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"Man, You Just Don't KNOW."

This is an exact replica of the plane I flew on.  Yes.After an unexpected overnight in the airport in Baltimore, the passengers of Southwest flight #627 were finally queued up for their flight home.  I was sitting in the seats closest to the windows by gate A5, drinking some water and bleary-eyed with exhaustion.

The guy next to me was wearing sunglasses and a hat, clearly exhausted by the evening's chaos.

"Did you get your new boarding pass yet?" he asked me, nodding to the line of people at the customer service desk, waiting to be reissued boarding passes for the new flight.

"I did. I went out and back through security, because I figured it would be quicker." I gestured towards the staggeringly long line.  "I think I did the right thing."

"Security isn't fun, though. All that unpacking and repacking and the shoes and the bitching and moaning ... everyone's always unhappy, and no one can get through without a hassle. I once had a piece of gum in my pocket, and the scanner picked it up.  Something about the aluminum in the wrapper.  Such a pain."

"I hear you. I wear a medical device, and it's a little bit of a security funfest at times."

He took a knowing sip of his coffee as he looked at my hip.  "Insulin pump?"

"Yeah, how did you know?"

"You're young, you look healthy, but you mentioned a medical device.  I figured it was an insulin pump."  He proudly tapped his shoulder. "Diabetic for seventeen years. Only I do shots. My doctor keeps talking to me about the pump, but I'm not there yet.  I work outside, and in construction, and I think it would be in the way."

"I did shots for seventeen years before switching to a pump. I don't know; I like mine. It took some time adjusting to physically wearing something, but for me, things are just easier when I have it handy. I can sleep in, or skip meals ... gives me a lot of flexibility."

"So you like it?"

"As much as you can like a robotic pancreas, yeah."  

He smiled.  "Doesn't hold you back or anything?"

"I don't think so. I've worn it camping. And hiking. And in swim-up bars on vacation. And on my wedding day. And while I was pregnant with my daughter."  I laughed.  "And now I've worn it for an impromptu no-sleep-sleepover in an airport. Adventures!"

"I have some bad lows.  Man, you just don't KNOW how bad a low feels until it's right on top of you. I've had some at work that have made things really tough, until I can get my hands on some candy.  I try to explain it to my coworkers but they just don't know."  His voice broke on the word "know."

I smiled gently. "Well, I know, if it helps.  That's part of why I went on the pump, because I was having some really insane lows in the early morning hours.  It was really ugly, and dangerous."

"Maybe I'll check it out for real at my next appointment. I see my doc next month. I'll tell her that a random girl at the airport convinced me to get an insulin pump."

"Or you could blame sleep deprivation."

We talked about the Dexcom (he wore a blinded one for a week, on the recommendation of his endocrinologist; I said that I rarely, rarely take mine off), about watching our kids for signs type 1 (compared notes on testing their blood sugar at random), and the effects of travel on diabetes (sustained chaos for both of us).

The flight attendants called us to line up to board the flight, and as we were gathering our belongings together, he touched my shoulder. 

"It was nice talking to you.  I don't get a chance to talk with other people who have this thing, too, but it's nice to."

"Same here, man.  Enjoy the rest of your trip!"

It's so odd, how you can chat with a complete stranger about medical concerns and intimate diabetes moments and never even KNOW one another's names.

Comments

So true! This thing called diabetes breaks down all types of walls. For some reason I find that most people with diabetes just get me more than others.

Man, I so KNOW.

Before facebook and fast connections on line ... this is how I met another parent. I was at the supermarket and out of the corner of my eye spied a little girl with a medic alert bracelet with her dad. I squinted to try to see if it said "Diabetes" on it ... saw the "D' start to the word and figured it had to be. Said Hi to the dad. 14 years later, we are still good friends!

Here's another one: Our Fed Ex guy delivered a pump to the door. "Broken pump last night?" he asked. I said "Wow, how did you know?" "My kid has Type 1 too. I figured when I saw who it was from and that it was a rush that's what it was." We chatted for a while (Tom Hanks would have freaked out at his stalling on the job). No idea his name to this day.

So true! Love this post! Love having those random run ins with people who KNOW! :)

I enjoyed this post. Thank-you.

Amazing how many people who are affected by T1, and when you will run into them.

I hope you gave him the address to your blog. It has been so helpful to me.

