diabetes since 2010 and I’m the father of a beautiful daughter and a newborn son. After having an ‘ouch’ attached to my body for several years, I’ve been a happy Kaleidoer for well over a year now.