Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Kindred Spirits

Last week, I was waiting patiently for my sandwich at the local Wawa deli counter.  (Wawa is THE convenience store in the greater Philadelphia area.  People are passionate about this, maybe even to a fault.  I was raised a little bit more west, so I have a preference for Sheetz.)  I was the only one waiting on my food for a couple of minutes, and then for some reason some motion next to me caught my eye.

There was a guy standing next to me, about my own age with black-rimmed glasses, long hair, and some sort of screenprinted t-shirt.  Maybe for a band.  He looked like the type of person I would see at a concert.  He was dressed a little like Matt.  I see people like this and assume they're nice. 

I don't know what possessed me to look downward slightly, but that's where I noticed it--pump tubing reaching out of his pocket and up under his clothes somewhere.  His pocket hung open just enough that I could see the top of a Minimed insulin pump.  I smiled, then started thinking, "Should I say something?  Should I ask him about it?  I really want to say hello!"  Yet I know not everyone geeks out over their insulin pumps.  Some people don't even want other people to know they have diabetes.  Not everyone is comfortable when an enthusiastically talkative stranger whips out her own insulin pump and wants to chat about it.  This dude probably just wants to get his sub and go home.

I did try to catch his eye, but he wandered off to get a cup of coffee. 

I've read a few accounts on the DOC of similar run-ins.  How do you guys handle it when you see someone else who obviously is doing something related to diabetes (i.e. wearing a pump, testing their blood, etc.)?  Do you casually say hello?  Do you just offer a kind, understanding smile?  Do you pretend they don't exist?  I get really excited when I see someone who is like me--if a bubbly blonde approaches you in the grocery store and mentions something about your insulin pump, just be patient.  That person is probably me, and I mean you no harm.

15 comments:

  1. Howard10:55 AM

    If you can see his tubing, he probably wouldn't mind striking up a conversation. (Mine is visible.) It's easy for someone to hide it if the didn't want to talk about it. I approached a fellow pumper in the airport as she was reattaching. My travelmates assumed I was being overly friendly because she was attractive (no comment). In truth, this stranger helped me choose my pump as she was a medical student and a pumper for seven years. I would love to help others, share war stories, and/or educate people.

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  2. I'm inclined to say something to them...though I haven't spotted too many! I once spotted a guy with his pump attached to the loops of his pants and I got super excited and was like HEY, I'm diabetic too! He didn't seem as excited as I was though...:)

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  3. I try to say something, but sometimes I feel out of line since most PWDs my age are Type 1 and I'm Type 2 diet & exercise controlled. My middle daughter's friend with Type 1 thought it was cool that we had the same meter, though.

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  4. I've been in both situations. Sometimes I say something. Sometimes I don't. But I always love seeing someone like me. :)

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  5. I used to say something, but for some reason just about everyone didn't want to talk about it and didn't appreciate it.

    Now I usually wait for other people to say something. Although sometimes it's something weird, like, "I have diabetes, but I don't have it REAL BAD like you do."

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  6. Oh Hannah dear you should have totally sided up to him and flashed your pump! I believe in the unity of us all, human, diabetic, whatnot. When Grace was in the KOP mall last weekend, she spotted an older man walking toward us, tubing exposed and all. She said "Mom, watch this!" and as he approached us, she walked right in front of him, lifted her shirt to expose her Pod just next to her belly button and looked him square in the eye. Well, that's one way, I thought. You know what he did? He gave her a thumbs up, lifted his shirt a little to reveal his MiniMed and said "Rock on girlfriend!" I kept a smile on my face for the rest of the day and Grace did too, knowing that someone was like her.

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  7. It's amazing how many of us have diabetes "REAL BAD" that we require that pump instead of shots! Oh you poor dears!! :P

    @Penny -- aww, man, you were in KOP and I didn't know? I work near the mall and live about 15 minutes away!

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  8. I so pull out my pump and let them know I am diabetic too and check out infusion sites to see what kind of set they use. It is like a national fraternity and everyone has been extremely nice when I bring up their pump. www.thediabeticcamper.blogspot.com

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  9. Hannah, we will have to have a KOP meet up this summer!

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  10. I've never had anyone come up to me that had a pump too. Had a child stand at the door of our girl scout meeting and had spied my pump and excited told her mom "She has a PUMP!!!". Her doctor wouldn't let her have one yet. Have had non-diabetics ask me if its a beeper and I reply .. no it connects me to the mother ship... :D

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  11. While I am not diabetic, when I had my PICC line, I met one other person who had one outside of the doctor’s office. I think I squealed and ran up to her, flashing it and burst out in a feverous explanation.

    Oddly enough, the response was the same.

    I think the response is based on how alone you actually feel.

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  12. First of all, I just found your blog, but I love you.

    Secondly, Sheetz = The Best

    Thirdly, I was checking out at CVS one day, and saw the tube sticking out of the pocket of the cashier. I was all, "YOU HAVE A PUMP TOO??" and luckily, she was as excited as I was. Even moreso when I showed her my pump. .. it gets attention from those In The Know because it's such a freaking dinosaur relic.

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  13. Nice little story. I do love my Wawa too! South Jersey

    www.JustDiabeticTestStrips.com

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  14. I was at a U2 concert a few weeks ago and saw a lady with the same pump my kid has. But my kid wasn't with me, so I felt weird approaching her. Cut to: the next morning. I was at a small cafe and she walked in. I knew I had to talk to her then. We had a wonderful chat about lots of stuff and now we're FB friends. :)

    I say go for it, if the pump is "out there". She was wearing it on the outside of her pocket, so I figured she was cool with people talking to her about it.

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  15. Symlin has really helped me. Im glad you're giving it another try. It takes a while to get used to it, but hang in there, its totally worth it once things balance out :)

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