Thanks to all of you who sent a message or called on my diabetic anniversary last week. You have no idea how much it meant to hear from each of you. Thank you for being part of my life and the past 20 years of living with Type One.
Summer is a tough time for anyone with health concerns. Summer travels bring their own challenges for diabetics and I just want to tell a quick story about a recent trip through airport security to see what your similar challenges have been. When I am in the security line, I take my pump out of my pocket and tell the TSA folks “here is my pump, but I am going to leave it on.” Security lines are so sanitary, I can’t imagine why anyone wouldn’t mind taking any medical device off for 2 minutes and then putting it back on!!!!! The grumpy TSA agent at Dallas Love Field had me go through the metal detector which beeped, then sent me onto a personal screener. I then was patted down. Completely. I felt like I was on a bad episode of “Cops” and decided that this was far worse than the germs my pump would pick up on the conveyor belt. When fifty people had walked by during the pat down screening, and the dust test they did on my hands was over and I walked to my gate…feeling a little shorter than my 5′ 2″. A chronic illness isn’t tough enough, let’s put people as a spectacle holding their pump and 18″ of tubing out while being detected for anything you might be hiding.
I am looking forward to cooler temperatures, gorgeous fall colors and pump sites that cooperate and insulin that doesn’t overheat! Two days ago my day old pump sight came out. (The pump sight is where the plastic tubing is hooked up to your insides from a spot on your stomach to your pump that you change every 2-3 days using a special insertion device and a long needle. It sticks to you with the tiny tube inside you and the 18″ tube running to your pump, which causes its own fun and games. Most people who see my pump assume that it is a pager or cool gadget, but it is my lifeline.) With a fabulous attitude, I put a new one in. Three hours later, that one came out. Frustrated, I put a new one in. That one I secured with medical tape all around to “beat the heat” and last as long as I needed it to. The needle hurts, that is how you know if it is working when you put a new site in. If it doesn’t hurt, it probably means you didn’t get the tube in as far as it should. (Like a blood sugar check. If you don’t feel the lancet on your finger tip, it means you didn’t poke hard enough to get the blood.) This pain lasts for just a few minutes. But, on this particular day of three changes, I was being extra careful to avoid yet another expensive, painful site change. I didn’t hold the boys on that side for the rest of the evening, was extra careful hoping the tape would do its job so my pump could do its work.
Since that moment, the tape has itched and irritated me and pretty much just been an annoying reminder of this chronic illness. As I have mentioned before, I believe every family is given a health challenge, something to overcome, something to test their Faith, something to put the rest of their life in perspective. So, I have been irritated by the tape as I go about life and know that it was God’s way of telling me to suck it up and count my blessings. I have the medical supplies and the education I need to stay healthy and for that, I am grateful.
Here’s to the parents I see when I take Zach to speech therapy who never have a dull moment with their special needs child. Who are kind and patient and loving when nothing about raising their miracle is simple or easy or normal.
Here’s to all the adults living a full life with a physical or mental disability. For fighting each day to be healthy and happy despite the routines of the world working against them.
Here’s to the families who spend sleepless nights in worry about upcoming test results, cancer scares and medical treatment for a zillion different problems.
As the kids go back to school and the summer heat (hopefully) comes to an end, I will be a little more observant, a little kinder to each stranger, will try harder to be present in each moment to see what God is wanting me to learn and to remember that if it hurts, it means that you are alive.
Here’s to being grateful for the life you have been given to live.