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  Back to Parents' Voices Clare Pattison

Support

The day after we left the hospital we drove back to Saskatoon to go to the Canadian Diabetes Association office. We told the receptionist that we were brand new to all of this and didn't know what we needed. They took it from there. We were given fresh coffee and a tour of the office. They spent over a hour explaining the services of the CDA and how it could help us and our family. We met the staff and were given the meal planning books and guides we needed along with lots of other material to read. We felt that we had found a place that knew what we needed even when we didn't yet. It was very reassuring and calming to us to know that we certainly didn't have to cope with this alone.


I had a really hard time sleeping after our daughter was diagnosed 11 months ago. I had really frightening nightmares that upset me and everyone else in the house. In all of them, we were in imminent and terrible danger. After a while, I didn't even want to go to bed at night. So staying up too late, having a very disturbed sleep, and having our diabetic baby to take care of turned me into a crazy lady.

I really needed help. I spent a lot of time talking with our nurse on the phone. Not about the diabetes so much as about how I was feeling and coping. She was a lifesaver. I also talked to the mom's support group at church and told them all about my dreams and how I was really feeling. It was a real risk sharing all the bad things, but they were so accepting and supportive. I think that just laying it all on the table in broad daylight really helped me to feel and sleep better. Also, having friends who knew how I was really feeling gave me a lot of strength and courage.


Our families were a tremendous support to us at the time of diagnosis, and continue to be today. We asked if our mothers who often babysit for us could come in to the teaching sessions at the hospital to learn about the diet right along with us and that was just fine with the diabetes team. It was very reassuring to know that they knew just as much as we did about caring for our child. And having the nurse and dietician teach them instead of having it come from us was much easier. Our mothers are wonderful, but you know how it is - they sometimes forget that we're adults and know what we're talking about!

My sister wasn't able to attend, so she made a separate appointment with the dietician for another time. Her taking the time to do that was a real sign of how much she supported us.


A few months after our son's diagnosis, we felt like something was missing for us. Our family and friends were being very supportive, but all they could do was listen. Really, they couldn't possibly know how we were feeling or what we were going through. That is when we phoned the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation office in Saskatoon and found out about the Parent Support Group meetings which are held monthly. We had a hard time being patient while waiting for the next one. It was exactly what we needed. The leader really didn't have to do anything at all. Everyone had so much to share. It was wonderful to find out what other parents did with their kids, and to find out that they had gone through what we were going through. They made mistakes; they had troubles; they had successes; they had ideas on how to do almost anything! Now we look forward to going every month.


The biggest support tool I have is my telephone. We live out in the country and I can't get to the support group meetings very often, but I did go a few times and got phone numbers of many of the parents there. I also got some names from our diabetes nurse. Even though I've never met some of them, we feel like we really know each other. We call each other every now and then. Sometimes one of us has a specific problem we need help with, and other times it's just to chat and see how things are going. I love my new friends, I love my phone!


My husband and I try to be very supportive of each other. I was worried that I would end up doing most of the "work" just because he isn't home as much, and I said so. Bringing it out into the open helped us to work out a compromise. He is home at lunch every day, so he always does that test. On weekends, he does all of her diabetes care, and I get two days off.


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Last Updated: Thursday May 05, 2005 07:24:50
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