My best friend CJ will have a conniption because she says I never write about her, and here is her name, already mentioned at the beginning of this post. Bwa ha ha! Anyway, if you happen to see her lurking about, give her a wave. She emailed me, so here's a quote:
"I'm definitely enjoying Dorkabetic--I'm learning all kinds of information that would have been useful to me back in the day when I was the Cookie Police (for example, thank God you never had an episode like Dan had, because I would have had NO IDEA what the hell to do with you.) Maybe that's something you should mention in your blogging at some point--you touched on it with the Halloween thing, but how much info should a diabetic kid's friends have? Should you be carrying around some kind of laminated instruction card? "If Convulsing, Please Insert Frosting"?"
For the record, CJ, I spent most days wearing a Medic Alert necklace, and lots of people actually DO carry around laminated instruction cards with emergency info and what to do! Maybe I should carry one, but I think I'd want to jazz it up. "ATTENTION: If Hannah is acting like a drunken crazy person on PCP, please check her blood sugar...it's probably lower than low. If she's passed out, check her blood sugar, there's probably something wrong. And for God's sakes, call 911!"
If you're out there reading this, how much did you tell your friends when you were younger? How much do you tell them now? What do your kids tell their friends?
When I was in middle school, CJ moved into my neighborhood. We were already in a bunch of stuff together at school, so then we pretty much became staples in each others' lives. When I met CJ, I was probably eleven or so, so that means I'd already had diabetes for three years. I was pretty good at handling things myself, and things were a lot different back then. My doctor had me checking my blood sugars before meals, and maybe an extra here and there, but that was it. I was doing food exchanges, not counting carbs. If I went to hang out at CJ's house, it was after dinner, when I was already full of a balanced meal and enough insulin to cover it.
All of my friends' parents knew I had diabetes. I can't remember if they just found out or if my mom told them. That's never something I really worried about. I think I just wanted to avoid being known as [CJ]'s diabetic friend. One of my friend's mothers remarked once how she liked it when I came over for dinner, because then everyone would have to eat their vegetables. I think I rolled my eyes.
I'd think it would be good for a kid's friends to know what to do in an emergency. I've never been one to trend toward a lot of low blood sugars, but I am pretty sure there are times I was out with someone when I was young, and I'd feel weird so I'd just drink the Junior Juice box I had stashed in my purse or eat some LifeSavers out of my backpack. Problems typically never snuck up on me. I knew about them going into most situations.
I'm an easy-going person. I've never been one to use my disease as an excuse for anything. I know some people who attempted to define themselves by what was wrong with them, and I knew that wasn't for me. I can think of one person in college who always had some malady to explain what her problems were--her grades were only average because of her ADD, and she could yell at anyone she wanted before her period because she had PMDD--she was sick, which meant she didn't have to follow standard social procedure. Ugh. Dealing with my diabetes was something I did on a personal level, and I tried not to let it get in the way of how anybody saw me.
But I never went to diabetes camp. I didn't really know any special tricks. I did what my doctor told me, as reiterated by my mother, but eventually, I just felt like I wanted to be normal. I didn't want to worry about the Cookie Police. Then it was that I didn't want to worry about doing 8474839 finger sticks a day. Then it was, "Well, if I miss one Humalog injection, so what?"
I read this article by Kerri in the DiaTribe newsletter (you might have to subscribe to read it, but it's free!) and I saw something of myself there in high school and college. One day, it just kind of dawned on me that I could do so much better, and I'd feel a lot less miserable if I could just start being healthy. And that's where I am now--struggling to accept the changes I'm making for the better. Trying to change the little things.
And every once in a while, I wish the Cookie Police would drop by. But only once in a while, and it would most certainly help if they come bearing some other snack, like jar of mixed nuts or some fruity dip (which, believe it or not, contains no actual fruit).
So, CJ, I think I did the best that I could. Your parents bought sugar-free ice cream when I'd come over for dinner, and our infamous White Trash Nights were about the salty snacks and diet Dr. Pepper anyway.