'What?' I repeated for the second time as I felt Gabe squeeze my thigh reassuringly. Tears pricked my eyes as the doctor smiled at me.
'Type 1 diabetes is completely manageable Summer. You are very lucky you came to us in time.'
I swallowed, feeling my head swarm.
I'm a diabetic?
'I don't understand, I'm a twin- does this mean my brother will get it?'
The doctor peered at me carefully as he studied the screen before him.
'Not exactly. It's not always genetic. Type 1 diabetes means your body has stopped producing insulin entirely. You may still release a little bit for the foreseeable future, but you will eventually be completely reliant on insulin injections.'
I stared at him as he handed me a black kit, zipping it open to show me a pen needle, a small digital device and a box of testing strips.
'You need to monitor your blood glucose levels carefully. Ideally you need to be in the range of 4-7mml most of the time, but you will need to learn how to handle high levels, and of course low levels. This all sounds a bit much right now, but you need to attend a course. Until then, I will give you set amounts of insulin to take with each meal, and before bed and upon waking.'
I blinked, the tears spilling out of my eyes silently.
'You will be fine, I promise. You will get used to it, and it will become second nature to you. Here's your rapid acting insulin, and your basal insulin which will be taken twice a day. Test your glucose in the morning, before eating and two hours after eating. If you feel dizzy or lightheaded, test your sugar levels as you may be having what we call a hypo- low sugar levels. This can be dangerous and if your levels do drop below say, 4mml, you will need to take some fast acting sugar, followed by some slow releasing carbohydrates ie a sandwich or cereal. Here's our number, call anytime. Here's a diary, please log your sugar level readings, and I will see you in one week to review.'
He smiled at me kindly as I nodded, the overwhelming information running through my mind. Gabe leant forward, glancing at me.
'So does she need to take any now? Or when she eats?'
'When she eats will be fine. We already gave her that shot earlier that will be working to bring her glucose levels down as we speak.'
I picked up my insulin, and placed it in my bag. Then I gathered my glucose kit, feeling Gabe holding me up as I stood.
'Thank you.' I murmured as we left the office, the tears coming down in full force.
'I'm a diabetic?! How?!' I cried as Gabe hugged me.
'Don't cry. It just makes you even more special. We will read up on it, and we will work it out together. You don't have anything to be afraid of.'
I nodded, breathing in his scent as we stood in the surgery, our arms wrapped around one another as though we were fighting a storm only we could see.
'What does that even mean, injecting what? This is bullshit. I want a second opinion.'
Cal roared as Summer sat down with exhaustion. Gabe fixed my dad with a look that warned him to tread carefully, which Mom picked up on immediately.
'Cal, that Dr was privately paid for by Gabe. He's the best there is. Just calm down babe, Summer is what is important right now.'
'How is she a fucking diabetic when theres none in our family?' He snapped as he glared at my mom.
'Its not genetic, Dad. She said that.' I said softly as all eyes turned to me. 'I wish it was me rather than you Summer. I'm so sorry you are going through this. Is there anyway we can help?' I gazed at my twin as she smiled thankfully.
'Well theres something called hypos.. it means if my levels go too low I could pass out of enter a diabetic coma.'
'Fuck this.' Cal strode from the house, the door slamming behind him.
'He's scared Summer. Let me go to him.' Mom murmured as she kissed Summer on the head.
'Right, so what do we do in that instance?' I demanded, my eyes falling on Gabe who seemed to have inhaled all of the facts.
'Symptoms are like that of being drunk. Blurred vision, snappiness, falling over. Dizzy, hot or cold and genuinely feeling odd.'
'Sounds like a regular Friday night for Caleb.' Summer joked as I rolled my eyes playfully.
'So what do we do?' I pressed, determined to feel some sort of control.
'Sugar.' Summer shrugged as I blinked.
'Well, like fast acting sugar. Sweets, cola..that kind of thing.'
I nodded slowly as I turned to Gabe.
'We need to make her like a kit to carry around-'
'Like this?' Summer laughed as Gabe coloured slightly. She laid on the table a little bag with small cans of coke and bags of sweets. 'He's thought everything through.'
I felt immensely proud of my best friend as he gazed at her with pure love and adoration in his eyes. He kissed the top of her head as the door opened, my dad looking sheepish behind my mom who beamed at us.
'Dads calm now.'
'I'm sorry baby. I'm so scared of anything happening to you. I wish I could take it away.'
He went over and hugged Summer, pulling Gabe in for a group hug.
'I fucking love you guys.' He muttered as mom and I joined in the hug.
'We love you too old man.' I said, winking at Summer who laughed.
'Less of the old, you little shit. I can still tan your hide.'
We all laughed then, and I realised the only thing missing right now was Jade, who was sleeping upstairs after a night shift. My heart ached as I imagined her curled up in a ball in my bed, her smooth caramel thighs wrapped in my sheets.
I really needed to hurry up and make her my wife.
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