My Life With Type 1
This chapter is dedicated to my sons, David and Gary.
David was born in Monroe, NC on Sept. 21, 1966. He was a perfectly normal baby, and he had a perfectly normal childhood. Things were a bit different with Gary. We were living in Richmond, VA west of the city, in Tuckahoe Village. The village was a housing development that built in swampy region. Tons of soil had been used to build up the area so houses could be constructed there. Days before Gary was due to be born we had a lot of rain. The roads leading into the village were at a lower level than the village itself. Some of those roads were covered with water a few feet deep. The village had become an island. We could not get off our island. We found that there was a doctor in the village who agreed to deliver Gary if it was necessary. We were lucky though, the rains stopped the day before Gary was born, and the water was not so deep. We made it to the hospital, and Gary was born on Sept.9,1969 No problems after that. We had a few anxious hours before the rain stopped though.
I have been diabetic since age 6, and never thought anything about taking my insulin when the boys were present. It has been so long now that I cannot remember if they were curious about me injecting. They grew up with it, and it was just a part of our everyday routine. I tested my urine in the bathroom, and there was no glucometer for my testing my blood sugar until they were in their late teens. So there was very little evidence of me even being diabetic. I was running highs almost all the time, and there were rarely any hypos. I must have seemed like a normal daddy with no health problems. In later years I discovered I had been running blood sugar that was much too high, so I was not so healthy as I had thought.
When we moved to New York David was 3 and Gary was 11 months old. My birthday is Sept. 10, Gary's is Sept. 9 and David's is Sept. 21. Gary was 3 weeks premature, and was almost born on my birthday.
When Gary was preschool age we noticed that he was very bright but, there was something wrong and we could not identify it. He was having trouble in school. We took him to a center in Kingston where he was tested. He could not respond well to written questions, but showed very high intelligence when he responded to questions given orally. We were referred to an expert in learning disabilities. Mrs. R. said that Gary had learning disabilities, and she told us she could work with him. She would enable him to correct those problems. She worked with Gary for two years. He began making better grades in school. When he was in high school he was such a great student that they kept yanking him out of classes, and putting him in accelerated classes. He was extremely bright! Mrs. R. really knew what she was doing with Gary. We were so lucky to have the help of such an expert way back in 1976.
When David was very young he wanted to grow up, and drive a fire truck. Later on he wanted to be a magician. He put on magic shows for us, and his grandparents. He did very well in school, and he was also placed in advanced math and science classes. He attended the community college where I taught, and thought he wanted to enter the business field, then he wanted to be a doctor. He made B's in both introductory business and biology courses, and was discouraged. He then decided that he would major in computers. Finally, that was what I wanted him to do in the first place. Does this sound familiar to anyone? He was an excellent computer student, straight A's all the way. He received his BS in computer science at Marist College in 1987, and then was awarded a research assistantship at Georgia Tech in Atlanta.
Gary was much more into math and science than David. He majored in engineering, and took several computer courses too. He was the only person during his two years at the community college to make A's in general and organic chemistry, and physics. He graduated from the community college with a 4.00. We were so proud of both of them. Gary joined David at Georgia Tech in 1989, and he majored in computer engineering. They both earned their MS degrees there.
David worked one year at the Center of Disease Control in Atlanta, in their computer center. Near the end of his first year there he was interviewed by a representative of a new group that eventually became known as webmd.com. He was put in charge of designing and implementing the basic vehicle that we know as webmd.com. He had nine other computer people working under him.
Gary became an expert in information technology, and worked for a pharmaceutical research facility in the research triangle in Morrisville, NC. He love his work.
David married a beautiful Chinese girl and they have a daughter Vanessa now 12 years old, and a son Jason, now 8 years old. They live in Atlanta. They are a very happy family. Thank God that none of my children and grandchildren are diabetic. David is now 49 and Gary is 46. They have beautiful homes, and happy lives. Gary is still single.
When my sons were quite young I wanted to take them out west to see Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, the canyon lands and many other interesting sites. We had a family meeting and I gave my sons a choice of the big vacation that I had explained in detail, or they could choose a computer instead. That was the first PC released by Apple, before IBM had released its PC's. My sons had no difficulty deciding. They wanted a computer. We were very short of spare cash, and we could not afford both a vacation and a computer. If they had not chosen a computer I wonder if that would have affected their futures. We were saving every bit of money that we could for their college education. Their majors in college were in computers, and their lives have revolved around computers ever since. I am happy that I gave them that choice. Rats! I really wanted to go on that vacation.
Pictures:David and his bride-to-be in 1999; Uncle Gary holding Vanessa in 2003; Anita holding Jason in 2007.