A Security Story


As we arrived at the airport security gate on our way to Florida, my daughter disconnected her pump. "This needs to be visually inspected. It can't go through any of the scanners," she informed the TSA agent.

"That's what you'd like to do?" was the reply.

"Yes, please."

We walked through the body scanner and met the agent on the other side. We stood near him as he swabbed the pump to check for explosives and then returned it to my daughter.

Meanwhile I watched our toiletries and my carry-on bag slide into the 'to be inspected' holding area instead of continuing along the conveyor belt to be retrieved.

The first thing I was asked about was the Frio insulin cooling case.

 
 
"It's a gel cooler for insulin," I explained. "It has a vial of insulin and an insulin pen in it." The TSA agent handed it back, satisfied with the answer.

He still had my large backpack. "Anything in here you can think of that would have caused this to be pulled aside?"

"Um- it's got lots of diabetes supplies...syringes, insulin pump infusion sets, glucometers...I'm not sure what might have caused the concern."

So the TSA agent, who was very nice, rummaged through the bag, pulling out every make-up case and Ziploc bag, methodically opening and examining them one at a time. When those were all on the metal table and the only things left in the bag were books and a few other obviously safe items, he sent the backpack through the x-ray machine again.

"Okay- you're good to go," he said upon his return.

I observed the collection of items spread around the metal table, all of which needed to be fit back into the backpack in a way that would enable us to access the important ones during our flight, and stifled a laugh.

"Easy for me to say," the TSA agent said with a friendly smile as we started to repack.

It's November...Diabetes Awareness Month! My plan for this month involves stories. Simple, everyday, real-life stories about living with diabetes. I plan to tell them here as narratives, like this one, just snippets of a day with diabetes, and I plan to tell them, or stories like them, more often in the 'real world' this month when friends ask, 'How's it going,' or relatives ask what I've been up to.  

A Test Strip Story for World Diabetes Day

 
"Hey look- it's a test strip. It's not the kind I use."
 
 
This is a zoomed-in shot, and cropped. The test strip was virtually hidden in the sidewalk crack at the busy amusement park. Yet it caught my daughter's eye.
 
Finding a test strip "in the wild" meant that another person with diabetes had been there.

Whose was it? Was its user still around? Did the blood sugar it recorded require a $4 soda from the snack stand or a break from the rides? Was the person local or travelling? Type 1 or Type 2? Newly diagnosed or an old pro? Comfortable with diabetes care on the run or not?

We had a distinct curiosity about, and sense of kinship with, whoever dropped that strip.

Other people with diabetes, even complete strangers, hold a special place in our hearts.

The same sense of connection fuels my interest in World Diabetes Day. There are millions of people around the globe living millions of very different kinds of diabetes lives. But they're all living them because Dr. Frederick Banting, born 126 years ago today, discovered and bottled insulin.

What, I wonder, are their struggles? Successes? Stories?

Do they think about being part of a global diabetes community, and if so does it give them the same sense of hope it gives us?


It's November...Diabetes Awareness Month! My plan for this month involves stories. Simple, everyday, real-life stories about living with diabetes. I plan to tell them here as narratives, like this one, just snippets of a day with diabetes, and I plan to tell them, or stories like them, more often in the 'real world' this month when friends ask, 'How's it going,' or relatives ask what I've been up to.  


 
 

Vacation is For Fun

 
We accomplished all of our 'must-do's' on our visit to Universal Studios Orlando for my daughter's 16th birthday.
 
She used a wand to cast spells around Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade.
 
We took a wild ride through Gringotts bank.
 
After touring Hogwarts' interior, we experienced a high flying adventure over the castle and its environs.
 
We watched the Frog Choir and visited Olivander's Wand Shop.
 
We met the Knight Bus driver and the conductor of the Hogwarts Express.
 
She drank Butterbeer in Diagon Alley. Twice. She bought a bag of candy from Honeydukes in Hogsmeade Village.
 
 
 
 
She carried that bag with her and sampled Sherbet Lemons, Fizzing Whizzbees and Gummy Frogs throughout the day.
 
Her birthday dinner at Margaritaville included a virgin strawberry daiquiri and a complimentary red velvet cake dessert.
 
Did we count the carbohydrates in everything perfectly? No.
 
Did the walking make her blood sugar drop so that Fizzing Whizzbees became not only fun but medicinal? Absolutely.
 
Did she enjoy every moment, sip and morsel and live to tell the tale? Yup.


It's November...Diabetes Awareness Month! My plan for this month involves stories. Simple, everyday, real-life stories about living with diabetes. I plan to tell them here as narratives, like this one, just snippets of a day with diabetes, and I plan to tell them, or stories like them, more often in the 'real world' this month when friends ask, 'How's it going,' or relatives ask what I've been up to.  

A Letter


We received a letter in the mail the other day about a health insurance claim.

"The claim is on hold. It's important that we hear back from you within 45 days or we may not be able to process the claim," the letter read. Before this particular claim could be processed, our insurance company needed to know if my daughter was covered by any other health insurance plans.

