Am I on call??

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        – NO, I’m diabetic!

I have been diabetic for 10 years, and wearing a pump for the last 7. I started with injections, totally refusing the idea of been literally linked to something that I had to carry with me all the time no matter what. I also didn’t like the idea of “making clear” my condition to the world.

Then, my blood sugar was all over the place with highs and lows that I simply couldn’t keep up with through regular injections. I had to switch to the pump. And thank God I did! Life is much easier than it was. I have more flexibility in terms of what and when I eat, something priceless to me. But this is not the point. I realized that despite the incidence of diabetes in the young and less young population, the majority of people don’t have a clue on what diabetes actually is and what its management requires. People obviously recognize a syringe when they see it, but what about an insulin pump? Do they know what it is? Today with a good level of confidence I say that many people don’t.

My name is Alice, and I named my pump Alice2, like if it was my alter ego. When I go somewhere new, I am not usually questioned about Alice2, but when I become a frequenter of a place, the curiosity of people that see me “playing” with my pump speechlessly emerges. Similar versions of what I’m going to tell you have occurred several times over the years.

This is just what happened more recently, last week. I am at a dance party, sitting on a bench while setting a temporary baseline. A nice fellow, with whom I talked several times but never about diabetes, sits next to me. I can feel his eyes on my pump and me. He doesn’t ask. He sits next to me, and just looks. Then, I look back at him and I say, “ Yeah, I’m diabetic”. I can read the surprise on his face. I finally hear his voice “Diabetic?? Wow, I had no idea!! I thought you were someone important, and that you were on call.” I laughed. But then, while holding my pump, I turned serious and half facetious when I said, “ I don’t want you to think that I am less important just because this is not a pager”.  He smiled and said that a couple of years ago had a kidney transplant after several years of dialysis. I would have never imagined it.

So, if you have Type 1 Diabetes and refuse the pump because you don’t want other people to know, my invitation is to reevaluate your position. People who know what a pump is and how it looks like or how it works are usually really close to someone with Diabetes, if are not diabetic themselves. Your life can be much better! So, why not choose to be on a pump?

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