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“How long have you been on the pump?”

He stood next to his car, holding the gas pump to his tank, filling up his car while I was putting my debit card into the console near my car.

“I’m sorry?”

“Insulin pump.  How long for you?  I just got mine a few weeks ago.”

“Oh, I’m sorry!  I thought you meant like here, at this gas pump.  Yeah, I guess you can sort of see it, huh?”  I was wearing running shorts and a t-shirt, with the outline of my pump and CGM clearly visible underneath my clothes.  The tubing made a brief appearance underneath the edge of my shirt, even though I made an effort to tuck it away.  “About ten years.  I’ve been diabetic for twenty-seven years.”

“I was diagnosed about two years ago.  Started pumping recently.”

“Yeah?  How do you like it so far?”

“It’s good.  Better than injections, that’s for sure.”  He nodded towards my car, where Birdy was buckled in and talking incessantly about how I was putting gas in the car and how the gas makes the car go and soon we would go to the park and she could ride her bike and did that man have a bike, Mawm?

“Is that your daughter?  How old is she?”

“She’s three and a half.”

Does she have diabetes?”

“No, she doesn’t.”

“Yeah, I first learned about diabetes when my daughter was diagnosed, several years ago.  She was two, at the time.”

I didn’t know what to say.  Birdy filled in the awkward silence by yelling, “Hey, I see his pump!!  That mans has a pump, like your pump!”  The gas station stranger laughed, snapping the door shut on his gas tank.

“She’s got a good eye.  Have a good day, and good luck to you and your daughter.”

“Thanks.  Congrats on your new technology.  I hope it works well for you.”

He went inside the gas station to pay, and I finished up, climbing back into my car and buckling in.

“Mawm, he has the diabeedles like you do.  I saw his pump.  It was black, and yours is silver.  He needs to be careful in case his bwood sugar gets whoa.  Does he know the glucose tab man?  He should call him.”

My type 1 diabetes is often invisible, and evidence of its presence in my body is currently, and thankfully, limited to medical devices I chose to use to make diabetes management easier.  Going on a pump was a tough decision, and one I made as an adult, after seventeen years of insulin injections.  My pump and my CGM are external “symptoms” of diabetes, and sometimes they frustrate the hell out of me.  But other times, they make diabetes less invisible for just a moment, letting kindred spirits connect in the wild.

In other words, it was two pumpers meeting at the pump.  That’s a nice, full-circle moment, right there.

18 Comments Post a comment
  1. ria #

    I am trying to post less comments so I don’t wear out my welcome, but this is funny !
    I would so think he meant the gas pump…….

    09/13/13; 1:32 pm
    • Your welcome is never worn out. I’m always happy to hear from you. And I totally thought he meant gas pump!

      09/13/13; 1:35 pm
  2. No joke, I met a woman in a baby superstore a couple years ago, in the breast pump area, and she asked me if I was satisfied with my pump. I launched into a whole diatribe about the pros and cons of the Medela I was using, she listened intently, then said, “no, I mean your insulin pump? My daughter who just had a baby is about to get one and I’m helping her do research.” My recently-post-pregnancy-brain-mind was blown.

    09/13/13; 1:40 pm
    • ria #

      hahaha !
      at least you were in the right department =)

      09/13/13; 2:05 pm
  3. “Does he know the glucose tab man? He should call him.” Oh, this little girl is a smart cookie! This made me laugh 🙂

    09/13/13; 2:59 pm
    • I’m pretty sure she doesn’t think The Glucose Tab man has a real name. He’s like The Easter Bunny.

      09/13/13; 3:03 pm
      • Cathie Wallace #

        Even the Glucose Tab Man gets at least one day off— his replacement is the Easter Bunny 🙂

        09/17/13; 11:58 am
  4. Tammy #

    This is very funny considering yesterday’s post was titled “Filling Back Up”.

    09/13/13; 3:26 pm
  5. I once was asked about my pump by the guy who runs the local liquor store. But I think he was only interested from a medicating, rather than medical, perspective. I like your encounter much better.

    09/13/13; 4:52 pm
  6. Melody #

    My son feels so encouraged when he meets people in the wild with T1D, especially when it’s another child. Thanks for being so open to talk with people and raise awareness! We love your blogs.

    09/13/13; 7:20 pm
  7. You always seem to have the most interesting random diabetes-encounters! (and if I recall correctly, you blogged about another encounter at a gas station, though not as pleasant, about a year ago).

    These things never happen to me. Even if I stick my CGM sensor to my forehead, I doubt anyone would approach me, recognizing an obvious accessory that says “I have diabeedles”. Maybe that’s because I live in New Jersey. It’s against the law to pump your own gas here.

    09/13/13; 10:28 pm
  8. karend1 #

    I love that little birdy. 🙂

    Only my husband sees pumpers, I miss them all, and when I say where, he says ahhh they are gone.

    09/13/13; 11:51 pm
    • The pumpers disappear into the wilderness, from whence they came. 😉

      09/14/13; 9:59 am
  9. Taylor #

    I am a pediatric pulmonologist and a couple weeks ago I had a little boy walk up to me and turn his head sideways asking “what time is it on your pump?” I was confused until his mom told me that she has Type 1 and her son always knows where he can check the time. The little boy recognized the pump and knew it had the time on it, he didn’t think I was weird at all…if anything he thought I was just a normal lady with the time on her hip!

    09/14/13; 4:19 pm
  10. Well everyone SHOULD know the glupose tab man!

    09/14/13; 6:56 pm
  11. Am I getting this right? This is my dream man, my dream gas pump meeting? This man was diagnosed *after* his small child? I am going to pump gas over wherever you are, and hope to meet him.

    09/14/13; 9:59 pm
  12. Aww, what a great story 🙂

    09/24/13; 1:42 pm
  13. Cindy Campaniello #

    two pumps are better than one!!! Great blog post and very entertaining…love your daughters “baby talk”…very creative…We met btw at DS conv in NC last may…keep posting!!!


    09/24/13; 9:44 pm

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