Expanded Version Of Chapter 1 of My Story With Pictures
I posted my 20 chapter story here early last year. People on several sites have encouraged me to publish the story. I am adding much new material and lots of pictures. I will try to find a publisher by the end of this year. Here is an expanded version of my first chapter with pictures. Some of you have read my story. If you read today's post I would appreciate your critique. Too many pictures? Any suggestions for making it better?
CHAPTER 1....My Birth And Diagnosis
I was born Richard Alvin Vaughn in Roanoke, Virginia on September 10, 1939. I weighed 10 pounds. A midwife saw to my birth there. The cottage in which we lived was much too small and my parents wanted to find a larger home. The three of us moved in 1941 to a two story rented house. It had five rooms, two porches, a garden, a nice lawn and shade trees.
In early 1941 I had measles that settled in my ears. I had a fever and was very sick. I had three kinds of measles in nine months time. There was infantile measles, German measles (Rubella) and Black measles (hemorrhagic measles).
In May of 1942 I had a hernia on my right side near my hip joint. It ruptured and I had to wear a truss. I was less than three years old. The rupture became worse and I had surgery. I had to stay in bed so long that I had to learn to walk again.
Later that year I had to have my tonsils removed. There was some bleeding the first night after returning home. There were splotches of blood on my face the next morning. My parents thought that my throat had been bleeding. They took me to the doctor and he said rats had been biting me and had bitten through my lip. The rats had smelled the blood from the surgery. Mother's story did not say what was done to eliminate the rats. I do remember that big rat traps were set to catch rats while we lived in that house.
There were blackouts in 1942 during World War II. On certain nights people had to turn out all their lights as practice in case of an attack. I used to collect stamps and in one of my stamp albums I have some of the ration stamps my parents used during the war. After the war ended and the Allies were victorious I can remember going out in the backyard and running and yelling that the war was over. I think I was five at that time and I had no idea what it was all about. My parents were excited about the war ending and I suppose that some of their enthusiasm rubbed off on me. I am amazed that I can remember that now. I can remember many things from my preschool years.
Mother had her appendix removed in late 1942. She was hospitalized for ten days. While she was there she learned she was pregnant. She also developed asthma and stayed very sick and nauseated until my sister, Shirley Ann Vaughn, was born on June 24, 1943.
I loved Shirley very much. Once when she was in her baby carriage and Mother was not present I tried putting baby powder on her like I had seen mother do. I poured it on her face and it got into her eyes. Maybe I hadn't noticed that the powder was supposed to be poured on a different part of her anatomy. I think I was four at that time. Mother had a hard time getting the powder out of her eyes. Another time I held my hand over her mouth to keep her from crying. Mother had to watch me closely until I was older.
I was grateful to finally have a playmate as Shirley grew older but I became aggravated with her when she followed me around and tried to do everything I did and say what I said. I still loved her.
In very early 1945, when I was 5, I had chicken pox and mumps, both within a few months time. Because of my previous illnesses and my hernia I was already rather skinny and not very healthy at all. After I had somewhat recovered from the chickenpox and mumps I started losing weight and by mid-summer I was skin and bones. I had no appetite, I drank water all the time and I urinated very often. My parents took me to our family doctor. He had no diagnosis and prescribed a tonic to help me regain my appetite. The tonic probably contained sugar and was most likely much the same as the old "snake oil" remedies that were not uncommon back then. The tonic was ineffective, of course, and I was taken to a second doctor. Still no diagnosis and so I was taken to a third doctor. No diagnosis there either. Despite my condition my parents enrolled me in first grade at a nearby elementary school. There was a bathroom in one corner of the classroom. I spent much time there. Mrs Thompson, the teacher, became very annoyed with this despite the fact that my Mother had explained my symptoms to her.
My parents took me to a fourth doctor who knew something about diabetes and he recognized my symptoms. He had my blood checked for sugar. I have no idea what the blood sugar level was. I only remember one thing about that doctor visit. When the doctor told my parents of my "sugar diabetes" my Mother's face turned white and the expression of fear on her face frightened me. My Father stood behind us and I did not see his face. My Mother's expression will always be with me until the day I die. I was 6 years old on September 10 that year and my diagnosis was on September 15. I was so sick from the symptoms of my diabetes that I did not have a happy birthday.