Great post, Kerri! It's a very small world out there - and you're right .. you just never KNOW.

I have a 4 year old with T1 and I feel the same way when I randomly run into another mom of a T1 or another T1 themselves. I sometimes think I might scare them with my "excitement" when I learn of it and bombard them with my blabbering mouth! Its just nice to know there are others in the same boat, even if the boat sometimes feels like its sinking.

I walked up to one of the windows at the PA DMV and saw that the guy behind the counter had a pump. I told him that my grandson has T1D and we were just beginning to investigate them. I asked him about his and his experience with them. He was very nice and gave me a lot of good information. He also pushed my paperwork through and probably saved me about 2 hrs waiting in lines. Probably the only good thing that has ever come from diabetes for me.

It makes me sad that I never have any random, impromptu meetings with other PWD :( I wish I could have met someone like you when my endo first started bringing up the pump!

Great post, Kerri! Glad you ran across a fellow PWD there at the airport. Amazing the places we all turn up randomly.

I love this story.

i'll never forget the shark-like 9 year old girl at the water park (thought bubble:: why is this girl swimming straight towards me with eyes only for my boobs is she some sort of weirdo) She asked still staring "Is that a pump? " o right it was clipped into the top of my suit... we talked for a while about it, about how she has to do more logging before she could get one. its one of the things i love about wearing it ... immediate identification

I have found people randomly who have Diabetes (usually I make mention of it around mealtime or something) and they're very open and honest about their experiences. People at work and other places in life come to me for advice and just to chat, even when it's about Type II. What a wonderful feeling to be able to help someone in need and let them know life isn't over and they can continue to live a very fulfilling life with Diabetes! I treat it as more of an inconvenience than anything else... it won't stop me or slow me down!

Oh man, I SO KNOW this feeling. I was diagnosed T1D 3 months ago, but I knew all about pumps already...because my partner is also T1 and has a pump! It was AMAZING to have her right there every step of the way and be able to ask every kind of conceivable question that comes up (She taught me how to do my first injection). I now have my own pump, but I have yet to run into anyone outside of our very diabetic house. Can't wait until that happens :)

If it wasn't for diabetes I wouldn't have had a random super hot guy talk to me! We were at the airport too and he pointed to my pump - "you're diabetic too?!" and we compared pumps and CGMs, and my god he was hot. SWEET! *in a Napoleon Dynamite voice*

did you hand him your card? tell him there is a whole world (wide web) of PWD and those who love them??? I hate to hear of alone people!

I would love to have this happen to me! Usually, If I fiddle with my pump, people just look at me weird, wondering what I'm doing, but usually I get by unnoticed.

Sharing with a stranger, that's one of the things that make you smile even a year after it happened!

I'm with Stacey... I never have random run-ins with PWDs, and kind of wish I would. Maybe it's time to stop wearing my pump in a concealed case clipped to my belt and start hanging it around my neck or something. Then someone like me might take notice.

Love it!! I hope he finds you (and us) online.

Loved this post. There's nothing better than people who KNOW. So glad your airport chaos is over!

I've never had a Diabetes In The Wild moment. Although I think Google'ing Eddie Izzard & finding You (Kerri) was pretty close. Strange the places life will take you. :)

@PrincessLadyBug..."Diabetes in the Wild moment" LOVE that phraseology!

when it comes to diabetes, i'll tell perfect strangers things my family doesn't even know. diabetes bonds us like that.

Great read!! Love reading your blog! Keep posting good stuff like this.

That's what I like about you, Kerri. Plane speaking!

One of my best friends is T1D too. So, I've always had someone since we were 9 & 10. In school, we were in the same class. We even went to Diabetic summer camp together. That definitely helped! When we get talking in a group, it's like we're speaking another language... and no one has a clue what we're talking about.

I love this! I love meeting random people with diabetes. Hopefully you inspired him to look into other options for himself!

Wow, you made me smile and sad at the same time. I love your writing, and totally agree with you that the pump makes it a bit easier. I hope you inspired him to share more and to look for new treatments.

love this story. LOVE THIS.

I'm still at the stage where diabetes is awkward and off-putting to ME much less anyone else. I don't pump, but I do carry all my insulin pens in a diabetic murse (man-purse). Mostly people think I'm European, not necessarily diabetic (because I often dress in vintage clothes).

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