I assumed that this claim was for insulin pump supplies or Dexcom sensors; for some very expensive diabetes-related claim.  Those seemed like the types of things which would suddenly flag her file requiring a double-check that nobody else might be in the position to foot the bill.

Nope. The big bill flagged for possible nonpayment? My daughter's flu shot.

I had a surprisingly quick phone "conversation" with an automated computer lady during which I was able confirm with her (it?) that my daughter has no other health insurance coverage. Now her five minute visit for a basic flu shot will be covered.

Presumably so will the next round of very expensive diabetes supplies.



It's November...Diabetes Awareness Month! My plan for this month involves stories. Simple, everyday, real-life stories about living with diabetes. I plan to tell them here as narratives, like this one, just snippets of a day with diabetes, and I plan to tell them, or stories like them, more often in the 'real world' this month when friends ask, 'How's it going,' or relatives ask what I've been up to.  

The Unconcerned Hostage


'I'm high and won't come down in the nurse going to change the site,' the text read, belying the fact that she's takes Honors English.

My daughter changed her pump site on her own, no problem, and we texted a bit about dosing insulin afterwards to bring the high blood sugar down.

As it turned out the nurse was at lunch and a favorite teacher was covering the nurse's office until her return.

Then this text: 'She wants me to stay until I come down more what should I do??'

After a little more (still unpunctuated) communication, we clarified that the nurse would be back in about 15 minutes and wanted to see my daughter before she returned to class.

We chose not to negotiate an early release. We might have argued if she'd been missing Chemistry instead of Driver's Ed, or if there hadn't been a favorite teacher to chat with.


It's November...Diabetes Awareness Month! My plan for this month involves stories. Simple, everyday, real-life stories about living with diabetes. I plan to tell them here as narratives, like this one, just snippets of a day with diabetes, and I plan to tell them, or stories like them, more often in the 'real world' this month when friends ask, 'How's it going,' or relatives ask what I've been up to.  


#November





It's November...Diabetes Awareness Month! My plan for this month involves stories...simple, everyday, real-life stories about living with diabetes. I plan to tell them here as narratives, just snippets of a day with diabetes, with as little context or editorializing as possible. And I plan to tell them, or stories like them, more often in the 'real world' this month when friends ask, 'How's it going,' or relatives ask what I've been up to.

I think everyday stories have an incredible power to educate, break down stereotypes and stigma, and create energy for change in ways that straight facts do not. 

Great minds think alike, I guess, since I learned this morning that JDRF and ADA are both encouraging storytelling this month as well. We're encouraged to make this invisible illness a bit more visible; using hashtags, of course.

The American Diabetes Association has introduced the hashtags #DearDiabetes and #thisisdiabetes.

JDRF encourages continued use of their current go-to, #T1DLooksLikeMe and has added #T1DYouDon'tSee for this month's festivities.

So stay tuned for some stories this month. I hope they encourage you to tell your own.

No News

 
A couple of days ago, my daughter's Dexcom stopped sending data to her phone. So therefore her phone has stopped sending data to my phone.
 
Because we have a Dexcom G4 model with a receiver she keeps with her at all times, and because this receiver is still streaming her data, this is really no big deal. She never looks at her data on her phone, only on the receiver she wears on her person, so she was unaware, until I informed her, that the phone communication piece had stopped working.
 
Interestingly, I also did not notice for over 24 hours.
 
We know how to fix this problem. It's a glitch which happens occasionally and is repaired by disconnecting and reconnecting the Bluetooth connection between the receiver and my daughter's phone. It takes several minutes and sometimes a couple of tries, but it's not a big deal.
 
Yet now it is Friday and I still have "NO DATA." This is not a surprise, since everything about the past two days is a complete blur. In addition to the usual school schedule there have been 3 or 4 hour evening band rehearsals, a stage crew meeting for the fall play, the usual mountain of homework, and I think she managed to eat and sleep.
 
Having NO DATA at my immediate disposal has been interesting. I don't miss the alarms and the concurrent worry. I am not feeling anxious about missing the highs and lows, trusting that my daughter is handling any issues on her own, and knowing that she would have informed me had there been any major problems requiring multiple juice boxes or site replacements. We're still using the receiver in our bedroom at night to alert us to any nighttime blood sugar excursions, so I would have been involved in any overnight issues anyway.
 
No news is not all good news, though. What I do miss is being able to look at the big picture. One peek a day (or noticing alarms at the same time every day) provides an opportunity to fix problems in a timely manner. And, while I'm the third string back-up for any marching band emergency, I do miss being alerted to any significant blood sugars while she's at those nighttime rehearsals.
 
My daughter has a quiet evening tonight before the last big weekend of marching band. She'll need to get some homework done and practice the piano, but she'll get to eat dinner without homework in front of her, and maybe even watch a favorite t.v. show.
 
And she'll find a few minutes to reconnect her Dexcom to her phone, just in time for what promises to be a chaotic weekend diabetes-wise.
 
Cue the alarms.