The doctor gave my parents a reference to a fifth doctor who was supposed to be the "expert" in the area for diabetics. He was a far cry from an endocrinologist. I was hospitalized and given beef/pork type insulin. After awhile I regained my appetite and I started gaining weight. Insulin from pigs and cows saved my life and I regained much of my health. Insulin was discovered in 1921 and first sold in 1923. I started using it only 22 years after it was first available.
My Mother wrote her own story when she was in her 80s and she only briefly mentioned my diabetes diagnosis. She did not say anything about the months leading up to the diagnosis or the trauma in the months that followed. I think that was because she was devastated by my diagnosis and not knowing how to care for me. It was very traumatic for both of my parents. I feel certain that the memories were too painful for Mother and she chose not to include the details of that part of her life in her story. I do not remember all of what happened back then but my parents told me all the details years later.
Dr. D., the "expert", told my parents that I should never eat sugar or anything with high sugar content. There was no other advice given. So there we were with vials of insulin taken from animals, a glass syringe and metal needles that were twisted onto the end of the syringe. The syringe and a needle were sterilized by boiling them on top of our stove every morning. I had one injection before breakfast each day. The insulin was a twenty four hour insulin. We also tested my urine for sugar prior to my injection. A blue liquid called Benedict's solution was poured into a large test tube, 8 drops of urine were added to the solution and then the tube was placed upright into a metal container and the water in the container was boiled for awhile. When the tube was removed the solution would progress in the colors of blue (with no glucose present), green, yellow, orange, red, and then brick red or brown (with high sugar present). A color change would signify the presence of sugar. My urine was checked only once each day in the mornings before breakfast. The needle was very long. I don't remember the actual length but I think it may have been about three quarters of an inch. We were instructed to stick the needle directly into the muscle on top of my upper legs. The diameter of the needles was greater than the ones used now. That was necessary so that a piece of wire could be inserted to unclog them. The injections were very painful. I remember them very clearly.
Interesting story. You were an ADORABLE child and your sister with all those curls. So, so cute. I'm so glad diabetes care has advanced so much and thank God you weren't born twenty or thirty years sooner. Who knows what would have happened to you.
I love reading your stories Richard. :) It feels like I'm right there while you were growing up and I can certainly concur with the info and many experiences and feelings that you went through.
I'm Happy that you were able to get written info from your Mom's notes about specific things that occurred in her lifetime.
You were a Terrible Brother. :eek:
Just kidding. :D
I laughed about the powder incident. Boys! :rolleyes: My Son took the baby powder and poured it into our aquarium when he was 4. You can imagine that all the fish were wondering why it got so foggy all of a sudden. They survived. I'm Glad that he didn't pour it in his Baby Sister's eyes, for sure.
Please do not remove those pictures. That's just the right amount. I love bio's with pictures so we can see who the book is about, how they changes, things they used, and the situations and their expressions. You were a Really cutie by the way. :)
Thanks ladies, I have finished 10 chapters, with pictures. You can see the rest of the book when it is published. :D It may not be published, but I will give it my best try. I would always regret it if I had not tried. Many people on a total of eight diabetes sites have encouraged me to publish. If it is not published then I will post the whole revised story here and on the other websites. :)
When it becomes published, do I get an autographed copy? ;)
Certainly Ruby but I don't have a lot of confidence it will be published. I'm far from being a professional writer. We will have to wait and see.
Thanks Ruby! I am thinking that my story would not be very interesting to Type 2 diabetics. I know you are Type 2 but i think most Type 2s would not buy the book. There are about 2.5 million Type 1s and 22.5 million Type 2s in the USA so I have a limited audience if only Type 1s would be interested. My original story was translated into Spanish by someone connectred with the tudiabetes.com site. Maybe I will have a larger audience if my book reaches out to other countries.
I am a type2, you're right. But it was still interesting. I am amazed at the power of people to carry on even when it is difficult. I work with a woman who raised a type1 diabetic son. He is in his early to mid 30's now. He was diagnosed at the age of 2. She had to wring out his diaper to determine his glucose level, though she did have urine sticks. Her husband had to coach all his sports teams because no other coaches wanted to deal with "the kid with diabetes". This man is now on a pump and is a successful firefighter in the neighboring community. He is the father of three children, two biological and one adopted that came to him with his current wife. I admire his mother so much for raising him in such difficult diabetic times. The same for you and your Mother. How difficult it must have been!
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