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We Made Contact.

The Starbucks on the ground floor of the hotel was a busy one, with conference attendees, hotel guests, and Philadelphians streaming in from the city street, all clamoring for their cup of coffee.

My friends and I stood in line to order, then shuffled over to the "holding area," where we waited for our over-priced coffee to be doled out.  Some people sat in the window seat, some stood and tapped their feet impatiently.  I leaned against the high bar behind me, watching the baristas whirl and spin around each other like socks in the dryer.

That day, I was wearing pants and had my pump clipped to my pocket.  Because I was in a hurry to get back up to the conference, I had run to the bathroom first, and then trotted over to Starbucks.  So my pump tubing, though usually tucked away, was flopping outside of my pocket and dangling towards my knee.

And this lady kept looking at it.  She was sitting on the window seat, so my hip was right in her line of vision.  And she just kept looking.

I caught her eye.  "Hi."  And smiled.

"Hi."  It was like she couldn't help herself - her eyes darted back down to my tubing.  She smiled apologetically.

"It's an insulin pump?"  I said, like it was a question I was asking her.

"A what?"

"An insulin pump.  For diabetes?"  

"Oh!  I didn't mean to stare.  I just thought it was your cell phone, but then I saw that tube hanging out. For diabetes?"

"Yes.  Instead of taking injections of insulin, I use the pump to administer it throughout the day."  We both looked at the tubing.  "I like it."

"My daughters - they're your age - keep telling me to get an iPhone.  'Get an iPhone, Mom!  You have to!'  But I don't want one.  I don't want that much technology.  I just want my phone to make phone calls, you know?"  She gestured towards my pump.  "But if I had diabetes, that's the kind of technology I'd want.  I'd want that."

I smiled.  Her coffee came up on the bar, and mine quickly followed.  

She paused a second.  "Most people in the city don't make eye contact."  

"That's kind of sad.  But look at us!  We've made both eye contact and pump contact!"  

"Eye contact and pump contact.  This has been a unique morning!" She grabbed a few napkins for herself and, out of habit, I think, handed me one for my coffee.  "Have a good day, sweetie, and take care of yourself."

I never caught her name.  She never asked for mine.  But we made contact.  

Comments

That made my heart warm and fuzzy :) no one makes contact enough in every day life.

Terrific story! We all need to make contact, constantly, to stay in touch with our essential humanity. Somehow, it's blinkin' PERFECT that this happened at SBUX ;)

Thanks for sharing this story Kerri. It seems like its the norm to just hurry through the day. This is a good lesson about what can happen when you look up from the ground or away from the cell phone and connect with other people.

Why do people never stare at my pump in public! this happens to you all the time I'm so jealous. :(

See, that is what keeps me a true GRITS at heart. In the south we talk to anyone around us. It's just normal to have conversations with strangers, laugh with them at the grocery store or chit chat on the MARTA train. I like it that way.

Love it! Yesterday while substitute teaching, I made sort of "med ID" contact with a university student. We talked briefly on the playground about diabetes (she's Type 1 and I'm Type 2), and our similar struggles. Kind of neat in a way.

This is outstanding! Love it, Kerri. What a great coffee shop connection there, even just a brief one-time encounter full of education and eye-contact. Good stuff all around.

Just today in the cafeteria, I had this conversation:

Checkout Dude (CD): Is that a beeper?

Me: Insulin pump.

CD: Oh. That sucks!

Me: (laughs) yes, it does.

Beautiful. :)

My son's pump is usually a great conversation starter! I find people are drawn to it. Weird but kinda nice too! :D

awesome! I love when those kind of random things happen!

Way to go! I love those moments. It can go nowhere or somewhere fun. My husband got my attention by saying "Is that an insulin pump?" After so many comments about my cell phone having a strange antenna I was pleasantly surprised.

Brotherly love and all, that would never happen in Boston with all us snobby introverts who can only think about sports...... I had a women tell me to STOP TEXTING in the movies. Ummmm just bolusing. (I saw Tracy the nutrionist @Joslin today)

Love it! I've had few of those rare events and they never fail to brighten my day. I think our Pres calls them "educational moments." I'm pretty sure he didn't invent that phrase; just took credit for it.

Love it, Kerri. Good stuff. Jay

Kerri,

Speaking of insulin pumps, I attended a research talk today that demonstrated something that is currently in human trials: a pump like what you have, infusing insulin, but with an accompanying blood glucose monitor (infusion set in one location, glucose monitor in another location). They work together to automatically detect glucose levels and infuse appropriate amounts of insulin; an automated balancing act.

Still not perfect but it struck me as a fantastic idea. Have you heard of this (I hadn't before today)? Is it something that you are considering?

Wonderful story, Kerri. It really is the little things in life that matter. I also have a question for you (and you may not want to post this comment), but I think I remember you saying that you see your endo at Joslin? I moved to Boston this past summer and just went to my first appointment there yesterday. I am going to the young adults with type 1 diabetes support group which starts on Tuesday and was wondering if you would be there too...by chance? Your blog is great. witty. realistic. informative... just helps make the 'betes bearable. Just thought I would ask and see if you might be there. -Michelle

I was sure your story was going to end with the tubing getting snagged and your pump making "contact" with something hard. So glad your story had a happy ending!

Love this!

Last weekend at my daughter's soccer game, a mom overheard my husband and I discussing our daughter's BS numbers before her game and she asked us if our daughter was diabetic. Turns out, her son is Type 1 and wears a pump too. I don't mind people asking me about it....I look at it as a way to educate more people about diabetes.

YOU.MAKE.ME.SMILE. Awesome contact! Keep on being you...you do us all a favor by spreading awareness in the gracious AND creative ways in which you do. xo

i love this!
i hope i have the presence of mind to have conversations like this when briggs gets a pump.

That's pretty cool. Is it wrong that I sometimes wish for more visual "proof" of my diabetes? Just on the off chance I might actually meet another diabetic. :)

I have to say, I worry about some of you folks further north. I'm from the south and on my few trips up there I have noticed that y'all aren't like us. :P We talk to everyone.

I remember simply thanking a man for holding a door open for me and watching the near panic on his face when I finished with "Have a great day!" It must be contagious though because before we got into our cab, I heard him tell someone else the very same thing. :)

I love Tracy the nutritionist at Joslin! I see her too :-)

Also, I really miss living in a small town for exactly the reasons everyone is mentioning...I like talking with people, but find that living in the city, it's just too much sensory overload to do it constantly. I do make a point to talk to other people I see with pumps though - it's rare and special enough that it's worth it!

What a nice exchange! Although, maybe it's just me, but I feel like a lot of people will make eye contact with you and say hello in Philadelphia. Often it's more like a big South Philly Italian "'ey! How you DOIN'?"

another goosebump moment, made me smile with goosebumps

What a great contact! People always cease to amaze me when situations like that come up.

Some of the comments regarding the South where people talk to everyone and make eye contct is a stereotype and generalization. I could say the opposite, that when I moved to the South and might almost walk into someone in a store, I'd say excuse me and get no response or eye contact, or I would hold a door and not get eye contact or any response, or that most people seem to cut off everyone in traffic and not use a blinker. We all have our own perception of things from our own experiences and we shouldn't dismiss any other area as being different than ours just because we experienced situations differently than others.

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